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Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media|SurveyMonkey poll: Coronavirus and teenagers

Common Sense Media|SurveyMonkey poll: Coronavirus and teenagers

The spread of coronavirus has upended life for American teenagers, with 95% of 13-17 year-olds in the U.S. reporting the cancellation of in-person classes at their school. Eight in 10 teens (80%) say they’re following news about the coronavirus closely, and concern is high: 61% are worried they or someone in their family will be exposed to the virus, and 63% are worried about the effect it will have on their family’s ability to make a living or earn money. 

Teenagers of color are more likely to say they’re worried that they or someone in their family will be exposed to the virus and about the potential economic effect on their family. Hispanic teenagers are especially worried about the financial effect: nearly nine in 10 Hispanic teens say they’re worried about the impact on their family’s ability to make a living.

More than half (54%) of teens say they are “very much” practicing social distancing, 40% say they are doing so “somewhat,” and just 6% “not at all.” About four in 10 teens (42%) feel “more lonely than usual” right now—nearly the same as those who say they feel “about as lonely as usual” (43%). Just 15% say they feel “less lonely than usual.” 

Lonely chart

Large majorities of teens say they’ve stopped attending public places such as restaurants, movies, or concerts (81%) and stopped meeting with close friends in person (68%). While 65% of teens report talking to friends or family via texting or social media more often than they usually do, many fewer teens say they’ve taken more direct steps to increase their connections with others during this time, such as reaching out to a friend or family member they haven’t talked to in a while (37%), providing emotional support online to others (21%), or posting information online about the coronavirus’ effects (13%). 

Most teens whose in-person classes have been cancelled say schoolwork is still being assigned while they are at home (86%). Public school and private school students are equally likely to say their in-person classes have been cancelled, but while nearly all private school students still have schoolwork being assigned remotely, fewer public school students say the same (96% vs. 83%). 

Slightly more than half of teens who no longer attend school in-person say they are worried about not being able to keep with their schoolwork (56%) and their extracurricular activities (55%) while in-person school activities are canceled.

Private school students report more frequent contact with their teachers and more communication related to school in general. Two-thirds (66%) of private school teens say they’re connecting with their teachers once a day or more, including 33% who connect a few times a day and 14% who connect once an hour or more. Among public school teens, just 31% connect with their teachers once a day or more often, including 15% who connect a few times a day and just 2% who connect once an hour or more.

public vs private

While more than half of teens (58%) say they’ve attended an online or virtual class since the end of in-person classes, the rate is significantly higher among private school students than public school students (82% vs. 53%). Private school students are also more likely than public school students to say they’re using video chat or videoconferencing (88% vs. 39%), email (78% vs. 68%), and learning management systems/course websites (65% vs. 50%) to stay connected to school. 

For more detailed results, click through the interactive toplines below.
Read more about our polling methodology here

Question text:
How closely are you following news about the coronavirus?
How worried are you that you or someone in your family will be exposed to the coronavirus?
How worried are you about the effect the coronavirus may have on your family’s ability to make a living or earn money?
To what degree is your household practicing “social distancing”? Social distancing refers to household members staying home as much as possible to avoid possible spread of the virus.
Which, if any, are you using to stay connected with family/friends who you no longer see in person due to the coronavirus? (Select all that apply.)
How often are you connecting with family/friends who are outside your home?
Have you done any of the following in response to the coronavirus? (Select all that apply.)
How connected would you say you feel to your friends right now?
How connected would you say you feel to your family right now?
How lonely would you say you feel right now?
Which of the following best characterizes the type of school you attend?
Have in-person classes at your school been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak?
Is schoolwork still being assigned while you are at home?
How worried are you about not being able to keep up with your schoolwork while in-person school activities are canceled?
How worried are you about not being able to keep up with your extracurricular activities (e.g. athletics, student groups) while in-person school activities are canceled?
How often are you connecting with your teachers while in-person school activities are cancelled?
Do you have a dedicated space where you can do your schoolwork at home?
Have you attended an online class or virtual class while in-person school activities have been canceled?
Are you using any of the following to stay connected to school while in-person activities are canceled? (Select all that apply.)
My knowledge of the coronavirus is primarily informed by:
*teenagers