About 30 percent of children in Japan are stressed about not being able to go outside amid nationwide school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey by nongovernmental organization Save the Children Japan.
“Children are feeling stressed as they cannot meet their friends and other people,” an official at the NGO said.
“I hope the adults around them will explain in plain words why they can’t go outside and relieve their worries,” the official added.
The survey was conducted online from March 17 to 22. Some 960 answers were collected, mainly from elementary and junior high school students.
Asked what bothered them the most during school closures, the largest group of respondents, 30.6 percent of the total, cited not being able to go outside.
“I have nothing to do besides watching television and playing games,” said a respondent. Others voiced concerns about becoming physically weak due to their reduced activities.
Not being able to meet people was the second most common answer, given by 20.6 percent. “I miss seeing my friends and teachers,” one respondent said.
In addition, 18.1 percent of respondents said they were worried about their health condition and the possibility of getting infected with the virus, while 15.3 percent had concerns about not being able to study.
Those who said that they spend their time alone during the day accounted for 13.9 percent.
Asked about the government’s responses to the virus crisis, many children called on the government to address shortages of face masks, give accurate information about the virus and reopen schools.