by Helenor Gilmour, Director of Insight, Beano Brain
After more than 20 years of researching kids the absolute joy of my work is their eternal optimism and the opportunity to see the world through their eyes.
Here at Beano Brain we stay close to our audience of kids and families through our Beano Trendspotters. We speak to them every week and for the last 4 years we have had a ringside seat to witness the highs and lows pre and during the current Covid crises.
The kids and teens often make us laugh. We wonder at their incisiveness and ingenuity. Sometimes they tug our heartstrings but this week we are truly concerned because the mood is flatter then we have seen in four years of speaking to them – even amongst the bounciest of kids.
Despite being back at school, the constant uncertainty and disruption to their lives is impacting this eternally optimistic and solution driven generation. As leaders bicker, their rainbows are fading.
Boredom has been an overriding emotion for them throughout this crisis but they are greatly missing a sense of freedom and opportunities to meet and play with friends - so fundamental to child development and mental wellness. In phase one they fully explored their digital inventories on YouTube and Netflix and gaming favourites like Roblox and Fortnite held their attention but the reality of their new normal is wearing down their enthusiasm.
And being back at school, although important, is disappointing too. Corona measures mean that the learning environment is just not as interactive as usual (split classes and year groups, less hands-on) and this is impacting engagement - especially amongst the easily distracted or resistant learners.
It also appears that schools are beginning to deploy tests and that is adding further pressure - "they hit us with an end of year exam we weren't able to sit and I just wasn't mentally prepared for it" – Maya age 11
Our prediction is that Christmas celebrations will be longer, bigger (at least in homes) and certainly more thankful this year – and so they should be! Now’s the time for brands and organisations to all pull together and help, so that in a small way that we can show them that this too will pass. Gen A have had a real dose of (unreal) reality this year and how that impacts their core behaviours is yet to be known but it will certainly have long term mental health impacts and it is on us to step up.
“We are like a different generation – when MY kids complain I’m going to use Corona!” – Theo age 10.
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