The rights of children and adolescents have been overlooked throughout the lockdown and current COVID-19 crisis

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The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in how we live our lives. The coronavirus outbreak has forced many adults to adjust their daily routine, but how have children and adolescents experienced the almost three months of isolation? For those that attended the online seminar organised by the Institute of Advanced Family Studies at UIC Barcelona, the conclusions were definitive: minors have become a secondary concern during the pandemic and their rights have evidently been neglected.

The rights of children and adolescents have been overlooked throughout the lockdown and current COVID-19 crisis
The last online seminar of the lecture series “Las políticas de familia y los derechos de los niños en tiempos de COVID-19” (‘Family policies and children’s rights in times of COVID-19’) was held on 8 July, having been organised by the Childcare and Family Policies Chair in collaboration with the Joaquim Molins Figueras Foundation
This third and final online seminar brought together two members of Catalonia’s Children’s Rights Coalition (PINCAT), an organisation representing 21 children’s associations that operate across a wide range of disciplines. The speakers were Miquel Àngel Carreto, director of Actùa, an initiative that seeks to outline integral development strategies for projects that support children, and Carme Grifoll, director of the Nou Barris Foundation for mental health and representative of the Mental Health Forum Association at PINCAT.
The Actùa director kicked off the discussions by explaining how the pandemic had highlighted the extent of the digital gap; not all young people have access to the internet and ICTs and therefore training and education are not universally accessible.
In this same vein, Carreto stated that “the COVID-19 crisis has caused children and adolescents’ situations to worsen as their rights have been disregarded at a time when they needed them most”. The expert also pointed out that “before the pandemic there were already collectives in society, children included, at risk of social exclusion, but now these issues have grown even more acute”.
The speaker Carme Grifoll also shared her perspective as a clinical psychologist and asserted that “coronavirus has isolated more than one and a half million children behind closed doors. “These conditions” —she stated— “have meant young children have stopped going to school, neglected their social skills and gone without seeing their friends for weeks on end”. This has led to an increase in requests for mental health assistance as children are becoming more vulnerable.
As with the all the other seminars in the series, this one was recorded and can be found here. Click on the links below to view the previous seminars: