Stress rising within teenagers of the possibility of another lockdown following the spread of the new, and far more dangerous variant of COVID-19. I talked to Kira Smith who is a 16-year-old student at school, about her experiences as a teenager locked up during the pandemic.

From schoolwork to mental health, most of the population felt a real impact by the pandemic. It was a complete derailment of normal life to working on zoom, communicating on a screen, and staying inside. The upturn of daily school life to working online was felt positively by some, but many others suffered as a result of limited interactions with others and loss of motivation, as Kira highlighted when she told me ‘I fell behind on schoolwork and had very little motivation’. Furthermore, Kira as well as myself, found that this led to negative effects such as declining mental health and destruction of routinely sleep schedules; ‘my sleep schedule was completely ruined and I found myself sleeping through the day and being left awake at night’ was something Kira commented on that was most likely a feeling echoed throughout all teenagers.

Our discussion led on to the rising cases of the virus recently reported and the thought that sprang to mind was the possibility of another lockdown. Although lockdowns have positive effects in the perspective of containing the virus, there are serious negative effect that must be taken into consideration. In response to this, Kira told me ‘I feel like another lockdown would put a pause in the growth I am beginning to make after the last lockdowns, it worries me that I might return to something that I found very difficult’. However, she brought to light ‘the speed and effectiveness in which they (the government) have acted on the news of the new variant is promising, especially compared to the lack of action with the Delta variant before that was allowed to spread much faster. I hope it’s enough so we can enjoy our holidays without the restrictions that we have had to deal with 3 times before.’

Ending on a positive note, we shared the things we learnt; new skills and new things about ourselves, during the extended time alone. We both were able to spend more times with family and our pets; ‘One of the best parts of staying at home was being with my dog 24/7, which I’m sure she loved as well’. Although this was lovely, after a week or two many of us resorted to our screen for working and entertainment resulting in an increase in physical effects such as headaches, as well as the emotional ones of damaged mental health. Particularly within teenagers, a lack of socialisation had a real evident impact. ‘If it came to another lockdown, I would definitely try and restrict my screen time so I didn’t get carried away, but it would be difficult considering this is the only way to communicate’.