November 12, 2020

Planet Youth at the times of COVID-19

Record demand and participation

The COVID-19 pandemic has in a matter of months turned every-day-life around throughout the world both for adults and youth. Home-schooling has in many parts of the world replaced regular school attendance which makes it impossible to carry out surveys in schools since many children are taking lessons from their homes. Despite this fact, in November Planet Youth has sent out questionnaires in a record quantity to over 5.000 schools around the globe in Europe, North and South America, but all on a virtual platform.

Since the first wave of COVID-19 ran over the world, efforts were made to adjust the Planet Youth school survey protocol to an online, at-home format. The challenge was both technical and structural. At-home surveys typically generate lower response rates than in school surveys, so steps had to be taken to address the challenges with altered processes and setup of the questionnaire.

The motivation of these changes was fuelled by the importance of current, quality information on children’s well-being, substance use and overall health, both mental and physical. These information have probably never been as vital as now.

COVID related questions

It is said that every difficulty has an opportunity. Implementing the Planet Youth survey now gives our partners the opportunity to add a few COVID-19 related questions to the questionnaire which can give important information on the well-being of youth and their changed environment during these unusual circumstances. Has the pandemic affected their mental health in any way? what is its effect on substance use consumption, engagement with family, friends and school,  change in their screen time use and other factors in their environment? These are only a few of the topics which can be brought up.

The new protocol

But what changes have been made to the Planet Youth protocol? The questionnaire has been shortened, closer to the core questions of the Planet Youth methodology in order to increase the likelihood of a high response rate. An online, mobile phone adjusted link to the questionnaire is sent to the schools and distributed during an organized home-schooling hour, under the supervision of a teacher. A follow-up process has then been added, where Planet Youth sends back information from the administrative tools on the response rate during the survey period. On top of that more focus has to been set on clear communication routes and Planet Youth provides a step by step guide and an online seminar on the whole process.

If your municipality is considering using Planet Youth to increase the likelihood of having a better living environment for youth, we are well prepared and have adjusted all our protocols towards being able to assist you now as well as we did before.

The new types of home-schooling surveys are being run in a record number of schools and municipalities as our partners are looking into different possibilities where circumstances call for a different approach.