A new, national poll is giving us insight into parents’ deepest concerns for their children growing up in a pandemic.

Many families have experienced profound loss, as over 318,000 people have died in America because of the coronavirus. Many children are in virtual school or some combination of in-person and online classes. Extracurriculars, playdates, sleepovers, large gatherings-many families are skipping these entirely to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It’s no wonder, then, that parents are worried about their kids’ overuse of social media (72%) and emotional health. Bullying/cyberbullying (62%), internet safety (62%), unhealthy eating habits (59%), and risk of depression/suicide (54%) round out the top five things parents worry about when it comes to their kids growing up in a pandemic.

That’s according to The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health in 2020 survey. More than 2,000 parents were polled.


The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health 2020

If children are spending more time on their devices for school and socialization, it makes sense that parents would worry about the overuse of social media, screen time, internet safety, and cyberbullying.

Parents are equally as worried about their kids getting a lack of physical activity (54%) and their stress/anxiety levels (54%).

Parents are more worried about their kids’ possible substance abuse during the pandemic than they are about the cause of the pandemic: COVID-19. Smoking/vaping (52%) and drinking or using drugs (50%) rate higher as causes for concern among parents than COVID-19 (48%).

The results of the poll shift dramatically if the responses are filtered by the parents’ race.

The number one thing that black parents worry about is racism (82%). Their second concern is COVID-19 (73%).

Racism is the #6 concern for Hispanic parents and COVID-19 is their #8 worry. Neither racism nor COVID-19 made the top 10 concerns for white parents.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health 2020

Notably, black parents were the only group to rank poverty (66%), unequal healthcare access (62%), and gun injuries (61%) in their top 10 list of children’s health concerns, too.

These findings should not be ignored when discussing how to keep our children safe in a pandemic.

People of color have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in America. They have been more likely to contract the virus and have died at higher rates than white people.

Systemic racism can also impact every facet of life, like the criminal justice system, education, healthcare, housing, employment, and politics.

“Recognizing the impact of racism on children is a first step for everyone in our society to take action to address it,” officials say in the Mott Poll Report. “Standing up to racism can make a difference for all kids in many ways. On a personal level, seeing they can be part of a solution teaches kids to feel empowered, not helpless. On a social level, individual and community actions can promote racial equality and justice.”