'We were spat at for skateboarding': 7 teenagers on life in the time of COVID-19

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Being a teenager is hard enough, never mind adding in the worry and complication of self-isolation during a global pandemic.

Essential Baby spoke to seven different teenagers about managing life in lockdown - and whether or not they are enjoying increased time with their families and less time at school with friends. 

They share the highs, the lows and what they miss the most.

Oscar, 16

"When the news first started appearing about the spread of Covid-19, I felt a lot of anxiety. I remember giving a friend a hug at school and saying that might be the last one for a while. 

"I worry too about my grandparents, so it is nice to talk to or see them from afar regularly. 

"I really miss seeing my girlfriend more and going to skate parks with friends. I went for a street skate with a mate recently and while we weren't doing anything wrong, we were watched by the police and a cyclist went past and spat at us. 

"It made me feel very uneasy and I don't like the edgy, unsettled vibe of people in the neighbourhood right now.

"On the plus side, being at home means I can concentrate on the school subjects I like the most and learn at my own pace. I also have more downtime as I am not catching two buses to school and back every day.

"Overall, I have been content to just try and sit this out. It is not 'hard' to sit at home gaming with mates. 

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"I do look forward to going back to school however; the input from and engagement with teachers is much better in real life than it is on a screen with crappy internet connection." 

Amy, 14 

"Over the last four weeks, I have switched to online schooling. I haven't been able to see many friends or family members, go on our planned holiday, have my grandma visit from Ireland, start netball or follow through with birthday plans. 

"I'm getting a bit sick of only being able to do exercise in order to get out of the house - it's made me feel like I'm stuck in a zoo, in a cage filled with a bunch of crazy baboons - aka my family! 

"It has allowed me to spend more time on jobs I have previously been too busy to do such as organising my room and helping mum clean out other cupboards around the house because I'm a clean freak! 

"I have also started spending more time on enjoyable activities that I wouldn't normally such as surfing and yoga.

"When this is over, I look forward to seeing my friends and extended family, sharing an acai bowl with a mate, going to the movies and having people over for dinner. 

"I am not so keen on the going back to school idea however, I much prefer sleeping in and going for a surf during my lunch break."

Photo:  Siena and Nyan, 19 (Suuplied)

Photo: Siena and Nyan, 19 (Suplied)

Nyan, 19 

"Personally, there has been three big changes. The first is that my university course transitioned to an online delivery. Secondly, I lost my hospitality job, and lastly, I began receiving JobKeeper payments which was a relief as I have payments to stay on top of. 

"The things that I miss the most are going to the pub with friends, working, watching sporting events on TV and going to the gym. Isolation has made me feel tired and bored a lot of the time.

"The things that I have enjoyed about it are getting to spend more time with the family, watching YouTube and Netflix and having more time to do my university assignments.

Siena, 19

"From a practical perspective, not a lot has changed for me because I still have my full-time job. 

"I do however feel a lot of pressure at work to keep enforcing social distancing regulations and feeling as though people are not taking it seriously. 

"I definitely miss going out for a drink with friends or being able to go into the city for a day of shopping.

"I like coming straight home from work to relax and watch various TV series on Netflix. I also enjoy how much time I have to myself to do little art projects or to clean up parts of my room that I haven't in ages. I also enjoy all the money I have saved on petrol!"

Archie, 14

"I had just started a part time job at McDonalds before social distancing came in, so it is a shame I haven't been able to get to know my new work friends more.

"School is harder from home as concentrating on the screen for six hours each day is not as interesting as being in class with the teacher and my mates. 

"I am glad we live close to the beach as I can still surf and see a friend at the beach or go for the occasional mountain bike ride. 

"I am not so into social media, but I have been doing a bit more messaging on my phone or gaming with my mates on the Xbox. 

"When this is all over I mostly look forward to hanging out in a group again and not spending so much time by myself."

Louie, 12

"I usually play a lot of soccer so I am not seeing my mates as much but we've been staying in touch via Snapchat and Instagram. 

"It is a bit boring at home but my mum has been more chilled about certain things and it is good not having to do as much school work.

"I am hoping restrictions lift soon though as I would like a party with my mates for my birthday in May."

Izzy, 16 

"Before COVID-19, I used to do over an hour of physical activity most days. Normally I play hockey and train and also go to the gym with my mum to do a mix of cardio classes. Now I am doing very little."

"In the month since we began isolation, I have been out only twice and one of those times I essentially stayed in the car. I am lucky however as we have a lot of space at home and outside, so there is plenty I can do. 

"I miss my friends and sport but I have been keeping in touch. Last week I FaceTimed my best friend and we cooked pancakes and then sat down to eat together like we were out for brunch."

"I have enjoyed the slower pace of life, sleep-ins and longer afternoons. When I do after school sports my schedule is busy and I am often not home until 6.30pm. 

"I think when it is all over I just look forward to getting back to yoga and seeing my best friends for breakfast."