Israeli study: 1 in 4 kids became more violent during COVID era

Research finds that 38% of children under the age of 6 also suffer more stress than they did pre-pandemic

Israeli children on their first day of the new school year, at the Pola school in Jerusalem, September 1, 2021. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Israeli children on their first day of the new school year, at the Pola school in Jerusalem, September 1, 2021. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Some 25 percent of children in Israel are reported to have been more violent amid the coronavirus pandemic than they were in previous years, according to new research.

The study, conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Haifa, and Reichman University (formerly the Interdisciplinary Center) in Herzliya, and reported on by Channel 13 news on Wednesday, said one in four children under the age of 6 were acting more violently as a result of the pandemic.

Children under 6 also expressed more stress than usual — 38%. The research also showed that 43% of kids spent more time in front of screens, and 36% were eating more candy than usual.

Nearly half, 45%, of kids under 6 required help from their parents to reconnect with their friends after lengthy COVID lockdowns and last year’s online classes when schools were shuttered.

Some 37% of kids had more learning difficulties amid the pandemic, and 34% needed emotional support, the research said.

In addition, Channel 13 reported that one in 10 kids under 6 required psychological treatment, according to the research.

An Israeli girl seen during a remote learning at her home in Moshav Haniel, northern Israel, on January 25, 2021. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

Among older children and teens, the network said 83% had become addicted to screens during the pandemic.

One in four was consuming more alcoholic drinks than usual, and 47% were acting more violently than usual, the network showed.

The research was published as Israel’s school system reopened on Wednesday.

Almost 2.5 million Israeli students from kindergarten to 12th grade started school Wednesday. Some 250,000 students needed to study via Zoom, due to health restrictions, but the Education Ministry said over 90% of students showed up for school on the first day, far exceeding expectations.

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