Two thirds of students say the government doesn't understand people their age

Two thirds of students say the government doesn't understand people their age

New research published by Beat has revealed that 60% of students in Ireland believe the government is NOT doing a good job in handling the pandemic with 7 out of 10 saying the government does not understand their demographic.

Beat commissioned well-known research company Spark to conduct this study entitled “My So Called Covid Life”. The aim of the research is to aid the market-leading radio station as it strives to better understand how its loyal audience is coping with pandemic life and their fears for the future.

When asked to describe their remote learning experience during lockdown over the last twelve months, the four top emotions chosen by the students taking part in the survey were “bored, stressed, depressed and anxious”. 83% of respondents said their mental health has been negatively impacted but worryingly 73% who were affected mentally said they had yet to avail of any support services to help them better cope with their mental health concerns.

CEO of Beat 102-103 Gabrielle Cummins says the findings on our youth’s mental health are stark: “Nearly half of all 15-34-year-olds in the South East tune into Beat daily (the station has 42% Prime Time Market Share among this demographic*). Young people view the station as their trusted friend so at Beat, we have a responsibility to raise awareness and educate this vulnerable audience about how to access professional mental health services.


Consequently, we are currently working on how better to present this information going forward. We will also be sharing this fresh research data with relevant government departments so the findings can hopefully help inform their approach to further addressing young people’s mental health”. The results also provide the relevant departments with some external insight on how best to communicate key messages to this crucial demographic in the future.

Nationally, 60% of participants said they do not think the government is doing a good job during the pandemic. In addition, 7 out of 10 young people surveyed, believe the government does not understand their age group. The research indicates a clear disconnect between government and this demographic with nearly a quarter of them revealing they either didn’t know who the current Taoiseach of Ireland is or they think it’s Leo Varadkar. Ryan Tubridy is respondents’ preferred choice for Vaccine Minister, followed by Conor McGregor and Katie Taylor.

The research on behalf of Beat has also thrown up some interesting facts about social media platform use for this age group.

TikTok secured top spot in the survey as the fastest growing social media network with 86% of 16-17-year-olds highlighting it’s the app they now use the most. In the South East, however, Snapchat continues to outperform TikTok; for now. Beat's Multi-Platform Content Coordinator Debbie Ridgard says “with over half a million social media followers, we know that Snapchat remains a popular way for our audience to interact with Beat but the growth of TikTok has grown exponentially in the last year.


"Beat was not even on TikTok at the start of 2019 and now we have nearly 200,000 followers on this platform. Businesses that hold an influential position, like Beat, need to embrace these platforms and make sure we continue to connect with and listen to our audience’s ever-changing needs. At Beat, this research will certainly influence the station’s future social media strategy”, added Debbie.

Check out our participants' video responses below:

Listen to the full discussion below as Orla Rapple dissects the findings of My So Called Covid Life with a panel that includes Jack Collier, a first-year DCU student; Doctor Zeta Dooly, researcher & lecturer in tech-enhanced learning at WIT; Emer Neville, 6th-year student and second-level student union member; and Ian Power, CEO of



Top Takeaways of “My So Called Covid Life" Research

  • Top 4 emotions – bored, depressed, stressed, anxious.
  • Impact on Mental Health – 83% say yes, 73% have not availed of any help. 72% of girls worried about their future.
  • Nearly a quarter don’t know who the Taoiseach is.
  • McGregor V Tubridy.
  • 3 in 4 pay less attention in class due to remote learning/ disengagement/skipping classes. Younger and C2DE disproportionately affected.
  • 71% have broken lockdown restrictions in the last month for mental health reasons. Younger males in particular needing connections.
  • 82% using Tik Tok more now than pre-pandemic so should Gov use this platform in a more effective way? How?
  • Nearly 70% say the government doesn’t understand them with 60% thinking Gov is not doing a good job.
  • 56% would be comfortable to travel within Ireland now; 55% want to travel abroad but only 38% would go abroad now.
  • Seeing Friends and Family and getting back to a sense of “normal” are what young people are most looking forward to in the near future.

Image: Charlotte May