More than half of Brits support the idea that young people should be given incentives in reward for self-isolation, a YouGov poll has found.
The survey results come after the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggested young people who are forced to self-isolate or remain at home should be gifted “free data, streaming and gaming” as a reward and incentive for their compliance.
SAGE’s report highlighted compliance with coronavirus restrictions is “substantially lower and declining” in those aged 18 to 29-years-old.
The report explained young people are less likely to be compliant than other age groups due to being “strongly oriented towards maintaining status and belonging in their peer group” and are “more influened by peers”.
In total 4,121 British adults were polled over whether it was a good or bad idea to offer financial and other support to people who have to self-isolate.
Just over half of respondents (56%) said it was a “good idea” to provide incentives to young people to follow the rules on social distancing and self-isolation.
Less than a quarter of Brits polled (23%) opposed SAGE’s suggestions, saying it was a “bad idea”.
The recommendations from SAGE to provide incentives to self-isolate has received mix responses from students.
Sarah Ward, a 2nd-year journalism student who has previously had to self-isolate, said the idea could provide a “mental break from everything that is going on”, but may not succeed long-term.
She said: “I think it would definitely show that the Government are still thinking about the welfare of students – because at the moment it feels like we’ve been tossed to the bottom of the pile.
“Whether it would work in encouraging young people to stick to the rules in the long term, I’m not so sure.
“I feel the problem is not in students wanting free services, but they want the social aspect.”
She added: “After a few days of not being able to talk to anyone face to face or go outside and have normal interactions, it leaves damaging effects mentally.
“I’m not entirely convinced that giving them free stuff to enjoy inside is going to change their willingness to obey the rules.”
Some students, however, think that if incentives are offered in reward for self-isolation, they should be healthy, lifestyle-boosting alternatives.
Second-year English Literature student Iwan Hughes said: “Instead of encouraging unhealthy behaviours such as gaming and watching TV to become excessive, it should be encouraged that people are able to get active: both for physical and mental benefits.
“At this point in the pandemic, everyone is low on serotonin and a boost through free running shoes, for example, could give a lift to get us through what is, hopefully, the final stage of this pandemic.”
Kieran Burt, a second-year politics and international relations student, added: “I think it [SAGE’s recommendations] have come a bit late.
“This is only for three weeks or so now, we’re halfway through the lockdown so unless they choose to extend it, I don’t see why it’s only being advised now.
“It could also be compared to Jeremy Corbyn’s free broadbrand idea that was included in Labour 2019 General Election manifesto – that wouldn’t be good politically for Boris Johnson and the Government.”
Rather expectantly the proposal was supported mostly by those aged 18 to 24-years-old (65%), closely followed by Brits aged 25 to 49-years-ol (62%) and 50 to 65-years-old (55%).
By Matt Lee
Lead Image: Matt Lee