Social relationships with parents, peers, teachers, coaches, and others are key components of child and youth health and well-being. Such relationships are beneficial when they are close, trusted, warm, caring, accepting, affirming, and reciprocal. Opportunities for belonging and inclusion in supportive family, peer, school, and cultural networks and for engaging in meaningful community actions with others are also central to this dimension.1
- Social connections with one’s family, school, and community are known to be protective factors that foster healthy development, decision-making, and behaviours.2,3,4,5 While it is encouraging that youth in BC are reporting a higher level of family connectedness than in the past, it is concerning that an increasing number of youth report not having an adult they can talk to if they have a serious problem.
- Youth also report a higher level of school connectedness than in previous years.
- Community connectedness is not as strong for youth, and only 40 per cent of youth in BC reported a sense of belonging to their community. Less than 60 per cent of female youth report feeling safe in their neighbourhoods at night.
- Many youth across BC report participation in activities outside of school such as sports, art, music, and drama, and sports or exercise classes with or without an instructor. The participation rate across the province is moderately high and is consistent over time, except for participation without an instructor, which has decreased. There is geographic variation in the rates of participation in activities based on the type of activity.
- More males than females experienced discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or skin colour; however, the percentage of males who experienced this has decreased in recent years. There has been an overall increase in children and youth who experience discrimination based on sexual orientation, with the largest increase seen among females. There are geographic differences in rates of discrimination based on race and ethnicity, and based on sexual orientation.
- The percentage of youth who report being bullied remains high and has increased slightly over the past 10 years, with more females reporting being bullied. Cyberbullying has decreased over the same time.
- Geographic differences in child abuse and child neglect are important, with children and youth living in northern BC being much more likely to be abused or neglected then children and youth elsewhere in the province.
- There appears to be an emerging slight downward trend in the percentage of youth who have experienced sexual abuse, with females being three times more likely than males to have experienced sexual abuse.
- There are large geographic differences in the rate of children and youth in care.
- The overall rate of youth in the BC justice system declined substantially over the 10 years presented.
Explore the Indicators:
- Canadian Institute for Health Information. Child and youth health and well-being indicators project: CIHI and B.C. PHO joint summary report. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Institute for Health Information; 2013 Feb.
- Saewyc E, Tonkin R. Surveying adolescents: focusing on positive development. Paediatr Child Health. 2008 Jan;13(1):43-7.
- Shonkoff J, Phillips D. From neurons to neighborhoods - the science of early childhood development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000.
- Resnick MD, Bearman PS, Blum RW, Bauman KE, Harris KM, Jones J, et al. Protecting adolescents from harm--findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. JAMA. 1997 Sep 10;278(10):823-32.
- Federal, Provincial Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health. Toward a healthy future. Second report on the health of Canadians. Charlottetown, PE: Federal, Provincial Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health; 1999.