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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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1 - 15 of 113
Using fake news as means of cyber-bullying: The link with compulsive internet use and online moral disengagement

Alexandra Maftei; Andrei-Corneliu Holman; Ioan-Alex Merlici

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Online moral disengagement and cyberbullying can enhance fake news spreading. We explored the links between these variables and compulsive Internet use in a sample of 509 teenagers and adults aged 11 to 67. We investigated the effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through fake news creation and/or distribution, both direct and via moral disengagement, and the related differences between adults and teenagers. The indirect effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through moral disengagement was significant in adolescents, but not in adults. As assumed, teenagers scored significantly higher than adults on all the primary variables. Contrary to our expectations, no significant gender differences emerged, regardless of participants' age, in terms of compulsive Internet use, moral disengagement, nor cyberbullying. The results emphasize the importance of relevant online education programs designed to engage both teenagers and adults in critical thinking that might help in the fake news detection process, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Physically distant, virtually close: Adolescents’ sexting behaviors during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic

Chelly Maes; Laura Vandenbosch

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
This study contextualizes Belgian adolescents' (12–18 years old) sexting behaviors between romantic and non-romantic partners during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey among 543 Belgian respondents (Mage = 15.29, 68% girls) showed that 40.9% of the adolescents engaged in at least one type of sexting (i.e., type one = textual, type two = visual content with underwear/swimwear, type three = visual depiction of private parts, type four = visual depiction of sexual acts). Arousal needs were the most common reasons to sext (M = 3.33, SD = 1.89). Generalized ordered logit analyses show that higher arousal needs were linked to higher frequencies of the first three sexting types. Relational affirmation needs were related to the engagement in sexting type two, whereas partner pressure was related to sexting type three and four. Regarding the latter, a significant link was also found with stress regulation. Conditional relations emerged according to adolescents' sex, developmental status, and relationship status. The current study's findings not only help to inform practitioners in terms of behavioral advice for future pandemics or periods after social isolation, but can also offer explanations for (changes in) adolescents' sexting behaviors after the pandemic and the possible dual nature of its effects.
Age- and weight group-specific weight gain patterns in children and adolescents during the 15 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mandy Vogel; Mandy Geserick; Ruth Gausche (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Obesity

There is a concern that measures aiming to limit a further spread of COVID-19, e.g., school closures and social distancing, cause an aggravation of the childhood obesity epidemic. Therefore, this study compared BMI trends during the 15 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assess the change in weight dynamics during the first months of COVID-19, it compared the trends of 3-month change in BMI-SDS (ΔBMI-SDS) and the proportions of children showing a high positive (HPC) or high negative (HNC) weight change between 2005 and 2019 and the respective changes from 2019 (pre-pandemic) to 2020 (after the onset of anti-pandemic measures) in more than 150,000 children (9689 during the pandemic period). The period of 3 months corresponds approximately to the first lockdown period in Germany.

Latent profile of internet and internet game usage among South Korean adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dongil Kim; Junwon Lee; JeeEun Karin Nam

Published: September 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Globally, more people are spending time on the Internet and gaming since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Consequently, concerns about developing behavioral addiction of adolescents have been raised. Such risk could be greater for adolescents in South Korea where the majority of adolescents have access to the Internet and own a smartphone. In fact, statistics indicate that Korean youths are spending significantly more time on the Internet and gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies on the patterns of time spent on the Internet and Internet gaming show inconsistent results. The aim of this study is to investigate the latent profiles of the Internet and Internet game usage among adolescents in South Korea. Data from a national survey on elementary and middle school students across South Korea were used. The sample consists of 3,149 respondents, and 2,984 responses were analyzed after removing missing responses. Latent profile analysis was performed to investigate the number of latent profiles for the Internet and Internet game usage time. To validate the profiles, differences in problematic gaming behavior, sex, and neuroticism were examined.

Reduced emotional intelligence in children aged 9–10 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown

Katya Martín-Requejo; Sandra Santiago-Ramajo

Published: September 2021   Journal: Mind, Brain, and Education
It is necessary to know the influence of the current pandemic situation on children's emotional intelligence (EI). Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the difference in 34 Spanish children's EI (aged 9–10) caused by the lockdown. EI was measured with the BarOn Emotional Intelligence Inventory (EQ-i:YV). Results have revealed a reduction in EI, specifically on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and adaptability scales (all p < .01). Thus, the study highlights the negative influence of lockdown situation on children's EI and considering the impact this may have at a cognitive, social, or academic level, it would be convenient to promote its development at school.
Adrenocortical and psychosocial responses of families in Jordan to the COVID-19 pandemic

Paul D. Hastings; Lindsey C. Partington; Rana Dajani (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Child Development
This study of 52 predominantly lower income Jordanian and Syrian families with young children (31 girls; Mage = 53.37 months, SD = 3.53) in Jordan began in 2019, before the pandemic. Families were followed to explore stress physiology, family functioning, and mental health over the first 9 months of the pandemic. Mothers reported less adaptive coping and more negative changes to family life in June 2020 when their children had poorer behavioral self-regulation and more behavior problems, and when families had lower income, in 2019. More negative changes to family life predicted greater hair cortisol concentrations in children in June 2020, and more negative changes and less adaptive coping predicted worse child and mother psychosocial adjustment in December 2020.
Estimating the impact of the pandemic on children's physical health: a scoping review

Mansoor Rahman A.; Baskaran Chandrasekaran

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of School Health

Children are expected to adhere to the recommended physical activity (PA) dose of 60 minutes per day and minimize sedentary behaviors (SB) to stray away from the cardio-metabolic disease risk. However, there is a lack of review of current evidence pointing to the negative physical health effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, with its barriers and facilitators for effective PA implementation in children aged 3 to 13. Two independent authors conducted an extensive search on five peer-reviewed journal databases for the studies examining changes in PA or SB in children and the potential

Children's perspectives and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and UK public health measures health-related physical fitness and activity in homeschool: a systematic review with implications for return to public school

Jill Thompson; Grace Spencer; Penny Curtis (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Health Expectations

The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on how we live our lives; yet, the implications for children and the effects on children's everyday lives have been relatively underacknowledged. Understanding children's views on COVID-19 and related restrictions on their lives provides an important opportunity to understand how children have responded to the pandemic, including the impacts on their social and emotional well-being. This study explored the experiences and perspectives of children in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions on everyday life. A qualitative study using semistructured online interviews with participatory drawings was undertaken between May and July 2020. Eighteen children from England and Wales, aged 7–11 years, participated in interviews.

Perceived changes in family life during COVID-19: the role of family size

Elena Canzi; Francesca V. Danioni; Miriam Parise (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Family Relations

The current study was aimed at exploring Italian parents' perceived negative and positive changes in family life during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking into account the role of the stage of the family life and family size. During the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families drastically changed their daily life and routines. Little evidence exists on how family characteristics, such as family size or presence of children, are related to families' experience of family change. A large sample of 1,407 Italian parents (70.1% mothers) filled in an anonymous online survey during the third week of the lockdown period (between March 30 and April 7, 2020).

COVID-19 impact on adolescent 24 h movement behaviors

Marie-Maude Dubuc; Félix Berrigan; Marylène Goudreault (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
This study aimed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 24 h movement behaviors of adolescents. This was conducted to capture their evolution from February to December 2020, as well as to explore the use of technology for physical activity purposes by adolescents as a strategy to increase their physical activity during the pandemic. Physical activity, recreational screen time, sleep duration, and sleep quality were self-reported by 2661 adolescents using an online questionnaire. Participants also indicated, in comparison with the previous winter (regular in-class learning), how their different movement behaviors changed during the following 2020 periods: (1) spring (school closures), (2) summer (school break), and (3) autumn (hybrid learning). Finally, information about the use of technology during physical activity was collected.
Physical distancing messages targeting youth on the social media accounts of Canadian public health entities and the use of behavioral change techniques

Sheryll Dimanlig-Cruz; Arum Han; Samantha Lancione (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health
Physical distancing (PD) is an important public health strategy to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and has been promoted by public health authorities through social media. Although youth have a tendency to engage in high-risk behaviors that could facilitate COVID-19 transmission, there is limited research on the characteristics of PD messaging targeting this population on social media platforms with which youth frequently engage. This study examined social media posts created by Canadian public health entities (PHEs) with PD messaging aimed at youth and young adults aged 16–29 years and reported behavioral change techniques (BCTs) used in these posts.
Social, economic, and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents retained in or recently disengaged from HIV care in Kenya

Leslie A. Enane; Edith Apondi; Josephine Aluoch (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Plos One
Adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV, ages 10–19) experience complex challenges to adhere to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and remain in care, and may be vulnerable to wide-scale disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We assessed for a range of effects of the pandemic on ALHIV in western Kenya, and whether effects were greater for ALHIV with recent histories of being lost to program (LTP).
Contrasts and ambivalences in French parents’ experiences regarding changes in eating and cooking behaviours during the COVID-19 lockdown

Kaat Philippe; Sylvie Issanchou; Sandrine Monnery-Patris

Published: September 2021   Journal: Food Quality and Preference
Using open-ended questions, this study explored parents’ experiences regarding changes in their family’s food-related behaviours during the first COVID-19 lockdown in France (March-May 2020). Parents (N=498, 72% mothers) of children aged 3-12 years described which food-related changes they (1) perceived as positive during the lockdown, (2) perceived as negative, and (3) would like to maintain after the lockdown. A thematic analysis revealed that parents appreciated the choice of more local, fresh foods, the time to prepare food (home-made dishes, new recipes) and cooking and eating together with the family. In contrast, some parents highlighted a burden imposed by the increased food preparation at home. They also described a higher intake of unhealthy, palatable food (or the temptation to do so), and weight concerns. Parents would like to maintain their choice of local, fresh foods, and to continue spending more time together around food but doubt the feasibility after the lockdown. The results revealed many inter- and intra-individual contrasts in parents’ answers. An ambivalent attitude toward food pleasure was demonstrated: the sensory/commensal pleasure of eating versus the concerns about an increased intake of pleasurable food. Additionally, gender differences were observed: mothers perceived the preparation of additional meals, for example, more often as a burden than fathers. This study revealed intimate perceptions of the impact of the lockdown on eating habits in families. They give insight into possible facilitators and barriers (e.g., time) for the adoption of recommended eating and cooking behaviours in families, beyond the pandemic.
Rates of myopia development in young Chinese schoolchildren during the outbreak of COVID-19

Yin Hu; Feng Zhao; Xiaohu Ding (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: JAMA Ophthalmology

Were environmental changes during the outbreak of COVID-19 associated with increased development of myopia in young schoolchildren in China?  In this observational study longitudinally monitoring 2114 students from grade 2 to grade 3, myopia incidence doubled from November and December 2019 to November and December 2020 compared with the same period from 2018 to 2019. The proportion of children without myopia and with spherical equivalent refraction greater than −0.50 D and less than or equal to +0.50 D in grade 3 had increased by 18% by November and December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. These data suggest that development of myopia in young Chinese schoolchildren may have increased during the COVID-19 outbreak; the long-term impact of environmental changes during the COVID-19 outbreak period on the development of myopia in children needs further investigation.

Factors associated with changes in pregnancy intention among women who were mothers of young children in New York City following the COVID-19 outbreak

Linda G. Kahn; Leonardo Trasande; Mengling Liu (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: JAMA Network Open

Early evidence shows a decrease in the number of US births during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet few studies have examined individual-level factors associated with pregnancy intention changes, especially among diverse study populations or in areas highly affected by COVID-19 in the US. This research aims to study changes in pregnancy intention following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and identify factors possibly associated with these changes.

1 - 15 of 113

UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.