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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Language use of Russian Roma children in their home environments during the COVID 19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Hristo Kyuchukov

Published: September 2021   Journal: Intercultural Education
The paper presents results from a fieldwork study with Russian Roma children. Two groups of children, 6–8 years and 8–10 years old, were involved in the study. Before the pandemic crisis began in Russia, a large number of Roma children were kept home by the parents. The study was conducted in a Roma settlement of a small town not so far from Moscow, and the author was living with the Roma family for a week. Using an ethnographic approach, he observed the communication between children and adults, children and siblings, children and neighbours. The ROMLAT test was used to measure the knowledge of Roma children regarding different grammatical categories from their mother tongue. The Roma oral tradition served among the community as a factor stimulating the language development of the children and maintaining their Romani.
Children’s screen and problematic media use in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Lauren Eales; Sarah Gillespie; Reece A. Alstat (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Child Development
This mixed methods study examined parent-reported child screen media use before and during the COVID-19 pandemic by examining 2019–2020 changes in parent perceptions of media, screen media use (SMU), and problematic media use (PMU) in children aged 2–13 years (N = 129; 64 boys, 64 girls, 1 nonbinary; 90.7% White, 4.6% Hispanic/Latino, 0.8% Black, 8.5% multiethnic; primarily middle-to-high income). Quantitative analyses showed a significant SMU and PMU increase (medium effect size). There was a steeper increase in PMU among school-age (older) children. Together, the qualitative and quantitative results suggest that the PMU and SMU increase were influenced by distal, proximal, and maintaining factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning, child behaviors, other children, parental mediation, and positive media reinforcement.
Effectiveness of disseminating school physical activity information on Facebook during a pandemic: a mixed-method analysis

AUTHOR(S)
Allison Ross; Jendayi Edmeade; Tyler Prochnow

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of School Health

Social media is an important communication tool during times of crisis because of its vast reach. Understanding the effectiveness of sharing public health guidance and promoting schoolchildren's physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic can inform dissemination best practices. This study classified 418 posts from parent/community members of a school-based physical activity Facebook group by content type, and used concurrent mixed methods to examine (1) differences in dissemination effectiveness (reactions, shares, and comments) between two pandemic phases and (2) themes and sentiments of comments. Phase I included school closures through the release of national school re-entry guidelines (March 1, 2020 – May 15, 2020) and Phase II extended through the school year start (May 16, 2020 – August 1, 2020).

Physical distancing messages targeting youth on the social media accounts of Canadian public health entities and the use of behavioral change techniques

AUTHOR(S)
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.
Parent-adolescent conversations about COVID-19 influence adolescents’ empathic concern and adherence to health protective behaviors

AUTHOR(S)
Joanna Peplak; J. Zoe Klemfuss; Tuppett M. Yates

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health

This longitudinal investigation assessed how the frequency of parent-adolescent conversations about COVID-19, moderated by adolescents’ stress, influenced adolescents’ empathic concern and adherence to health protective behaviors (HPBs) throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 181 adolescents (Mage = 15.23 years; 51% female; 47% Latinx) and their parents. Frequency of parent-adolescent conversations about COVID-19 (i.e., pandemic-related symptoms, health behaviors, and social effects), empathic concern toward vulnerable others, and adolescent HPBs were assessed via surveys in the first months of the pandemic, and empathic concern and HPBs were assessed again nine months later.

Schooling in time of COVID-19: guidance for school administrators to communciate with students, parents/caregivers and teachers

AUTHOR(S)
Kalpana Vincent; Viviane Bianco; Sarah Fuller (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: August 2021

During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, communication is key to develop and sustain the effective and trusted relationship between students, teachers and parents/caregivers. Credible and consistent two-way communication ensures a clear understanding of messages, facilitates ongoing dialogue and enables collective decision-making with the active involvement of students, teachers and families. School administrators play a large role in shaping communication and engagement among schools, families, and teachers to support children’s continued participation in quality and inclusive learning. Adopting principles listed in this guide will help school administrators to design the right approach in building communication strategies and plans, which encourages parents/caregivers, teachers and students to work together and create an enriching learning environment amidst the challenging situation.

COVID-19 behavioural drivers and patterns: a longitudinal assessment from the South Asia region

AUTHOR(S)
JohnBaptist Bwanika; Tom Pellens; Esther Kaggwa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: July 2021
In response to the need for social and behavioural data to inform risk communication and community engagement during COVID-19, the community rapid assessment (CRA) initiative was implemented by UNICEF in four countries in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan). Through a time-series approach, the CRAs aim to provide rapid and consistent data on citizen perceptions and behaviours; underlying drivers and barriers; access to information and trust; vaccine acceptance; coping strategies; and evolving needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data across countries were synthesized and analysed to measure associations between outcomes of interest (e.g. behavioural practices) and a set of respondent characteristics. Initial analysis used data from Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan covering the period August to December 2020 (presented in an interim report with early findings). This was next expanded to also cover the India CRA and data up to April 2021.
Parent-reported social-communication changes in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

AUTHOR(S)
Phoebe O. Morris; Edward Hope; Tom Foulsham (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: International Journal of Developmental Disabilities
The coronavirus pandemic has swept across the United Kingdom (UK). Given the ever-evolving situation, little is known about the repercussions of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Therefore, this study explores the social-communicative impact of the first lockdown (March 2020 – July 2020) in the UK and the return to school period (September 2020 – October 2020), following prolonged disruption to routine, in children diagnosed with ASD. Parents of autistic children completed 2 separate online surveys following the first lockdown in the UK (n = 176) and also when children returned to school following the summer break (n = 54).
Parent distraction with technology and child social competence during the COVID-19 pandemic: the role of parental emotional stability

AUTHOR(S)
Marina Merkaš; Katarina Perić; Ana Žulec

Published: June 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Communication
This study aimed to test the possible moderating role of parents’ emotional stability on the relationship between parent distraction with technology and child social competence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data used in the study were collected in May 2020 when extensive restrictive measures, labeled as lockdown, were present in Croatia. Data on technoference in parenting, parents’ problematic phone tendencies, and child social competence were collected using an online questionnaire from parents (n = 281) of children aged 3 to 14 years. The results show a significant negative effect of overall technoference in parenting on child social competence. This negative effect was significantly moderated by parents’ emotional stability, as expected. Medium and high levels of parents’ emotional stability buffer the negative effect of low technoference in parenting on child social competence. Results imply technoference in parenting negatively affects child development, but the emotional stability of parents can be a protective factor.
Bridging the gap: exploring the impact of hospital isolation on peer relationships among children and adolescents with a malignant brain tumor

AUTHOR(S)
Jami‑Leigh Sawyer; Faye Mishna; Eric Boufet (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Children and adolescents with complex medical conditions are often uprooted from their environments and isolated in hospital while undergoing treatment. Little is known about how they perceive this isolation and its subsequent impact on their relationships with peers, both during and after isolation for treatment. This study describes the experience of hospital isolation from the perspectives of children and adolescents with a malignant brain tumor. The use and impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a possible bridge for contact is also explored. Following a qualitative approach utilizing interpretive phenomenological analysis, in-depth interviews were conducted with eight youth participants who had undergone treatment for medulloblastoma. Data analysis generated three main themes: (1) transforming children and relationships, (2) hospitalization in a digital world, and (3) ICTs as a promising bridge back to school.
Young chinese children's remote peer interactions and social competence development during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Wenwei Luo; Ilene R. Berson; Michael J. Berson (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Journal of Research on Technology in Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way young children engage in peer communication. The aim of this study was to explore how young children engaged in peer interaction remotely by examining young children's multimodal interactions during the pandemic. Visual and audio data posted to Douyin (China's most popular live-streaming site) between January 23, 2020 and May 6, 2020 were collected and analyzed. Mediated discourse analysis was used to explore young children's remote interactions as captured on video recordings.
Family–school partnerships in the age of Covid-19: reasons for optimism amidst a global pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Chris Jones; Colin Forster

Published: May 2021   Journal: Contemporary Issues in Practitioner Education
This article reports on research undertaken in May and June 2020, during the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic when schools in England were still closed to the majority of children. The research sought to explore the impact of the so-called ‘lockdown’ on family–school partnerships. Research shows such partnerships make an important contribution to the effective education of children and young people, potentially leading to improved behaviour, engagement and learning outcomes. The study was conducted as a short online survey, circulated through social media and email, which invited teachers, school leaders and others working in primary and secondary schools to share their experiences of family–school partnership during this time. Analysis of the data showed that schools had made considerable efforts to maintain communication and support for all families, particularly those deemed ‘hard-to-reach’, and many participants reported that family–school partnerships had actually been strengthened through this testing period of time.
Consensually nonmonogamous parent relationships during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Melissa H. Manley; Abbie E. Goldberg

Published: May 2021   Journal: Sexualities
During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents in consensually nonmonogamous (CNM) relationships navigated public health directives to social distance and avoid contact between households. Many parents practicing CNM share romantic, sexual, and coparenting relationships across households, and the pandemic introduced challenges and opportunities for innovation in maintaining connection. This qualitative study sought to explore the experiences, challenges, and adaptations of CNM parents, using survey and interview data from 70 US parents collected between May and December 2020. Thematic analysis highlighted that many parents spent less time with non-cohabiting partners and more time with cohabiting partners and children, but also adapted via creative strategies such as incorporating partners into a quarantine pod, inviting partners to move in, or connecting over technology. These data illuminate the diverse ways that CNM parents engaged in and “queered” family and partner relationships during the pandemic.
Covid-19 in New Zealand and the Pacific: implications for children and families

AUTHOR(S)
Claire Freeman; Christina Ergler; Robin Kearns (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Children's Geographies
The experience of Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2020 has been strongly shaped by a narrative emanating from a robust partnership between politicians and public health experts. This narrative treads a careful line between hard and soft responses. To elaborate, enacting policy such as closing borders and requiring ‘lockdown’ was swift and firm but was accompanied by an attempt to develop a disposition of care and empathy towards the public. While there has been hardship for some families, the soft messaging has, we argue, led to aspects of the response that have been decidedly child-friendly. At the regional scale, border closures have impacted heavily on Pacific Island families, separating families as parents have been unable to return to their home islands and through the loss of economic opportunities associated with seasonal work and in local - often tourism dominated economies. In a COVID-era the future looks uncertain for children both within New Zealand and in the wider Pacific realm.
Risk communication & community engagement (RCCE) Somalia COVID-19 rapid assessment survey report
Institution: Save the Children
Published: December 2020

Save the Children Somalia conducted a rapid assessment covering the entirety of Somalia between the 13th to 16th of April, 2020. The findings of the assessment will inform the defining and prioritizing of the RCCE strategy and key communication and community engagement plan; including contextualized key messages tailored to circumstances of vulnerable communities, defining key actions/activities, and tailor and test materials. Ultimately, the exercise will increase the effectiveness of our communication activities and therefore the impact of the overall response. Furthermore, meaningful participatory engagement and adapting messages to the local context and audience is also proven to lead to stronger ownership, buy-in, and commitment, as well as maintaining/increasing access, and strengthening the organization’s integrity and reputation. 

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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.