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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Health information and education needs for youth with complex communication needs during the Covid-19 pandemic: rehabilitation professionals’ perspectives

AUTHOR(S)
Kerstin Monika Tönsing; Shakila Dada; Kirsty Bastable (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Disability and Rehabilitation

The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted inequities faced by persons with complex communication needs (CCN) in accessing health information and education. This study reports on the perspectives of South African rehabilitation professionals regarding access to health information and education for youth with CCN. Two asynchronous online written focus groups were conducted with 15 rehabilitation professionals. Participants’ contributions were thematically analysed.

Children and adolescents' ingroup biases and developmental differences in evaluations of peers Who misinform

AUTHOR(S)
Aqsa Farooq; Eirini Ketzitzidou Argyri; Anna Adlam (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Previous developmental research shows that young children display a preference for ingroup members when it comes to who they accept information from – even when that information is false. However, it is not clear how this ingroup bias develops into adolescence, and how it affects responses about peers who misinform in intergroup contexts, which is important to explore with growing numbers of young people on online platforms. Given that the developmental span from childhood to adolescence is when social groups and group norms are particularly important, the present study took a Social Reasoning Developmental Approach. This study explored whether children and adolescents respond differently to a misinformer spreading false claims about a peer breaking COVID-19 rules, depending on (a) the group membership of the misinformer and their target and (b) whether the ingroup had a “critical” norm that values questioning information before believing it.
"It's hard to keep a distance when you're with someone you really care about"—A qualitative study of adolescents' pandemic-related health literacy and how Covid-19 affects their lives

AUTHOR(S)
Kirsti Riiser; Kåre Rønn Richardsen; Kristin Haraldstad (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Plos One

The aim of this study was to explore how adolescents accessed, understood, appraised, and applied information on pandemic preventive measures, how their lives were impacted by long-lasting regulations and how they described their quality of life. A qualitative design with focus group interviews was used to elaborate on the quantitative survey results obtained and analyzed in a previous survey study from the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. Five focus groups with seventeen adolescents were conducted digitally during the second pandemic phase in November and December 2020. The interview data were analyzed with directed content analysis.

Super-spreaders or victims of circumstance? Childhood in Canadian media reporting of the COVID-19 pandemic: a critical content analysis

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Ciotti; Shannon A. Moore; Maureen Connolly (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Healthcare
This qualitative research study, a critical content analysis, explores Canadian media reporting of childhood in Canada during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Popular media plays an important role in representing and perpetuating the dominant social discourse in highly literate societies. In Canadian media, the effects of the pandemic on children and adolescents’ health and wellbeing are overshadowed by discussions of the potential risk they pose to adults. The results of this empirical research highlight how young people in Canada have been uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Two dominant narratives emerged from the data: children were presented “as a risk” to vulnerable persons and older adults and “at risk” of adverse health outcomes from contracting COVID-19 and from pandemic lockdown restrictions. This reflects how childhood was constructed in Canadian society during the pandemic, particularly how children’s experiences are described in relation to adults. Throughout the pandemic, media reports emphasized the role of young people’s compliance with public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of older persons.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 10 | Issue: 1 | No. of pages: 10 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: child health, communication, COVID-19 response, disease control, information, lockdown, media, social distance | Countries: Canada
The impact of a messaging intervention on parents’ school hesitancy during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Morgan S. Polikoff; Daniel Silver; Marshall Garland (et al.)

Published: January 2022
During the 2020-21 school year, families' access to--and desire to participate in--in-person schooling was highly stratified along racial and income lines. Research to date suggests that "school hesitancy" was driven by concerns about "fit" and safety, as well as simple access to in-person opportunities. In the context of a nationally-representative survey study, we tested the impact of targeted messaging on parents' reported willingness to send their children back for in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year. This study's results suggest that specific messages focused on either fit or safety issues outperform generic messages--they substantially increase the reported likelihood for previously-unsure parents to send their children back for in-person learning (while having no effect on parents who already reported they would or would not send their children back). The results have direct implications for education agencies seeking to address school hesitancy as the pandemic continues.
Knowledge and perception of middle school students regarding COVID-19 disease at the start of the pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Maria Manuel Azevedo; Elisa Saraiva; Fátima Baltazar

Published: January 2022   Journal: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Facing recent threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an educational strategy was designed and applied to middle school students in order to reinforce related knowledge and behaviors. A group of 65 middle school students (14–18 years old) developed several designed online curricular activities. After the intervention, students answered a questionnaire to assess if they: (a) were familiar with the terms COVID 19 and SARS-CoV-2; (b) were conscious about the importance of preventive measures to stop the spread of this disease; (c) were engaged in these activities; (d) were motivated to research on health-related issues. This study was a first to attempt to evaluate student's perceptions about SARS-CoV-2 infection and support education regarding COVID-19, mainly on the reinforcement of preventive measures.
‘I already know about it, I’ve been watching the Daily News and updates’: teenagers’ questions about the scientific and social aspects of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Jenny Byrne; Alison Marston; Marcus Grace (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Biological Education
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surfeit of information and misinformation in the media about it. The lockdown in England meant that schools were closed from March to June, meaning that students had limited access, in school, to ask questions and discuss the biology of the novel virus (SARS-CoV-2) or the impact of the pandemic on themselves, their families and friends. In this small-scale exploratory study, we decided to ask students (15–16-year-olds) on their return to school in June 2020 and in September 2020, what they wanted to know about COVID-19. Findings show that their questions were similar at both time points, indicating that students wanted to know the same things. This suggests that despite the high volume of information available in the media, some of the students’ questions had not been answered or that sources of information were confused and at times contradictory. Interestingly, the questions they asked were based on reliable sources of news rather than fake news, and this finding seems to contradict the literature that indicates young people are prone to believing misinformation. The implications for teaching and learning about COVID-19, and other zoonotic diseases as socio-scientific issues are discussed.
Breastfeeding media coverage and beliefs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico: implications for breastfeeding equity

AUTHOR(S)
M. Vilar-Compte; P. Gaitán-Rossi; E. C. Rhodes (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health
Because breastfeeding offers short- and long- term health benefits to mothers and children, breastfeeding promotion and support is a public health priority. Evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not likely to be transmitted via breastmilk. Moreover, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are thought to be contained in breastmilk of mothers with history of COVID-19 infection or vaccination. WHO recommends direct breastfeeding as the preferred infant feeding option during the COVID-19 pandemic, even among women with COVID-19; but conflicting practices have been adopted, which could widen existing inequities in breastfeeding. This study aims to describe how information about breastfeeding was communicated in Mexican media during the pandemic and assess Mexican adults’ beliefs regarding breastfeeding among mothers infected with COVID-19.
Misinformation warnings: Twitter’s soft moderation effects on COVID-19 vaccine belief echoes

AUTHOR(S)
Filipo Sharevski; Raniem Alsaadi; Peter Jachim (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Computers & Security
Twitter, prompted by the rapid spread of alternative narratives, started actively warning users about the spread of COVID-19 misinformation. This form of soft moderation comes in two forms: as an interstitial cover before the Tweet is displayed to the user or as a contextual tag displayed below the Tweet. This is a 319-participants study with both verified and misleading Tweets covered or tagged with the COVID-19 misinformation warnings to investigate how Twitter users perceive the accuracy of COVID-19 vaccine content on Twitter. The results suggest that the interstitial covers work, but not the contextual tags, in reducing the perceived accuracy of COVID-19 misinformation.
Community rapid assessment on COVID-19 end line report: behavioural findings and insights from 8 Eastern and Southern African countries
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: November 2021

The UNICEF Evaluation Office, in collaboration with Communication for Development (C4D) section in the UNICEF Programme Group and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, developed the Community Rapid Assessment (CRA) exercise as a way to measure the protective practices, health-seeking behaviours, coping strategies and emerging needs of individuals and households in relation to COVID-19. The primary objective was to provide UNICEF country offices valuable data to strengthen the evidence base and inform country-level programming in response to the pandemic. The CRA is also intended to contribute to UNICEF’s overall analytical agenda on COVID in an effort to better position this type work in the overall corporate efforts. Its findings have thus far provided a rich and much-needed picture of the behavioural component of the outbreak at the individual and community levels. In making use of time-series data – that is, the longitudinal data repeatedly captured over several waves of data collection – the CRA has also provided further opportunities to examine country- and region-specific trends over time. And because the CRA is a real-time exercise, analysis, visualization and interpretation of findings are already being used in several country-level fora to guide program changes. The long-term vision is to embed capacity for similar surveys within government data systems at the country level. This report presents early findings and insights from eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa – namely Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda.

A peer-based educational intervention effects on SARS-CoV-2 knowledge and attitudes among Polish high-school students

AUTHOR(S)
Maria Ganczak; Oskar Pasek; Łukasz Duda-Duma (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
To support high school students to develop knowledge they need to adhere to control measures during the pandemic, a peer-based educational intervention on SARS-CoV-2 was developed and its impact was evaluated. Multistage random sampling was used. The 50 min peer-based intervention was conducted by final year medical students. Baseline and post-intervention knowledge and attitudes were assessed. Significance was tested by McNemar’s/Wilcoxon rank tests. Of 518 participants (mean age 17.8 years ± 0.43), 81.0% did not receive any school-based education on SARS-CoV-2. After intervention, the knowledge score improved from 65.2% to 81.6%, attitudes from 63.2% to 70.8% (both p < 0.0001). The effect size after the intervention compared to pre-intervention showed moderate improvement of knowledge, but not attitudes (d = 0.46 and d = 0.18, respectively). Pre- and post-intervention, females, students in non-science programs, living in cities < 250,000 inhabitants had lower knowledge, while fewer males, non-science program students, living in smaller cities presented positive attitudes. Before intervention, 67.0% students correctly named SARS-CoV-2 preventive methods and 73.6% were concerned COVID-19 is a serious disease; these improved after intervention (to 80.1% and 86.3%; p < 0.0001). The intervention was not very successful in increasing the intent to vaccinate for COVID-19 (pre-intervention 52.9%, post-intervention 56.4%; p < 0.007). Peer-based teaching for high school students can be effective in increasing SARS-CoV-2 knowledge and awareness.
Assessing adolescents’ critical health literacy: how is trust in government leadership associated with knowledge of COVID-19?

AUTHOR(S)
Channing J. Mathews; Luke McGuire; Angelina Joy (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Plos One
This study explored relations between COVID-19 news source, trust in COVID-19 information source, and COVID-19 health literacy in 194 STEM-oriented adolescents and young adults from the US and the UK. Analyses suggest that adolescents use both traditional news (e.g., TV or newspapers) and social media news to acquire information about COVID-19 and have average levels of COVID-19 health literacy. Hierarchical linear regression analyses suggest that the association between traditional news media and COVID-19 health literacy depends on participants’ level of trust in their government leader.
How children in Sweden accessed and perceived information during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Lise-Lott Rydström; Charlotte Ångström-Brännström; Lucy Blake (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health

This study aims to describe how children in Sweden accessed and perceived information about SARS-CoV2 and Covid-19 during the first phase of the outbreak. This study is a substudy of an international cross-sectional online mixed methods survey examining elements of children’s health literacy in relation to Covid-19. The survey included multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions and drawings and collected information from 50 Swedish children (7–12 years). Data were analysed concurrently on a descriptive level using statistics and content analysis. Quantitative and qualitative data, including the drawings, were considered equally important and resulted in six categories, illuminating how children accessed and perceived information about the pandemic.

Tackling the infodemic using conversational insights: case study of UNICEF response in MENA
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

Due to numerous socio-economic and cultural factors, the infodemic surrounding COVID-19 in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) hindered efforts towards curbing the spread of the disease which ulti[1]mately could have saved lives. International organizations such as UNICEF, WHO, and the International Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have all worked alongside local governments and stakeholders to ensure the public had access to accurate and reliable information about the efficacy of vaccines and public health and social measures. The case study at hand considers how conversational insights contributed to fighting the infodemic around COVID-19 in the MENA region. To this end, UNICEF MENA Regional Office is actively leveraging conver[1]sational data to combat the spread of vaccine misinformation, which ultimately helps the equitable distribution of vaccines and limits vaccine hesitancy. In an unexpected year of crisis, society turned to the media and entertainment. Combating misinformation is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to track. By showcasing how UNICEF in combating misinformation in MENA, it is clear that social listening and social media monitoring data must be accompanied by a robust plan that is holistic and data-driven. This case study also highlights the importance of putting empathy at the core of your strategy. Listening to people’s needs and understanding their concerns enables teams to resonate with the public’s sentiment.


Needs assessment for physical activity information during COVID-19 among a nationally representative sample of parents and children ages 6–17 in the United States: a cross-sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Ashleigh M. Johnson; Emily Kroshus; Pooja S. Tandon

Published: October 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic presented novel barriers to youth physical activity engagement. Identifying what resources parents and children are interested in receiving can support efforts to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on youth physical activity behavior. This study aimed to identify physical activity-related information needs during the COVID-19 pandemic among a nationally representative sample of American parents of children 6–10 years-old and parent-child dyads of children 11–17 years-old. A cross-sectional survey was conducted by a market research company in October–November 2020. Parents and children were asked about their interest in specific types of information about helping their family and themselves, respectively, be active (Yes/No). Weighted percentages were calculated for reported information needs and compared using two-sample test of proportions.

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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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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

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.