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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Physical activity and screen time of children and adolescents before and during the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany: a natural experiment

AUTHOR(S)
Steffen C. E. Schmidt; Bastian Anedda; Alexander Burchartz (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: Scientific Reports
The impact of COVID-19 on social life has been drastic and global. However, the different numbers of cases and different actions in different countries have been leading to various interesting yet unexplored effects on human behavior. In the present study, we compare the physical activity and recreational screen time of a representative sample of 1711 4- to 17-year-olds before and during the strictest time of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Germany. We found that sports activity declined whereas recreational screen time increased. However, a substantial increase in habitual physical activities leads to an overall increase in physical activity among children and adolescents in Germany. The effects differ in size but not in their direction between age groups and are stable for boys and girls. We conclude from this natural experiment that physical activity among children and adolescents is highly context-driven and mutual and does not act as a functional opposite to recreational screen time.
Lessons for child–computer interaction studies following the research challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Natalia Kucirkova; Cecilie Evertsen-Stanghelle; Ingunn Studsrød (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been experienced differently in and within individual countries and thus has had a different impact on the individual researchers in the child–computer interaction studies. There were several challenges that our research group experienced during the pandemic period, with a rapid transition to digital working conditions and a society managing altered living conditions. The changes happened on all levels of the society, and they affected our key participants — children, teachers, designers of children’s digital books and publishers. In this Viewpoint article the lessons learnt from the changes in our study designs and data collection processes due to lockdown and other restrictions related to the pandemic have been highlighted.
Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020

Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.

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How many children and young people have internet access at home? Estimating digital connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic
2.2 billion children and young people aged 25 years or less do not have internet access at home, according to the How Many Children and Youth Have Internet Access at Home report, a joint effort by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Using the latest available household survey data, the report finds significant inequities between countries, regions, wealth groups and urban-rural settings. For example, only 5 per cent of children and young people in West and Central Africa have internet access at home compared to the 33 per cent global average. Differences are starker yet between rich and poor countries, with only 6 per cent of children and young people in low-income countries having internet access compared to 87 per cent in high-income countries.

Significantly expanding internet access is vital for ensuring that all children and young people are learning and acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to support a sustainable future. To this end, UNICEF has joined forces with ITU to launch Giga, an ambitious global initiative to connect every school to the internet. With the support of Generation Unlimited, UNICEF is also working under the Reimagine Education initiative, which aims to address the learning crisis and transform education by giving children and young people equal access to quality digital learning.
Digital literacy as a condition for positive experience of the COVID-19 lockdown for families with preschool children

AUTHOR(S)
G. V. Pavlenko; A. I. Pavlenko

Published: November 2020   Journal: Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research
Today the COVID-19 pandemic consequences for the preschool education system is one of the most popular research topics, as the lockdown led to serious disruptions to the usual way of family life that is a key condition for the normal development of a child. In Russia, a typical reaction of the authorities to the pandemic was the massive closure of childcare enterprises, that gave many families an additional burden in the form of the task of mastering the preschool education program. In this situation, digital technologies are of particular importance for the successful organization of preschool education in the family and the preservation of an emotionally positive tone in the family, according to the authors of this paper, the educational potential of which depends on how much the preschool child and his family are involved in them. Based on the results of the study, the authors conclude that digital literacy of family members is one of the conditions for a positive experience of the COVID-19 lockdown for families with preschool children.
Worry and permissive parenting in association with the development of internet addiction in children

AUTHOR(S)
Barbara Chuen Yee Lo; Romance Nok Man Lai; Ting Kin Ng (et al.)

Published: November 2020   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The recent COVID-19 pandemic and the preventive measures has led to increased use of the Internet in the daily lives of children. Therefore, Internet addiction has become an increasingly important public health issue worldwide. More than 90% of Hong Kong’s citizens use the Internet, and 70% of children in the age group of 6–17 years have daily access to it. However, internet addiction could pose serious social and health issues. The current study examined the relationship between worry and Internet addiction among children in Hong Kong and investigated the moderating effect of the permissive parenting style on such a relationship. 
The dark side of the web: a risk for children and adolescents challenged by isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Pietro Ferrara; Giulia Franceschini; Giovanni Corsello (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: The Journal of Pediatrics

Children and adolescents who experience a prolonged state of physical isolation during COVID-19 may look for alternative, attractive or unconventional forms of socialization, available in the web world. This may expose them to the risks of unsupervised cyberspace exploration beyond the open web, which may lead them to areas that are usually not available to visitors. They may pass the gates of the “open” and “deep web” sections and enter into the dangerous “dark web” zones, which predominantly host unethical and criminal activities. In those shadowy corners of the worldwide web, there exist dangers ranging from identity theft and drug trade to suicide chat-rooms and child pornography. This commentary, authored by EPA-UNEPSA members of the working group on social pediatrics, briefly discusses the features of the dark web and its implications for children and adolescents. The aim is to raise awareness of pediatricians and families on the growing risk of child exploitation through the web, at a time when vulnerable young people face home lockdowns with potential abusers intruding on their privacy.

Internet addiction and related psychological factors among children and adolescents in China during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic

AUTHOR(S)
Huixi Dong; Fangru Yang; Xiaozi Lu (et al.)

Published: September 2020   Journal: Fronrtiers in Psychiatry

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease presenting a major threat to public health. This study aims to assess Internet use characteristics and objectively examine the potential psychological factors associated with Internet addiction (IA) during the COVID-19 epidemic. A cross-sectional, anonymized, self-reported survey was conducted among Chinese children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 years old. Participants completed questionnaires containing Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21), and questions regarding demographic information and Internet use characteristics.

Evidence from Google Trends of a widening second-level digital divide in Brazil

AUTHOR(S)
Renato P. Dos Santos; M. Şahin Bülbül; Isadora Lemes

Published: September 2020   Journal: Acta scientiae

This study investigates the impact of the increasing home and mobile Internet access on the existing educational inequalities. This digital divide was critically exacerbated by the arrival of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of presential classes. Brazilian policymakers should concentrate efforts and resources in addressing this large-scale second-level digital divide, possibly by equipping educators and students with the knowledge and skills towards the educational, productive and responsible use of the Internet, as well as allowing mobile Internet access in school premises.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 22 | Issue: 4 | No. of pages: 121-153 | Language: Portuguese | Topics: Education | Tags: educational policy, internet | Countries: Brazil
Elementary and secondary school children: vulnerabilities of online learning

AUTHOR(S)
Jolan Marchese

Published: August 2020
Since December 2019, countries around the world have borne the impact of a virus that has altered the way that we do business, interact socially and receive our education. While COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact upon the world, it has also lead to a more in-depth look at the education of our children from elementary school up to secondary school. Cybersecurity is an issue for everyone, but children are a particularly vulnerable population because many are raised playing with a cellphone or a tablet and have not truly learned about the dangers involved with accessing the Internet. Instead, it’s a play area for children as they watch YouTube videos or even access social media with or without their parent’s consent.
The intensive use of the internet by children and adolescents in the context of COVID-19 and the risks for self-inflicted violence

AUTHOR(S)
Suely Ferreira Deslandes; Tiago Coutinho

Published: June 2020   Journal: Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
This essay aimed to discuss the implications of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the intensive use of the internet among children and adolescents and its possible consequences for the practice of self-inflicted violence. It briefly discussed the anxiogenic potential and the reproduction of a “global fear” that are consolidated with the massive and unmediated exposure of the content consumed, which can increase the vulnerabilities to stress and suicidal ideas. The debate has been centered on “recreational” practices, called “challenges” with self-harm power, carried out by teenagers on the YouTube website. This practice has been shown to increase with the social isolation measures. Our reflection on these risks builds on the theoretical perspective of digital sociability, and its implications for the internet-mediated interactions of adolescents.
O uso intensivo da internet por crianças e adolescentes no contexto da COVID-19 e os riscos para violências autoinflingidas

AUTHOR(S)
Suely Ferreira Deslandes; Tiago Coutinho

Published: June 2020   Journal: Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
This article aimed to discuss the implications of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the intensive use of the internet among children and adolescents and its possible consequences for the practice of self-inflicted violence. We briefly discussed the anxiogenic potential and the reproduction of a “global fear” that are consolidated with the massive and unmediated exposure of the content consumed, which can increase the vulnerabilities to stress and suicidal ideas. We centered our debate on “recreational” practices, called “challenges” with self-harm power, carried out by teenagers on the YouTube website. This practice has been shown to increase with the social isolation measures. Our reflection on these risks builds on the theoretical perspective of digital sociability, and its implications for the internet-mediated interactions of adolescents.
Response to children’s physical and mental needs during the COVID-19 outbreak

AUTHOR(S)
Xiao-Bo Zhang; Yong-Hao Gui; Xiu Xu (et al.)

Published: May 2020   Journal: World Journal of Pediatrics
School closure and stay-at-home, as a part of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI), have been implemented in China since February as an effective way to mitigate the spread of the virus during the COVID-19 outbreak. As concerns rose over the potential impacts of such NPI measures on children’s health, such as longer exposure to digital screens, irregular sleep pattern, weight gain, and loss of cardiorespiratory fitness [1], the Chinese Government, experts on public health, educators on school health, and teachers have been making joint and massive efforts to provide distance learning with well-organized online courses to help.
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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.