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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Children and adolescents' positive youth development qualities and internet addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study in China

Zhuo Wang; Binxue Hong; Yanyan Zhang (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Recent studies have shown that the qualities of children and adolescents’ positive youth development (PYD) enable them to cope with developmental challenges in an adaptive manner and maintain healthy functioning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a lack of reporting on changes in children and adolescents’ PYD qualities and Internet addiction and their relationship. This study investigated the association between PYD qualities and Internet addiction among the children and adolescents who have experienced the COVID-19 lockdown. A school-based cohort survey was launched in December 2019 (Wave 1, before COVID-19 lockdown) and followed up in June 2020 (Wave 2, after COVID-19 lockdown). The Chinese PYD scale (80 items, scoring 80–480) and Young’s Internet addiction test (20 items, scoring 20–100) were used to evaluate the children and adolescents’ PYD qualities and the degree of their Internet addiction, respectively. Cross-sectional regressions, longitudinal regressions, and cross-lagged panel model were used to examine the association between PYD qualities and Internet addiction.

Neural selectivity for faces in human infants after pandemic lockdown

Tristan Yates; Cameron Ellis; Nicholas Turk-Browne

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Vision
The role of visual experience in the development of face processing has long been debated. Deprivation studies in non-human primates and studies of adults with congenital blindness have yielded mixed results. This study pursued a different angle on this question through a serendipitous study that can never be repeated. It relyed on a classic fMRI repetition suppression design from adult cognitive neuroscience to study the representation of facial identity in infants. Namely, the adult fusiform face area (FFA) tends to show reduced neural activity when the identity of a face is repeated compared to when a novel identity is presented, suggesting that beyond responding to faces, FFA can tell identities apart.
Transitioning a research protocol for videosomnography to assess sleep and nighttime caregiving activities in school-aged children with developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jiwon Lee; Patricia C. Clark; Regena Spratling

Published: November 2022   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Health Care

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected children with developmental disabilities (DDs)’ sleep. Videosom[1]nography is a noninvasive, portable time-lapse video recording sys[1]tem to objectively obtain a child’s sleep-wake behaviors and parents’ caregiving activities in a natural environment. From September 2020 to February 2021, a feasibility study was conducted using actigraphy (in mothers) and videosomnogra[1]phy in children with DDs for seven consecutive nights to assess sleep and nighttime caregiving activities. Because of the pandemic, alternative data collection strate[1]gies were developed and implemented, such as delivering a “study package” with easy-to-follow writ[1]ten instructions and emailed video-recorded instructions on recording a child’s sleep.

Is playing video games during COVID-19 lockdown related to adolescent well-being? The role of emotional self-efficacy and positive coping

Emanuela Calandri; Elena Cattelino; Federica Graziano

Published: November 2022   Journal: European Journal of Developmental Psychology
The relationship between adolescents’ use of video games and their well-being is controversial and largely unexplored during the COVID −19 pandemic. This study examined the association between adolescent video game use and well-being during a nationwide lockdown (March-May 2020) and investigated whether this association was mediated by emotional self-efficacy and moderated by positive coping. The study involved 168 Italian adolescents aged 14–19 years (M = 16.6 years, SD = 1.6). Data were collected through an anonymous online questionnaire. Moderated mediation analysis showed that playing video games was indirectly associated with lower health complaints and higher affective well-being by mediating emotional self-efficacy. In addition, positive coping was found to moderate the relationship between video game use and emotional self-efficacy.
Adolescent resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic: a review of the impact of the pandemic on developmental milestones

Erica R. Garagiola; Queenie Lam; Louise S. Wachsmuth (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Behavioral Sciences
This review explores the literature regarding the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the navigation of developmental milestones among adolescents, specifically those in late adolescence, across several domains of their lives. The exploration is contextualized globally, focusing on five key areas: mental health, physical health, education, peer relationships, and family relationships. Implications for practice and interventions are explored in each key area to provide recommendations for those working with adolescents, as well as future research. The changes brought about by the pandemic and the readjustment to what some have referred to as the “new normalcy” will undoubtedly have lasting effects on all areas of life for this cohort of adolescents, who have shown remarkable resilience navigating this new and unfamiliar world.
The impact of screen time and mobile dependency on cognition, socialization and behaviour among early childhood students during the Covid pandemic- perception of the parents

Joseph Genimon Vadakkemulanjanal; Thomas M. Agnes; Elizabeth Sneha (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Digital Education
Digital technology systems are adopted rapidly throughout the globe for the virtual learning process especially with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital screen-based gadgets are integrated to provide a seamless interactive medium of learning even before the initiation of formal education. Studies on the technology use of younger children are critical as uncontrolled gadget use affects their developmental stages yet these studies are still in the infancy stage. This study analyses the psychoeducational impact of extended use of digital gadgets and mobile dependency on early childhood manifested through their cognition, socialization and behaviour. This descriptive study is based on the random responses of 511 parents about their young children of 3-6 years distributed at five civil districts of Kerala State.
TV, computer, tablet and smartphone use and autism spectrum disorder risk in early childhood: a nationally-representative study

Maria Melchior; Katharine Barry; David Cohen (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

Screen media use in early childhood has largely increased in recent years, even more so during the COVID-19 epidemic, and there is much discussion regarding its influence on neurodevelopment, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study examined the relationship between use of TV, computer, tablet and smartphone at age 2 years and risk of ASD assessed in telephone-based questionnaires among 12,950 children participating in the nationally representative ELFE (‘Etude Longitudinale Française sur les Enfants’) birth cohort study in France.

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

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.
The role of family support and conflict in cyberbullying and subjective well-being among Chilean Adolescents during the Covid-19 period

Matías E. Rodriguez-Rivas; Jorge J. Varela; Constanza González (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Heliyon

Life satisfaction plays a crucial role in integral development and mental health during childhood and adolescence. Recently, it has been shown that cyberbullying has severe consequences for the mental health and wellbeing of victims such as increased anxiety, depressive symptoms and even suicide risk. Although the role of the family in life satisfaction and cyberbullying behaviors has been studied, there is limited information on its impacts during the current pandemic period. The aim of this study is to determine the role of family variables regarding students' levels of life satisfaction and cyberbullying victimization during the pandemic period.

The developmental appropriateness of digital games and its impact on young children’s enjoyment and playtime

Lucrezia Crescenzi-Lanna

Published: April 2022   Journal: International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the provision and downloading of educational apps for children have both increased. This paper reports the results of an extensive literature review of the age-rating systems of digital content (audiovisual and games) used around the world and demonstrates the weakness of those instruments that prove ineffective in choosing digital content for children. Age-rating systems are arbitrary and only focus on explicit content that is considered harmful to preschool children. The paper proposes an alternative model of app analysis based on child development. The main objective of the research is to determine the developmental appropriateness of apps for young children and its effects on children’s responses through a content analysis of 318 apps and a test of a subset of them (N=25) with a sample of 53 children aged 3–5. To this end, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis is used to extract a composite index of the apps’ developmental appropriateness, which was used to specify a path analysis. The results show that developmental appropriateness is associated with the highest positive ratings by children and, indirectly, with play time.
A pediatrician’s guide to working with children on the autism spectrum in COVID-19 and beyond: retrospect and prospect

Thusa Sabapathy; Megan Goss; Jessie Borelli (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Advances in Pediatrics
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event with observable consequences and devastating effects on children and families. This global occurrence highlighted and broadened gaps and disparities in the care of children with developmental disabilities, while simultaneously catalyzing innovation. Initially not seen as direct victims of the disease, children are inherently vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, resulting in increased stress, anxiety, isolation, and health challenges. The impact is further amplified in autistic children and children with other neurodevelopmental considerations. These children are uniquely vulnerable due to communication impairments, comorbid medical disorders, poor adaptability and reliance on therapeutic interventions. Abrupt reduction in services and access to care during the pandemic led to compromised physical and mental health and missed opportunities for intervention at critical times which may have profound consequences further down the road. There are, however, bright spots in this story, as many autistic children demonstrated resilience in their abilities to adapt to these challenges. It is important to examine the effects that the pandemic triggered, address deficiencies and recognize new opportunities to improve systems of care to prepare for unforeseen futures. This review article outlines the impacts of the first year and a half of the pandemic on autistic children and provides tools for professionals, recognizing the ever- evolving nature of the situation.
COVID-19 pandemic impacts on children with developmental disabilities: service disruption, transition to telehealth, and child wellbeing

Saijun Zhang; Ying Hao; Yali Feng (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial service disruption and transition from in-person services to telehealth for children with developmental disabilities. However, there is limited knowledge about the specific dimensions and consequences of the disruption and transition. This study aims to examine the extent of service disruption and transition, the experiences of client children and their caregivers with telehealth vis-à-vis in-person services, and the impacts of the disruption and transition on child wellbeing. The cross-sectional study collected data from parents of children with developmental disabilities using an online survey. McNemar’s tests were used to compare service changes before and after the pandemic outbreak, and multivariate analyses were used to examine how service changes were associated with child wellbeing.
Early experience unpredictability in child development as a model for understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: a translational neuroscience perspective

Sihong Liu; Philip A. Fisher

Published: March 2022   Journal: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Extensive evidence links adverse experiences during childhood to a wide range of negative consequences in biological, socioemotional, and cognitive development. Unpredictability is a core element underlying most forms of early adversity; it has been a focus of developmental research for many years and has been receiving increasing attention recently. This article proposes a conceptual model to describe how unpredictable and adverse early experiences affect children’s neurobiological, behavioral, and psychological development in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sleep and media use among children with neurodevelopmental disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tanaporn Jasmine Wilaisakditipakorn; Carolyn E. Ievers-Landis; Sindhoosha Malay (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Children's Health Care
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders commonly have sleep problems and higher screen time compared with their typically developing peers. Relationships of their media use to sleep are unknown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy-five caregivers/parents of children ages 5–12 years with neurodevelopmental disorders completed surveys during the pandemic, reporting average child media use of 3.35 hours/day (SD = 0.36) and sleep duration of 9.22 hours (SD = 1.27). Media use duration was not significantly related to any sleep outcomes in the total sample. Unexpectedly, in subgroup analyses with COVID-19 exposure/distress variables, greater media use duration significantly related to less sleep-related impairment (p = .012) and disturbance (p = .0004). Clinical implications are that media use/sleep plans should be individually tailored for these at-risk children.
Experiences in Performing Online Developmental Evaluations of Children From the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gail S. Ross; Jeffrey M. Perlman

Published: November 2021   Journal: Clinical Pediatrics
The Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has created a major shift from onsite examination evaluations in all but the most critical cases to telemedicine visits via secure online portals. The ability to track graduates of neonatal intensive care who are at increased risk for developmental deficits is essential in order to provide early targeted interventions. Thus, there was a critical need to adapt in situ cognitive, language and behavior evaluations of these children to an online testing model that could provide reliable findings, particularly in identifying children with apparent or obvious developmental issues. This brief report describes the effort to develop online assessments of cognitive and language development of high-risk infants at 18 months post-conceptual age, 3 years and 6 years old.
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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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