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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 46
'We can play tag with a stick'. Children's knowledge, experiences, feelings and creative thinking during the COVID‐19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Nwakerendu Waboso; Laurel Donison; Rebecca Raby (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Children & Society
Using a relational approach, this study draws on repeated interviews with a group of 30 diverse children from Ontario to share and reflect on their knowledge, experiences and feelings early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Prioritising relational interdependence and relational agency, this paper illustrates our participants' embedded engagements with the pandemic and their contribution to the co-production of knowledge. It emphasises their thoughtful responses to the pandemic; their creative, self-reflexive strategies for managing a difficult time; and their advice to others. It thus prioritises children's viewpoints and emphasises their relational interconnections with others during a time that was marked by social isolation.
‘We can play tag with a stick’. Children's knowledge, experiences, feelings and creative thinking during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Nwakerendu Waboso; Laurel Donison; Rebecca Raby (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Children & Society
Using a relational approach, this study draws on repeated interviews with a group of 30 diverse children from Ontario to share and reflect on their knowledge, experiences and feelings early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Prioritising relational interdependence and relational agency, this paper illustrates our participants' embedded engagements with the pandemic and their contribution to the co-production of knowledge. It emphasises their thoughtful responses to the pandemic; their creative, self-reflexive strategies for managing a difficult time; and their advice to others. It thus prioritises children's viewpoints and emphasises their relational interconnections with others during a time that was marked by social isolation.
Playing through crisis: lessons from COVID-19 on play as a fundamental right of the child

AUTHOR(S)
Theresa Casey; John H. McKendrick

Published: April 2022   Journal: The International Journal of Human Rights
In its COVID-19 Statement of April 2020, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that States Parties explore alternative and creative solutions for children to enjoy their rights to rest, leisure, recreation, and cultural and artistic activities – rights, which along with the right to play, are encompassed in Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This paper reflects on play in times of crisis, giving particular focus to the experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three narratives of play and crisis are introduced – play in crisis; the threat to play in times of crisis; and play as a remedy to crisis. Progressive responses to support play during COVID-19 are appraised. Against a backdrop of innovation and a stimulus to research in play, concerns persist that children’s right to play is not foregrounded, and that the ‘everydayness of play’ is not adequately facilitated.
Teacher experiences of facilitating play in early childhood classrooms during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Christina O’Keeffe; Sinead McNally

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
he COVID-19 pandemic posed major challenges for the lives of children in terms of school closures, loss of routine, reduced social contact, bereavement and trauma. The pandemic also gave rise to a focus on play as a fundamental support for children’s wellbeing. This study examined early childhood teachers’ reported practices of using play upon returning to school in Ireland after lockdown restrictions which included a 6-month period of school closures. Building on previous research on play in early childhood education during the early stages of the pandemic, 12 primary school teachers in early childhood classrooms (children aged 3–8 years) participated in focus groups aimed at exploring teachers’ experiences of using play upon returning to in-class teaching. Through reflexive thematic analysis of the focus groups, four themes were identified that encapsulated teachers’ experiences: play in the classroom embodied similar characteristics and qualities during COVID-19 as before the pandemic; play was considered a priority in early childhood education classrooms; teachers planned carefully for facilitating play in the classroom in response to COVID-19 regulations; teachers’ noted the importance of the social and relational components of play for children in the context of COVID-19 regulations.
Navigating play in a pandemic: examining children’s outdoor neighborhood play experiences

AUTHOR(S)
Cassie J. Brownell

Published: March 2022   Journal: International Journal of Play
Much research about children's play as a tool for navigating social worlds and difficult circumstances describes individuals or small groups of children playing synchronously, frequently in school or lab settings. Fewer studies consider the possibilities of asynchronous outdoor play, the topic of this paper. Drawing from a series of photographs generated in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the author describes children's outdoor play in a Canadian urban neighborhood. Adapting elements of narrative inquiry, she highlights how elements of play lingered on the sidewalk for others not just to see but also to play with. Specifically, she outlines instances of play that occurred with what she terms an ‘anonymous other.’ The author theorizes how‐amidst COVID-19 and sustained social/physical distancing‐play shifted in unexpected ways. Ultimately, she forwards new understandings about the intersection of play with materials, environments, and persons for consideration by scholars, caretakers, urban planners, and policymakers.
Play in the time of pandemic: children’s agency and lost learning

AUTHOR(S)
Sue Rogers

Published: March 2022   Journal: Education 3-13
Children, their families and teachers are working and playing in the context of ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. During successive lockdowns, restrictions on domestic spaces to play, social distancing and homeschooling have impacted in diverse ways on children’s access to play. Additionally, the ways in which the pandemic has both exacerbated and uncovered inequality has led to the concept of ‘lost learning’. While it is important to understand how children have been affected by school and closures, little attention has been paid by policymakers to children’s lost opportunities for play. The article reviews the literature to date. It argues for a renewed appreciation of the importance of children’s agency and play, which it is argued could also play a significant positive role in our journey back from the effects of the pandemic.
Playful learning during the reopening of Danish schools after Covid 19 closures

AUTHOR(S)
A. Qvortrup; R. Lomholt; V. Christensen (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research
This article is based on qualitative and quantitative data collected from teachers and pupils in Danish schools in June 2020, as schools reopened following closures in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It investigates the transformations in school life that took place in this period in response to strict official guidelines to prevent the spread of infection, transformations both in school learning environments and in teaching activities. Using factor and cluster analyses and logistic regression, it explores the relation between teaching environment and pupils’ emotional, social, and academic wellbeing, identifying correlations between key factors in the environment and the three dimensions of wellbeing. The study contributes both to understanding and dealing with the crisis in which education systems in the Nordic countries have found themselves in and adds relevant knowledge on themes of importance for education in the future.
Increased gaming during COVID-19 predicts physical inactivity among youth in Norway: a two-wave longitudinal cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Ellen Haug; Silje Mæland; Stine Lehmann (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health

This paper aimed to examine the stability and change in internet and offline gaming and the association with physical inactivity among adolescents in Norway during the pandemic. A total of 2940 youth (58% girls) aged 12–19 years participated in an online longitudinal two-wave survey during the first Norwegian national lockdown in April 2020 (t1) and in December 2020 (t2). Gaming behavior and physical activity status were assessed at both time points. Age, gender, and socioeconomic status were included as covariates.

Wellbeing, coping with homeschooling, and leisure behavior at different COVID-19-related lockdowns: a longitudinal study in 9- to 16-year-old German children

AUTHOR(S)
Tanja Poulain; Christof Meigen; Wieland Kiess (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: JCPP Advances

School closures are an effective measure against the spread of Covid-19. However, they pose a major challenge to children, especially to those from socially disadvantaged families. The present study compared the wellbeing, coping with homeschooling, and leisure behavior of children and adolescents at two different periods of school closures in Germany. Wellbeing was also compared with wellbeing before the pandemic. Within the framework of the cohort study LIFE Child, 152 9- to 16-year-old children completed online surveys on wellbeing (KIDSCREEN-27 scales on physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and peer and social support), coping with homeschooling (concentration, motivation, fun, mastering of schoolwork, fear of bad marks), and leisure behavior (TV time, computer gaming time, indoor physical activity) during two COVID-19-related lockdowns in March 2020 (t1) and in January 2021 (t2). Data from both time points were compared using mixed-effect models. Wellbeing was additionally compared with the wellbeing in 2019, before COVID-19 (t0). We also assessed the effects of the socio-economic status (SES) on all outcomes and changes between time points.

Gaming and social media use among adolescents in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Anders Nilsson; Ingvar Rosendahl; Nitya Jayaram-Lindström

Published: February 2022   Journal: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed life circumstances for adolescents worldwide. With schools being closed and regular activities being cancelled, gaming and social media use are activities that might gain in importance. There is a risk that these online behaviours have negative effects on other important activities, such as being physically active, sleeping, and studying, as well as general well-being. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on gaming and social media use, and its effects on the well-being of adolescents.
Youth athletes sleep more, practice less, and may lose interest in playing sports due to social distancing mandates

AUTHOR(S)
Henry B. Ellis; Sophia M. Ulman; K. John Wagner (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports
In-person sport participation was suspended across the United States in the spring of 2020 to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The purpose of this study was to survey the impact of COVID-19 on young athletes during a period of social and organized sports restrictions. An anonymous cross-sectional survey study was conducted of youth athletes in the midst of social distancing mandates and consisted of six components: demographics, sport participation, changes in sport-related goals/aspirations, sleep habits, and measures of anxiety and depression. 711 individuals who accessed the survey link yielded 575 (81%) participants with responses available for analysis. All respondents (aged 13.0 years) played organized sports, 62% were single-sport athletes, and 74% considered high-level. Participants were training ∼3.3 h less per week, spending more time outside, and 86% of participants continued to train while social distancing.
COVID-19–related life experiences, outdoor play, and long-term adiposity changes among preschool- and school-aged children in Singapore 1 year after lockdown

AUTHOR(S)
Ka Kei Sum; Shirong Cai; Evelyn Law (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: JAMA Pediatrics

Despite the potential for COVID-19 infection control–related events to have an effect on child well-being, comprehensive assessments of postlockdown changes and persistent outcomes are lacking. This paper aims to survey the extent of COVID-19 lockdown–related lifestyle changes, their differences by child age and family socioeconomic status, and the potential association with child adiposity 1 year after lockdown.  A self-administered, electronic survey was introduced to 2 ongoing child cohorts (the Singapore Preconception Study of Long-term Maternal and Child Outcomes [S-PRESTO] cohort of preschool children aged 1-4.5 years and the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes [GUSTO] cohort of primary school children aged 9-10.7 years) from July 8, 2020, to September 5, 2020, which was 1 to 3 months after the end of strict universal movement restrictions (duration of 73 days ending on June 19, 2020). All active participants from S-PRESTO and GUSTO, 2 population-based, longitudinal, parent-offspring cohorts in Singapore, were invited to participate and monitored through June 15, 2021.

Childhood confined by COVID-19 in Italy and the impacts on the right to education

AUTHOR(S)
Fernando Donizete Alves; Aline Sommerhalder; Concetta La Rocca (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: International Journal of Early Years Education
This article aimed to assess the impact of school closures in Italy on children's lives, particularly in Early Childhood Education, as a result of the Covid-19 containment measures. A set of documents published by the Italian government related to the measures to contain the covid-19 were analyzed. Based on content analysis, three categories of analysis were defined: 1) containment measures and social life; 2) school closures and distance education; 3) the return of face-to-face activities in early childhood education. The results indicated that the containment measures imposed severe restrictions on children's social interaction, such as the closing of public and private spaces (parks, museums, etc.) and the impossibility of moments of interaction and collective play. They impacted the right to education by closing schools when distance education was implemented as a measure to reduce potential damage to children's learning and overall development. For the resumption of in-person activities in schools, there should be priority use of open spaces, social distancing, and measures of personal and collective hygiene. Another significant result is the consideration of daycare centers and pre-school as essential services by the Italian government.
Changes of internet behavior of adolescents across the period of COVID-19 pandemic in China

AUTHOR(S)
Qianying Wu; Tianzhen Chen; Na Zhong (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Psychology, Health & Medicine
During the COVID-19 pandemic, internet use and gaming of adolescents had been elevated. On the one hand, internet use and gaming in the period was a good approach to killing quarantined time. However, the increased use of the internet and game of adolescents may also increase the risk of internet addiction. This study aimed to describe the internet behavior changes of adolescents and to understand the impact of clinical features on internet addiction after the adolescents back to school in COVID-19 period. It conducted a cross-sectional cohort study using data collected through online investigation in China. Six hundred and twenty-five adolescents completed the online survey.
Children’s indoor and outdoor play as potential correlates of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran: a brief report on national survey

AUTHOR(S)
Mohse Rajabi; G. Ali Afrooz; Gulfisha Qureshi (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: International Journal of Play
Over the past 16 months, Iranian children have had their schools closed. Prolonged COVID-19-related restrictions and limited play activities can have significant mental health consequences in children. Using a cross-sectional design, a sample of Iranian parents (n = 1182) of children aged between 5 and 11 years completed an online survey including: Children's Play Scale (CPS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule Short Form (I-PANAS-SF), and the Strength and Difficulties Questionaries (SDQ). Parents reported that their child spent significantly longer time playing outside at home and inside at home than anywhere else. Children were also reported to spend the minimum number of hours at indoor play centres, near water, green spaces, and playgrounds. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 context, significant declines in outdoor play activities during the pandemic were reported for 83% of children.
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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.