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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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31 - 45 of 81
Reexamining social media and socioemotional well-being among adolescents through the Lens of the COVID-19 pandemic: a theoretical review and directions for future research

Jessica L. Hamilton; Jacqueline Nesi; Sophia Choukas-Bradley

Published: November 2021   Journal: Perspectives on Psychological Science
Social media has rapidly transformed the ways in which adolescents socialize and interact with the world, which has contributed to ongoing public debate about whether social media is helping or harming adolescents. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified both the challenges and opportunities of adolescents’ social-media use, which necessitates revisiting the conversation around teens and social media. In this article, we discuss key aspects of adolescent social-media use and socioemotional well-being and outline how these issues may be amplified in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study uses this as a springboard to outline key future research directions for the field, with the goal of moving away from reductionist approaches and toward a more nuanced perspective to understand the who, what, and when of social-media use and its impact on adolescent well-being. It conclude with a commentary on how psychological science can inform the translation of research to provide evidence-based recommendations for adolescent social-media use.
Longitudinal association between smartphone ownership and depression among schoolchildren under COVID-19 pandemic

Masaki Adachi; Michio Takahashi; Hiroki Shinkawa (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Under the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns regarding prolonged screen time and mental health effects in children have increased. This study examined the association of depression with smartphone ownership in school children at four time points: September 2019, July 2020, December 2020, and March 2021. The analysis revealed an interaction between group and time, indicating that depressive symptoms among smartphone owners were significantly more severe than in the other group. These results were clearer for fourth-year students, pointing that smartphone possession at younger ages may be a risk factor for mental health in the new lifestyle caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social isolation, loneliness, and mobile phone dependence among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: roles of parent–child communication patterns

Rui Zhen; Lu Li; Guoqiang Li (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
During the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile phone dependence (MPD) became a common addictive behavior among adolescents because of social isolation. To understand the underlying mechanisms of the impact of social isolation on MPD, this study examined the mediating role of loneliness and the moderating role of parent–child communication patterns on social isolation and MPD. Six hundred and eighty-three adolescents from a middle school in Huang’gang city, China, were recruited to complete a self-report questionnaire. Data analysis comprised latent profle analysis and structural equation modelling.
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.

Humour and TikTok memes during the 2020 pandemic lockdown: tensions of gender and care faced by Chinese mothers working from home

Xiao Han; Giselinde Kuipers

Published: October 2021   Journal: China Information
This article examines a humorous meme that emerged on Chinese TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Using #workfromhomewithchildcare, Chinese working mothers shared humorous clips of their experience of working from home with their children who were also at home during the pandemic lockdown. By analysing the themes, protagonists, and humour techniques of a sample of 85 videos, we ask why the mood of these clips is so strongly marked by humour, and what this tells us about contemporary Chinese society, particularly about the position of women and mothers. This study shows that these memetic clips consist of three distinct genres of mothers working from home: (1) ‘balancing mothers’ who balance between work and childcare, (2) ‘pedagogic mothers’ who give childcare tips, and (3) ‘commercially oriented’ mothers who offer tutorials by means of product placement and advertisement. While these memes express what Mary Douglas called ‘a joke in the social structure’ without offering either relief or critique, they do create an online joking culture that offers temporary relief as well as awareness that others are in the same position.
Exposure to social media racial discrimination and mental health among adolescents of color

Xiangyu Tao; Celia B. Fisher

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Offline and online racial discrimination has been associated with mental health problems among adolescents of color. Pandemic shelter-at-home policies and the reignited racial justice movement increased the use of social media among youth of color, potentially exposing them to social media racial discrimination. Yet, it is unclear which aspects of social media significantly contributed to youth exposure to racial discrimination and associated mental health issues during this period. This study assessed the relationships among social media use (hours, racial intergroup contact, and racial justice civic engagement), individual and vicarious social media discrimination (defined as personally directed versus observing discrimination directed at others), and mental health among 115 black, 112 East/Southeast Asian, 79 Indigenous, and 101 Latinx adolescents (N = 407, 82.31% female, aged 15–18 years, M = 16.47, SD = 0.93).
Internet use during COVID-19 lockdown among young people in low- and middle-income countries: Role of psychological wellbeing

Blossom Fernandes; Bilge Uzun; Caner Aydin (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Addictive Behaviors Reports
Problematic internet use in adolescents has been shown to significantly increase over the past few years, with COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns reinforcing this phenomena globally. This study sought to explore whether problematic internet use in specific countries was related to emotional well-being and importantly whether this is predicted by psychological distress. There is a growing number of studies showing that problematic internet use is increasingly prevalent in countries with emerging economies, however we have yet to find out to what extent other factors are influencing this behaviour in adolescents and young people. This study invited young people from countries such India, Mexico, Philippines and Turkey to complete a set of self-reports on their daily internet habits, social media use, alongside questions on psychological distress, self-esteem, loneliness and escapism.
Cybervictimization and well-being among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating roles of emotional self-efficacy and emotion regulation

Fabian Schunk; Franziska Zeh; Gisela Trommsdorff

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Cybervictimization has been linked to adverse psychological consequences but little is known about the mechanisms linking cybervictimization to lower well-being. Two studies examined emotional self-efficacy and distinct emotion regulation strategies as potential mediators in the relationship between cybervictimization and lower well-being among German adolescents during the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. In Study 1, 107 adolescents (Mage = 15.76) reported their cybervictimization frequency, emotional self-efficacy beliefs, and aspects of well-being (i.e., self-esteem, perceived social support, and subjective well-being during the COVID-19 related school closures). Emotional self-efficacy mediated the link between cybervictimization and all well-being measures. Specifically, cybervictimization was related to lower well-being through lower self-efficacy for managing negative emotions. For further examination, in Study 2, 205 adolescents (Mage = 15.45) were asked to report their cybervictimization experiences, use of specific emotion regulation strategies (rumination, reappraisal, and suppression), and well-being (i.e., self-esteem and life satisfaction).
Children’s screen and problematic media use in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

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

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

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.
Internet addiction and psychosocial problems among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study

Fatma Ozlem Ozturka; Sultan Ayaz-Alkaya

Published: September 2021   Journal: Archives of Psychiatric Nursing

This research was conducted to investigate the prevalence of internet addiction and psychosocial problems and associated factors among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Turkey. The population was composed of 9th and 10th grade students. The sample consisted of 1572 participants. Data were collected from parents of the students through a questionnaire, the Pediatric Symptom Checklist, and the Parent-Child Internet Addiction Test.

Positive and negative online experiences and loneliness in Peruvian adolescents during the COVID-19 lockdown

Lucía Magis-Weinberg; Christopher L. Gys; Estelle L. Berger (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence
Global COVID-19 lockdowns have disrupted adolescents’ in-person social networks, increasing likelihood of loneliness. Social media can help adolescents maintain and develop peer relationships across distance. In this short longitudinal study with 735 Peruvian adolescents (ages: 11–17) from low-to-middle-income urban settings, we investigated whether online experiences relate to loneliness during initial stages of lockdown. Loneliness remained constant between week 6 and 11 of lockdown, was higher for females and similar across school-grades. Positive and negative online experiences were more frequent for older students, and females experienced more negative online experiences than males. Greater positive online experiences related to lower loneliness, with the reverse pattern for negative online experiences. Our results suggest that positive online experiences may mitigate loneliness during physical isolation.
Social disconnection during COVID-19: the role of attachment, fear of missing out, and smartphone use

Natasha Parent; Kyle Dadgar; Bowen Xiao (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence:
This mixed-methods study explored adolescents’ (n = 682) feelings of social connection in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and examined potential risk (fear of missing out, problematic smartphone use) and protective (parent/peer attachment, smartphone use) factors to social disconnection. Data were collected from two schools in Canada using an online survey with questionnaires and open-ended questions. Three themes regarding adolescents’ feelings of social connection during the pandemic were identified through thematic content analysis: (1) feeling socially connected, (2) feeling socially disconnected, and (3) feeling socially indifferent. Moreover, regression analysis identified secure peer attachments as a protective factor against social disconnection in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, while fear of missing out was identified as an independent risk factor.
COVID-19 instructional approaches (in-person, online, hybrid), school start times, and sleep in over 5,000 U.S. adolescents

Lisa J. Meltzer; Jared M. Saletin; Sarah M. Honaker (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Sleep

This study aims to examine associations among instructional approaches, school start times, and sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic in a large, nationwide sample of U.S. adolescents. Cross-sectional, anonymous self-report survey study of a community-dwelling sample of adolescents (grades 6–12), recruited through social media outlets in October/November 2020. Participants reported on instructional approach (in-person, online/synchronous, online/asynchronous) for each weekday (past week), school start times (in-person or online/synchronous days), and bedtimes (BT) and wake times (WT) for each identified school type and weekends/no school days. Sleep opportunity was calculated as BT-to-WT interval. Night-to-night sleep variability was calculated with mean square successive differences.

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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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