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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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A telehealth intervention for ensuring continuity of care of pediatric obesity during the CoVid-19 lockdown in Italy

Pierluigi Pecoraro; Francesca Gallè; Espedita Muscariello (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Restriction measures adopted during the Coronavirus Disease-19 pandemic favored unhealthy behaviors. Tele-health offered the opportunity to pursue alternative ways of chronic diseases management. This retrospective study sought to determine the effects of a telehealth counselling intervention during the lockdown to children and adolescents with obesity previously engaged in a family-based secondary care program in an outpatient clinic of South Italy.
Using fake news as means of cyber-bullying: The link with compulsive internet use and online moral disengagement

Alexandra Maftei; Andrei-Corneliu Holman; Ioan-Alex Merlici

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Online moral disengagement and cyberbullying can enhance fake news spreading. We explored the links between these variables and compulsive Internet use in a sample of 509 teenagers and adults aged 11 to 67. We investigated the effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through fake news creation and/or distribution, both direct and via moral disengagement, and the related differences between adults and teenagers. The indirect effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through moral disengagement was significant in adolescents, but not in adults. As assumed, teenagers scored significantly higher than adults on all the primary variables. Contrary to our expectations, no significant gender differences emerged, regardless of participants' age, in terms of compulsive Internet use, moral disengagement, nor cyberbullying. The results emphasize the importance of relevant online education programs designed to engage both teenagers and adults in critical thinking that might help in the fake news detection process, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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).
Online interactions and problematic internet use of Croatian students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lucija Vejmelka; Roberta Matković

Published: September 2021   Journal: Information
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a transition to online services in almost all aspects of life. Today, online access is an important aspect of child well-being more than ever. The aim of the study was to investigate online activities and gender differences of children with a special focus on harmful online content, cyberbullying, and Internet addiction. Our research was conducted among students from one Croatian county (average age = 14.97, N = 494). The Internet Addiction Test, the European Cyberbullying Intervention Project Questionnaire, as well as questions constructed for the purposes of this research (e.g., online contents) were used. Between 20% and 30% of students spend four or more hours a day online. Furthermore, 14.57% of students showed moderate signs of addiction, and 1.42% already showed severe signs of addiction, where girls had significantly higher results.
Challenges of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic

Canan Kuygun Karci; Asiye Arici Gurbuz

Published: September 2021   Journal: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry

This study aimed to understand the challenging effect of the pandemic on children and adolescents with ADHD.100 children and adolescents with ADHD aged 7–18 years were included in the study. They were evaluated in terms of internet addiction diagnostic criteria. Symptom severity was assessed using the CBCL, CPRS, and SNAP-IV.

Prevalence of internet addiction disorder and its correlates among clinically stable adolescents with psychiatric disorders in China during the COVID-19 outbreak

Zong-Lei Li; Rui Liu; Fan He (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Since the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic emerged, Internet usage has increased among adolescents. Due to this trend, the prevalence of Internet addiction disorder (IAD) may have increased within this group. This study examined the prevalence of IAD and its correlates among clinically stable adolescents with psychiatric disorders in China during the COVID-19 outbreak. A multi-center, cross-sectional study was carried out between April 29 and June 9, 2020 in three major tertiary mental health centers in China. IAD and depressive symptoms were assessed using the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), respectively.

Latent profile of internet and internet game usage among South Korean adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dongil Kim; Junwon Lee; JeeEun Karin Nam

Published: September 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Globally, more people are spending time on the Internet and gaming since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Consequently, concerns about developing behavioral addiction of adolescents have been raised. Such risk could be greater for adolescents in South Korea where the majority of adolescents have access to the Internet and own a smartphone. In fact, statistics indicate that Korean youths are spending significantly more time on the Internet and gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies on the patterns of time spent on the Internet and Internet gaming show inconsistent results. The aim of this study is to investigate the latent profiles of the Internet and Internet game usage among adolescents in South Korea. Data from a national survey on elementary and middle school students across South Korea were used. The sample consists of 3,149 respondents, and 2,984 responses were analyzed after removing missing responses. Latent profile analysis was performed to investigate the number of latent profiles for the Internet and Internet game usage time. To validate the profiles, differences in problematic gaming behavior, sex, and neuroticism were examined.

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.
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.

Mobile technology usage in early childhood: pre-COVID-19 and the national lockdown period in North Cyprus

Nihan Koran; Bengü Berkmen; Ahmet Adalıer

Published: August 2021   Journal: Education and Information Technologies
COVID-19 has affected North Cyprus since the beginning of March 2020. On March 10th 2020, the council of ministers in North Cyprus announced a lockdown and listed some restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus; schools and entertainment centres were closed, and children had to spend most of their day at home. This study aims to examine the use of mobile technology before and during the COVID-19 lockdown period by children aged three to six, based on parents' opinions. This is a descriptive study with a sample of 319 parents. Data and demographic information were collected with a questionnaire and analysed with SPSS (24.0). Comparing the duration of mobile technology device usage before the pandemic and during the lockdown period, an increase is evident, as expected. Of note, when compared to the pre-pandemic period, it is found that there is a decrease in the rate of mobile technology device usage for video viewing during the lockdown period. The findings also suggest that children mostly first experienced mobile technology devices in some way before 36 months of age. This study has determined that most children do not have their own mobile technology device.
Media use before, during and after COVID-19 lockdown according to parents in a clinically referred sample in child and adolescent psychiatry: results of an online survey in Switzerland

Anna Maria Werling; Susanne Walitza; Edna Grünblatt (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Comprehensive Psychiatry

To investigate the consequences of COVID-19 lockdown on screen media use in children and adolescents with mental health problems, an online survey was conducted on leisure media use before, during and after the lockdown of spring 2020. Parents of patients (10-18 yrs) referred to child and adolescent psychiatry participated in an anonymous online survey, approximately six weeks after the first easing of lockdown measures. Parents rated the amount, the content and the psychological impact of their children's media use before, during and after the lockdown.

YouTube's growth in use among children 0–5 during COVID19: the Occidental European case

Raquel Lozano-Blasco; Alberto Quilez-Robres; Diego Delgado-Bujedo (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Technology in Society
YouTube has become an educational and entertainment tool among Western European families, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study monitored the main channels for children aged 0–5 years by using the social media analysis (SNA) methodology from March 24, 2020 to August 24, 2020. The software used has been FanpageKarma, which allows the collection and interpretation of data. The results indicate not only a growth in the use of such channels during confinement, but also how their expansion is related to the evolution of the COVID-19, reflecting, in turn, the consequences of the government policies adopted. Social distancing generated a greater consumption of recreational content, but not a greater growth in educational content regardless of the country or culture.
Cyberbullying involvement, resilient coping, and loneliness of adolescents during Covid-19 in rural China

Ziqiang Han; Ziyi Wang; Yuhuan Li

Published: June 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Cyberbullying involvement can lead to internal health issues, especially mental health problems. Different coping strategies may reduce or enhance the strengths between cyberbullying experience and mental health problems. In this study, we examined the correlations between cyberbullying involvement and loneliness among a group of children and adolescents during the Covid-19 pandemic in China, focusing on investigating the protecting effect of the resilient coping strategy. The results demonstrated that 86.68% of the students were not involved in cyberbullying activities, 8.19% were victims only, 1.89% was perpetrators only, and 3.24% were both victims and perpetrators.
How variation in internet access, digital skills, and media use are related to rural student outcomes: GPA, SAT, and educational aspirations

Keith N. Hampton; Craig T. Robertson; Laleah Fernandez (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Telematics and Informatics
Some have pointed to divides in the availability of fixed home broadband Internet access as a contributor to rural students’ lower levels of educational attainment. Based on standardized exams (SAT Suite) and a survey of rural Michigan students in grades 8–11, we find that rural students with broadband home Internet access are more interested in school and leave homework incomplete less often. However, the relationship to classroom grades (GPA) is relatively trivial. Yet, this study finds that students who are not dependent on a cell phone for Internet access and those with higher digital skills, especially social media skills, rank considerably higher on the SAT.
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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.