#COVID19

COVID-19 & Children

Rapid Research Response

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Children in Laos taking part in the ChildFund Pass It Back program.

Introduction

As many as 1.5 billion children have lost precious weeks and months of educational progress. Millions of particularly vulnerable children – migrants and refugees, the poor, those affected by violence and exploitation – are being exposed to even higher levels of risk during the pandemic. According to the UN's policy brief on COVID-19 and children, "There are three main ways children are affected by this crisis: infection with the virus itself; immediate socioeconomic impacts of measures to stop transmission of the virus; and longer-term effects of delayed implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals." 

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to provide the evidence needed to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and to prepare interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.

Research agenda

Download Our Research Agenda

SHORT TERM PROJECTS

  • Identifying good practices for equitable remote learning during COVID-19 school closures
    Analysis of promising remote learning practices during school closures and effects on the most vulnerable children. Builds on data collected from country offices and other sources.
  • Parental engagement in children’s learning: Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19
    Analysis of MICS 6 data on the potential of child-oriented books at home and the parental role for learning, especially where low access to technology.
  • Social protection for families and children: considerations for a post COVID-19 response Comparative research on expected social protection changes in different regions from efforts to protect children from health and financial impacts.
  • The importance of children's internet access during COVID-19
    Analysis of new data from Global Kids Online and EU Kids Online networks on children accessing health information online, and child ability to verify the truth of online information.
  • Estimating the impact of COVID-19 on violence prevalence
    Three data sources will be analyzed to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on the prevalence of violence: big data and social media; helpline data; existing nationally representative data sets (MICS, DHS).
  • COVID-19 & school closures: impacts on child wellbeing
    A variety of data sources will be analysed to measure impacts of school closures on multiple dimensions of child well-being on vulnerable groups, including schooling, learning outcomes, health, nutrition, mental wellbeing, violence, early marriage, child labour, and others.
  • COVID-19 & school reopenings: strategies and measures for mitigating the impact of COVID-19
    This research will describe the strategies that countries are putting in place to mitigate the negative impacts of school closures on children’s learning outcomes, particularly on the most vulnerable groups.

 

LONG TERM PROJECTS

  • Children’s experiences and views of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 lessons on providing assistive technology to persons with disability in humanitarian response 
  • Children’s online engagement during COVID-19
  • Review of emerging evidence on mental health among children and adolescents
  • A review of evidence from previous health crises on the social impacts on children, families, and communities, including from humanitarian settings and emerging evidence from COVID-19.

 

(Download the full COVID-19 and Children Research Workplan for details on long term projects)

 

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS

  • Review of emerging evidence on child and adolescents’ mental health in the context of COVID-19
    Review of emerging evidence, interventions, and lessons to inform policy and programmes on children, families, and communities during COVID-19.
  • A review of emerging evidence and implications for programmes and policy.
    An open, searchable evidence repository of scientific evidence related to children and COVID-19.
  • Children and COVID-19 Research Library
    An open-access, fully searchable, and curated repository of the latest scientific evidence related to COVID-19 and children will be made available as a global public good in mid-July.

 

ETHICS

 

 


Download Our Full Research Agenda - Living Document

 

Download Our short summary Agenda


Research publications

COVID-19 may pose greater risk to children than originally thought
Research Brief Research Brief

COVID-19 may pose greater risk to children than originally thought

(21 July 2020) It is commonly accepted, at least for now, that children and young people under 20 years of age have largely been spared the direct epidemiological effects on their own health and survival of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for COVID-19 disease. This narrative is based predominantly on early data from the countries first affected by the virus, notably China (Wuhan province) and Italy in early 2020, and also from other high-income countries (HICs) including the United States and some European nations. This narrative has conditioned the subsequent screening and testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus in children and young people under 20, which have been notably lower than for other age cohorts in many, but not all, countries.
Digital Connectivity During COVID-19: Access to vital information for every child
Publication Publication

Digital Connectivity During COVID-19: Access to vital information for every child

(10 June 2020) This research brief explores data from 22,000 12-15 year old's to answer three research questions. 1) How much do we know about children’s basic access to the internet across the globe? 2) Do children regularly use the internet to access health information? 3) Are children able to verify the truth of online information?
Ethical Issues: Digital contact tracing and surveillance during COVID-19
Working Paper Working Paper

Ethical Issues: Digital contact tracing and surveillance during COVID-19

Balancing the need to collect data to support good decision-making versus the need to protect children from harm created through the collection of the data has never been more challenging than in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the pandemic has seen an unprecedented rapid scaling up of technologies to support digital contact tracing and surveillance. As the pandemic progresses, we are also likely to see the emergence of more applications that link datasets as we seek to better understand the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children and their families.

Blogs & Think Pieces

Are we at risk of making the same errors we made at the beginning of the HIV and AIDS pandemic?
Blog Blog

Are we at risk of making the same errors we made at the beginning of the HIV and AIDS pandemic?

(21 July 2020) Like polio before it, unless we continue to monitor its socio-demographic spread, COVID-19 may start out being a disease that first affects more affluent communities and countries but could end up lasting longest and deepest among the world’s poorest countries and communities. In the HIV crisis, age-disaggregated data appeared long after the aggregate numbers or even the sex-disaggregated, leaving child prevention, detection and treatment lagging well behind that of adults.
Spain’s Basic Income Response to COVID-19
Blog Blog

Spain’s Basic Income Response to COVID-19

(1 July 2020) Spain has been hard hit by Covid-19, both in terms of high death toll and worsening economic conditions. Government lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus left millions of households without earnings or temporary unemployed. A recent report anticipates a 13% decline in GDP in the worst-case scenario. This is a worrying prediction for a country characterised by high unemployment and high levels of extreme poverty, even before the crisis. But from this adversity comes an opportunity.
Digging deeper with data: Child labour and learning
Blog Blog

Digging deeper with data: Child labour and learning

Noah Oletey, aged 12, and his brother Vincent, aged 14, work six nights a week on fishing canoes on Lake Volta in Ghana. Noah and Vincent attend school, but only when their work schedule permits it and they have enough money to pay their school fees. As such, their educational opportunities are limited, and their performance at school suffers. The story of Noah and Vincent shows that engaging in child labour can be negatively associated with school attendance and the acquisition of vital foundational learning skills.

In order to speed research and knowledge outputs and commentary into the public sphere the Evidence For Action blogs of UNICEF Connect and UNICEF Innocenti Think Pieces will be published on a continual basis. Both UNICEF Innocenti experts and leading external researchers and writers will frequently publish on these fora. The aim is to feed research commentary into global pandemic discussion and planning efforts for children.

Online events

Webinar: Children Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Event Event

Webinar: Children Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 6 May 2020 UNICEF Innocenti hosted the first Leading Minds Online event introducing a new series on Coronavirus and Children: What the Experts Say. Our first event featured Harvard University's professor of global health, Dr Vikram Patel; UNICEF Innocenti lead researcher on child internet use, Daniel Kardefelt-Winther, and other Leading Minds from the US, Pakistan and South Africa.
Webinar: Violence in the home before, during and after COVID-19
Event Event

Webinar: Violence in the home before, during and after COVID-19

On Thursday 21 May at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti hosted the second Leading Minds Online webinar series: "What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children: Violence in the Home”. The ewebinar looks at why some of the measures taken to contain the Coronavirus could be magnifying the risk factors for violence against children and women - What can be done to prevent violence against children and women and support survivors now and post-COVID 19?
Webinar: Support for Families during COVID-19
Event Event

Webinar: Support for Families during COVID-19

On Thursday 4 June at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti launches the third installment of the Leading Minds Online webinar series ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children: Support for Families.
Webinar: Remote Learning & Beyond #COVID19
Event Event

Webinar: Remote Learning & Beyond #COVID19

On Thursday 18 June at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presented its fourth Leading Minds Online webcast series ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children: Remote Learning and Beyond’. A panel of high-level experts looked at how the global pandemic and resulting school closures are worsening learning gaps, and deepening the learning crisis.
Webinar: Hand Hygiene for every child during and after COVID-19
Event Event

Webinar: Hand Hygiene for every child during and after COVID-19

On Thursday 2 July at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presents its fifth Leading Minds Online webcast ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on Hand Hygiene.

Good reads

A wide variety of research - rapid reviews, preprint papers, expert commentary and peer reviewed reports - is being released on a daily basis in an effort to rapidly build knowledge and evidence about how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. UNICEF Innocenti will continually update this space with a selection of the best and latest contributions that are relevant to COVID-19's impact on children. Research writings presented here may not be endorsed by UNICEF.

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CONTACT
UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
research[at]unicef.org
via degli Alfani, 58 - 50121 Florence, Italy
T : (39055) 20330 F : (39055) 2033220