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Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Life in Colours: Children’s and adolescents’ experiences, perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic
Life in Colours: Children’s and adolescents’ experiences, perceptions and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic
Published: 2022 Innocenti Research Report

This report recounts the journeys of a group of adolescents through the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, one of the first countries to be affected by the virus. It is the first product of an in-depth qualitative study that aims to understand the experiences of children and young people from their point of view and through their words.

The data for this project were collected online between February and June 2021 with 114 participants between the ages of 10 and 19, who attended lower and upper secondary schools in 16 regions of Italy, and included children and young people who identify as LGBTQI+, unaccompanied and separated children, and adolescents from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Across the Life Course: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework for Research and Evidence Generation
Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing Across the Life Course: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework for Research and Evidence Generation

AUTHOR(S)
Priscilla Idele; Manasi Sharma; Camila Perera Aladro; Prerna Banati; David Anthony

Published: 2022 Innocenti Working Papers

Mental health conditions affect about 1 in 7 adolescents globally. In the context of COVID-19, the importance of mental health and psychosocial support for all has been undoubtedly confirmed. Despite the increased attention to mental health issues, there is a dearth of evidence on what determines child and adolescent mental health, who is most at risk, and what works to foster mental health across contexts, cultures and distinct population groups.

This conceptual framework aims to inform research on child and adolescent mental health. It incorporates children’s developmental stages and the dynamic environment in which they live and grow. Informed by a review of existing theoretical frameworks on mental health and child development, this framework integrates elements of the socio-ecological model; the life course approach; the social determinants of health approach; and Innocenti Report Card’s Worlds of Influence Framework. Combining diverse aspects of these frameworks and approaches, we propose an integrated model to guide UNICEF’s research in this area. 

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole.

La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca.


Non-contributory Social Protection and Adolescents in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries: A review of government programming and impacts
Non-contributory Social Protection and Adolescents in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries: A review of government programming and impacts

AUTHOR(S)
Cristina Cirillo; Tia Palermo; Francesca Viola

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Adolescents face unique vulnerabilities related to their health, schooling and the intensification of gender socialization. As the next generation next in line to become adults, their transition has major implications for the future health, economic growth and well-being of nations. Yet, children and adolescents have low rates of social protection coverage globally – a missed opportunity for investment.

This report examines how social protection can promote adolescent well-being and facilitate safe and productive transitions to adulthood in lower- and middle-income countries. Focusing on government, non-contributory programmes, the following questions are examined: 1) whether and how current non-contributory social  protection programmes are adolescent-sensitive and 2) what is the impact of non-contributory social protection programmes on adolescents.

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems.

Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical.

 To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.

Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Rapid Review Protocol - Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

While there has been a global rush to generate rapid evidence on COVID-19 mental health impacts among adults, limited evidence exists on the potential impacts on children.

This is the protocol for our rapid review that seeks to (i) understand the immediate impact of COVID-19’s first wave on the mental health of children and adolescents (0–19 years); and (ii) apply lessons learned from this pandemic to mitigate the impacts of future health crises.

The key research questions of this review are: 

  • What has been the immediate impact of COVID-19 and associated containment measures on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents?
  • How and which risk and protective factors have affected mental health during COVID-19 and have they varied across subgroups of children and adolescents?

Investigating Risks and Opportunities for Children in a Digital World: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes
Investigating Risks and Opportunities for Children in a Digital World: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes

AUTHOR(S)
Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone; Rana Khazbak

Published: 2021 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Children’s lives are increasingly mediated by digital technologies. Yet, when it comes to understanding the long-term effects of internet use and online experiences on their well-being, mental health or resilience, the best we can do is make an educated guess. Our need for this knowledge has become even more acute as internet use rises during COVID-19.

This report explores what has been learned from the latest research about children’s experiences and outcomes relating to the internet and digital technologies. It aims to inform policy-makers, educators, child-protection specialists, industry and parents on the best evidence, and it proposes a future research agenda.

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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence
Publication

Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence

Effective collaboration around knowledge management and organizational learning is a key contributor to improving the impact of international development work for the world’s most vulnerable people. But how can it be proven? With only 10 years from the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, nine of the world’s most influential agencies set out to show to the connection between the use of evidence, knowledge and learning and a better quality of human life. This book – a synthesis of stories, examples and insights that demonstrate where and how these practices have made a positive impact on development programming – is the result of the Multi-Donor Learning Partnership (MDLP), a collective effort to record the ways each of these organizations have leveraged intentional, systematic and resourced approaches to knowledge management and organizational learning in their work.
Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)
Publication

Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)

UNICEF has undertaken hundreds of gender evidence generation activities, supporting programmatic action, advocacy work and policymaking. The Gender Solutions project aims to draw together the knowledge, innovations and impacts of gender evidence work conducted by UNICEF offices since the first UNICEF Gender Action Plan was launched in 2014. A desk review identified over 700 gender-related UNICEF research, evaluation and data evidence generation activities since 2014. Twenty-five outputs were shortlisted because of their high quality and (potential for) impact and three were selected as Gender Evidence Award winners by an external review panel. By capturing the impact of this broad body of work, Gender Solutions aims to showcase UNICEF’s evidence investments, reward excellence and inform the rollout of the UNICEF Gender Policy 2021–2030 and Action Plan 2022–2025.
Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.

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