Guides and Practices

Practical measure to keep children safe during COVID 19: COVID19 has reached children and families far beyond those it directly infects. With school closures and social distancing put in place, the limited provision of education and human interaction strains on to their health, safety, nutrition and well-being. UNICEF UK has produced technical guidance to provide governments and protection authorities with an outline of practical measures that can be taken to keep children safe during these times.

Digital 5 a day: With children spending more time at home as a result of school closures, the Children’s Commissioner of England have produced a simple framework, based on the NHS’s evidence-based ‘‘five steps to better mental wellbeing’. It can be used by parents and carers to make the most of their children’s time online and find a well-balanced digital diet.

Psychologists working with children and young people using online video platforms: With more clinical work being taken online particularly during the pandemic, the British Psychology Society have provided guidance for psychologists to meet the developmental requirements of young children (children through teenagers) through online video platforms.

Policy

Statement of policy in relation to family reunion of unaccompanied children seeking international protection in the EU or  the UK: The UK government is continuing their commitment to support vulnerable children and is pursuing an arrangement with the EU which would allow unaccompanied children to seek international protection in either the UK or the EU to join, when it is in the child's best interests.

Data and tools

Children living with parents in emotional distress (March 2020 update) : Children with parents who experience emotional distress may experience anxiety and depression. PHE has published an update to four indicators reporting the proportion of children living with either one or both parents reporting symptoms of emotional distress. The data showed an increase in the proportion of children that lived with at least one parent reporting symptoms of emotional distress between 2016-17 and 2017-18. Data has been reported by family type and work status and reports the trends between 2010 to 2011 and through to 2017 to 2018.

Research

Impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable children in temporary accommodation in the UK: This is a comment published by the Lancet Public Health and speaks about the direct and indirect health, social, and educational consequences for children and families that are experiencing homelessness. It emphasises the importance of not further marginalising this vulnerable group.

What research questions should the next generation of birth cohort studies address? An international Delphi study of experts: Using a 3-round Delphi survey with interdisciplinary experts from HICs and LMICs, the study aimed to explore what research questions should be prioritised for the next generation of birth cohort studies (BCS). Identifying the roles of family/environmental factors and social disadvantage in a child's development were deemed particularly important. Moreover, studies should be designed in a way to inform the development of interventions.

Effectiveness of indicated school-based interventions for adolescent depression and anxiety - a meta analytic review: This paper aimed to provide a meta‐analytic review of randomised controlled trials of psychological interventions for young people aged 10–19 with elevated symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. While interventions were effective immediately post-intervention, there is little evidence of the long-term effects. Longer follow-up periods in high quality RCTs are required to justify investments.

Association of video game use with body mass index and other energy-balance behaviours in children: Childhood obesity is a significant public threat in the UK. This secondary analysis of cohort data in the UK showed a small (however not clinically significant) association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and regularity of bedtimes with higher body mass index among children with greater video game use early in childhood (age 5). The paper recommends future interventions to incorporate health promotion in mainstream video games for children who are at high risk.

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