Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Vulnerability in Children & Young People

  Mel Wilson (2018 cohort)   www.melaniewilson.uk

Vulnerability in Children & Young People; The effects of the pandemic online & offline.

Online Life

Following the first UK lockdown in March 2020, many childrem young people and their adults were forced online for multiple activities. Whilst CYP and adults both tended to have an online presence in the modern worldprior to this, this presence for many was suddenly increased enormasly. This is became unavoidable with everyday functions taking place online rather than in the real world. School work went online, Homework continued to be set online. Social interaction was mostly online. Research for school topics are online and communication is online in the form of messaging such as instagram, whatsapp. Snapchat etc. Games have moved from the playground and street to online, in a world that is inundated by news of the dangers the world poses, often inaccurately.

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This was possible, for the first time in history, for many. But it left some without access to social and educational access for weeks and months at a time, due to lack of devices, lack of connectivity and lack of a space in which to connect with the world outside the isolated home.

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Vulnerabilities

People can be more of less vulnerable depending on the numbers of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) they have encountered. The current literature mainly revolves around statistics relating to crime and prison, injury and death, education and other “real world” factors.

With increasing use of online interaction in young people's lives, it is proposed that the factors that increase vulnerability are potentially magnified online. This is suggested by two main causal factors. The first is that from an Evolutionary Psychology prospective we, as a species, still react to others as if we were physically present with them in the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptiveness (EEA). This means we can miss online signs of danger seen in physical encounters which ensured our ancestors survival.

Those with vulnerabilities and ACEs were more likely to be subjected to more ACEs and had a less comfortable existance physically and were likely to be more restricted digitally. What does this Digital Divide look like and how has this affected vulnerable CYP?

Mental Health Access

The aim of the project is to interview qualified counsellors, therapists and mental health experts who have been directly “meeting” with children and young people (CYP) before and during the Covid 19 pandemic. For the purpose of this research “meeting” involves face to face, telephone, chat and video support for mental health purposes.

During this time many practitioners had to rapidly change their meeting methodology and adapt to very new circumstances often with little or no training.

The purpose of this study is to gain insight qualitatively into the ways this was achieved, the experiences of the practitioners and their perceptions of how their clients adjusted and responded to the differences

Online Interaction

Social & Educational Contact

The aim of this project is to interview adults who have had extended social and/or educational contact and who have been directly “meeting” with children and young people (CYP) before and during the Covid 19 pandemic. For the purpose of this research “meeting” involves face to face, telephone, chat and video support for social and/or educational purposes.

During this time many adults had to rapidly change their meeting methodology with CYP and adapt to very new circumstances with little or no training or equipment.

The purpose of this study is to gain insight qualitatively into the ways this was achieved, the experiences of the adults and their perceptions of how the CYP adjusted and responded to the differences.

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Effects on the Family

Family Interviews

The aim of the project is to interview adults who have had extended social and/or educational contact and who have been directly “meeting” with children and young people (CYP) before and during the Covid 19 pandemic. For the purpose of this research “meeting” involves face to face, telephone, chat and video support for social and/or educational purposes.

During this time many adults had to rapidly change their meeting methodology with CYP and adapt to very new circumstances with little or no training or equipment.

The purpose of this study is to gain insight qualitatively into the ways this was achieved, the experiences of the adults and their perceptions of how the CYP adjusted and responded to the differences.

Selected References

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  • Bartlett, J. (2015). The dark net: Inside the digital underworld. Melville House.

  • Bekoff, M., & Byers, J. A. (2004). Animal play: Evolutionary, comparative and ecological perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Berg, L., Rostila, M., Saarela, J., & Hjern, A. (2014). Parental death during childhood and subsequent school performance. Pediatrics, peds-2013.

  • Borelli, J. L., Compare, A., Snavely, J. E., & Decio, V. (2015). Reflective functioning moderates the association between perceptions of parental neglect and attachment in adolescence. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 32(1), 23.

  • Bowlby, J. (1997). Attachment (Vol. 1). Random House.

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  • Fox, E., Griggs, L., & Mouchlianitis, E. (2007). The detection of fear-relevant stimuli: Are guns noticed as quickly as snakes?. Emotion, 7(4), 691.

  • Gardner, D. (2009). Risk: The science and politics of fear. Random House.

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  • Hetherington, E. M. (2014). Coping with divorce, single parenting, and remarriage: A risk and resiliency perspective. Psychology Press.

  • Joshi, M. S., MacLean, M., & Stevens, C. (2018). Accident frequency and unrealistic optimism: Children’s assessment of risk. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 111, 142-146.

  • Landreth, G. (2012). Play therapy. New York: Routledge.

  • Lamb, R., Joshi, M.S., Carter, W., Cowburn, G. and Matthews, A. (2006). Children's acquisition and retention of safety skills: the Lifeskills program, Injury Prevention, 12, 161-165

  • Lichtenstein S., Fischhoff B., and Phillips L.D., "Calibration of Probabilities: The State of the Art to 1980," (1982) in Judgement under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, eds. D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, and A. Tversky, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, , pp. 306-334,

  • Luthar, S. S. (2015). Resilience in development: A synthesis of research across five decades. Developmental Psychopathology: Volume Three: Risk, Disorder, and Adaptation, 739-795.

  • Pham, S., Porta, G., Biernesser, C., Walker Payne, M., Iyengar, S., Melhem, N., & Brent, D. A. (2018). The Burden of Bereavement: Early-Onset Depression and Impairment in Youths Bereaved by Sudden Parental Death in a 7-Year Prospective Study. American Journal of Psychiatry, appi-ajp.

  • Sarkar, M., & Fletcher, D. (2017). How resilience training can enhance wellbeing and performance. In M. F. Crane (Ed.), Managing for resilience: A practical guide for employee wellbeing and organizational performance (pp. 227-237). New York, NY, US: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group

  • Slade, A. (2005). Parental reflective functioning: An introduction. Attachment & human development, 7(3), 269-281.

  • Slovic, P. (2016). The perception of risk. Routledge.

  • Tracey, M. R., & Polachek, S. W. (2018). If looks could heal: Child health and paternal investment. Journal of health economics, 57, 179-190.

  • Trayser J R (2016) The ACEs Revolution: The impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences

  • Williams, R., Elliott, I. A., & Beech, A. R. (2013). Identifying sexual grooming themes used by internet sex offenders. Deviant Behavior, 34(2), 135-152.

Publications

ACTO Conference June 2021 "What can we learn, from the pandemic, about closing the digital divide for Children and Young People needing mental health interventions."

3 Min presentation May 2012 " Vulnerability, Lockdown & the Pandemic; The effects on Children & Young People"

LTS Conference April 2021 Less can be more- Telling your story through Zoom; observations on power dynamics in story-telling with Children and Young people during therapeutic interventions through the pandemic."

Blog posts on Media coverage and activities of the Intervention

Exploring how Component Factors and their Uncertainty Affect Judgements of Risk in Cyber-Security

This author is supported by the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Nottingham (RCUK Grant No. EP/L015463/1) and Northamptonshire Police.