Researchers launch Covid-19 survey to improve health messages to children

Children and parents across the UK are being urged to share their views with researchers who want to make sure they are getting accurate information about Covid-19.

Keele University researchers are working in collaboration with Edge Hill University to work out the best way to give children news, important facts and safety tips about Covid-19.

Lots of information is already being circulated to help children learn about Covid-19, but it is not clear whether these messages are reaching all children and if they really understand why it is important to stay at home.

Professor Joanne Protheroe, Professor of General Practice at Keele University and Chair of Health Literacy UK, said: “It is really important that we pay attention to what messages children are picking up and where they get them from. This way we can support the development of good health literacy which will have a lifelong effect.

“Keele, and I personally, are very pleased to be involved in this important research as it offers an opportunity to explore how children respond to a multitude of quite scary messages and will help us develop better information and better support for children and families.”

Professor Lucy Bray, Professor in Child Health Literacy at Edge Hill University, is leading the project and has worked with children for more than twenty years.

She said: “This is such an important project as many children do not fully understand why they are being told to stay at home. There have been big changes to their lives, and many are feeling uncertain and worried. If we can find out what children want to know about coronavirus and how they are accessing information, then more child-friendly information can be targeted to reach them.

“We also know that parents can face challenges in knowing how much and what information to share with their children about Covid-19. We want to find out how parents are dealing with this too, so that any barriers can be overcome.”

The study is focusing on parents and children aged between 7-12 years in the UK. There are two surveys, one for parents and another for children.

This project has been developed with children from The Forum@Alder Hey and the Patient Information Forum, a leading charity for patient information.