An SFU professor is addressing the negative impacts of COVID-19 on children’s mental well-being with her latest research project—an online social network for children called No Child Alone.
The network, launched by Alissa Antle, aims to support children’s social and emotional learning during the pandemic.
“There's really nothing for eight to 12-year-olds in terms of safe, private social media connections, or private networks, that give them support around social emotional learning, or the fallouts of COVID-19,” said Antle
“Once operational, children who join the No Child Alone online community would be moderated by an adult and also have some autonomy to interact with each other and connect directly to resources they might need.”
Antle is launching the app prototype with Curatio - a digital health company that develops peer-to-peer online support communities - as a pilot with a limited number of children, and will expand it as further funding becomes available.
The research is currently funded by a $105,000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) COVID-19 Alliance grant.
Work on the project began in August and the team hopes to launch a co-design study with children this coming winter.