Internet searches for terms related to child maltreatment during COVID-19: Infodemiology approach
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SourceJMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, 4, 3, (2021), article e27974
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting
We examined internet searches indicative of abusive parental behaviors before and after the WHO declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic (March 11th 2020) and lockdown measures followed in many countries across the world. Using Google Trends, we inferred search trends between December 28th 2018 and December 27th 2020 for queries consisting of "mother", "father" or "parents" combined with each of the 11 maltreatment-related verbs used in the Conflict Tactics Scale Parent-Child version. Raw search counts from the Google Trends data were estimated using Comscore. Of all 33 search terms, 28 terms showed increases in counts after the lockdown. These findings indicate a strong increase in internet searches relating to occurrence, causes or consequences of emotional and physical maltreatment since the lockdown and call for the use of maltreatment-related queries to direct parents or children to online information and support.
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