The purpose of the Let's cope together website is to offer help with reducing children’s worries, fears and anxiety relating to the coronavirus pandemic. The website is aimed at parents. It contains information about anxiety, advice for processing difficult feelings, and concrete methods to make the child feel better (e.g. breathing and visualisation exercises). The website contains texts, videos, audio clips and cartoons. The contents are based on a method from cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been found to be the best way to reduce children’s anxiety and fears.
The website is connected to a survey, which is filled out anonymously without any identification data. Filling out the survey takes approximately 2–3 minutes. We will not ask for personal data or contact details at any stage of the study. The aim of this study is to find out about worries relating to the pandemic and whether adults can gain methods from the website that help them deal with and reduce their child’s difficult feelings.
HOW DOES THE WEBSITE WORK?
Each user will log into the website with a username and password they have created themselves. Make a note of your username and password. As we do not collect any contact details, we are unable to send you your password by text message or email.
After you have logged into the website you will see an introductory survey with 17 questions, which will take approximately 2–3 minutes to fill out. We will ask questions about your worries related to the epidemic and your thoughts on how well you are able to help your child with processing their difficult feelings.
The material on how to manage anxiety, which you can access after completing the survey, is divided into five topics. You can go through all the topics at once or spread them out over several sessions. When you have gone through all the material, we will ask you some of the same questions that we asked you at the start. We will also ask you how satisfied you are with the programme.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE STUDY
It is possible that you or your family will get no benefits from taking part in the study. However, the study will give us useful information about how well the programme works and the amount of worry the epidemic is causing. The data we collect through the surveys will help us continue to develop programmes that benefit children and families. We are not expecting any disadvantages of participating in the study.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION
All the data collected during the study is confidential. We do not collect any personal data or contact details. The link between the website and the user’s computer is protected. The data will be stored electronically on the protected network of the University of Turku until 2035 at the latest. Participants cannot be identified at any stage of the study.
Participation is voluntary. You can take back your consent at any stage of the study and without giving us a reason. Participating in the study, dropping out or refusing to participate will not have any impact on your ability to access other services, so in all these situations you will still be able to access the care and support you need. If you drop out of the study, the data which has been collected until then can still be used for research purposes.
MORE INFORMATION AND CONTACT DETAILS
You can contact the research team at any stage of the study (firstname.lastname@example.org). This study briefing is available on the website www.yhdessaselviydytaan.fi until 31.12.2021.
The University of Turku is the controller of the survey. The study has been approved by the Ethical Committee at the University of Turku. The study is funded by the Juho Vainio Foundation and the Academy of Finland, and it is part of the INVEST Research Flagship (Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State, decision number 320162). The study is led by Andre Sourander, Professor of Child Psychiatry.
You can give your consent to participating in the study by logging into the website and filling out the introductory survey.