Every day, children access a wide variety of media platforms that are filled with advertisements through their phones, tablets and laptops.
Food and beverage advertisements have been found to be the most viewed on apps such as YouTube and Snapchat.
A Canadian study found that children view over 100 advertisements for food each week on apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube.
These advertisements are specifically targeting younger viewers who have low impulse control and low healthy dieting behaviors.
Social media has made it so much easier for marketers to target consumers. They can use digital tools like location settings, preferences and past purchasing data to more accurately grab the consumer’s attention.
According to a study done at the University of Michigan, when children view these frequent, and sometimes persistent food advertisements, it makes them desire the reward of food.
In the study, it shows that when adolescents see unhealthy food commercials, it activates the reward centers of the brain. This then causes the child to want to seek out any type of food related to what they saw in the advertisement.
How you can limit your child’s advertisement exposure:
While it’s practically impossible to completely remove all types of advertisements from your child’s life, there are ways to prevent food advertisements from appearing on their screens.
Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t rely on advertisements for revenue and your kids will not be exposed to any type of advertisements on these apps.
Also through the settings section in apps like Instagram, you can see the advertisements that have been shown to your children as well as learn about what to do if you see an ad you wish to hide. Many of these also have parental control options.
Websites like Common Sense Media can help parents learn about the different apps and streaming services their children use as well.
The problem of bullying in schools stretches across generations, and though there are new media through which kids can now bully their peers, bullying itself is nothing new.
A study from Florida Atlantic University suggests that how parents interact with their child at home might have a lot to do with the way their child then treats their classmates. You probably know that mean parents lead to mean kids, but just how mean do they have to be to make an impact?
This study says it can be as small as just belittling or not praising your kid.
We know parenting isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve built this blog about how your kid’s world is different from the one you grew up in. But this study says to take a hard look at how you’re interacting with your child. Are you telling them you’re proud of them even for small accomplishments? Do you zone out when they’re talking about their interests, or are you actively listening?
If they feel frustrated by some of their interactions at home, they might go to school and take it out on other students since they can’t say anything to you. How bad is bullying in today’s schools?
70.6% of kids say they’ve seen bullying in their schools, and 70.4% of school staff say they’ve witnessed bullying. Note, 62% of school staff say they witnessed bullying two or more times in the month prior to the survey, and 41% say they witnessed bullying every week.
Middle school students report they’ve been bullied a variety of ways, including name-calling (44.2 %), teasing (43.3 %), spreading rumors or lies (36.3%), pushing or shoving (32.4%), hitting, slapping, or kicking (29.2%), being left out (28.5%), threatened (27.4%), stolen belongings (27.3%), sexual comments or gestures (23.7%), targeted in e-mail or blog (9.9%).
Name-calling and teasing are the most common. Maybe not surprising, these are also two of the types of bullying that can occur at home.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to
tease your own kid. Maybe it feels like you’re teasing yourself. You probably
share characteristics. Do you feel like you’re too short, have big ears, or
can’t do math? Maybe you’re just repeating what you’ve heard before.
Or maybe you think your comments
are harmless, but your kid sees them as serious: “You missed a couple goals
today in the game. Maybe we should be paying more attention at practice instead
of talking with our friends the whole time.” Or “You spend a lot of time in
your room. Try socializing with the rest of the family every once in a while.”
Each kid is different, and just because they came from you doesn’t mean they think exactly like you. Heck, they’re not even your age. If you’re going to poke fun at them (every great once in a while), make sure it’s lighthearted and not hurtful. Watch their reaction. Make it obvious you don’t mind if they tease you back. There is a fine line between mutual teasing and one-sided, being-picked-on.
Regrettably, the study suggests if
kids are teased daily, they transfer that behavior into other areas of their
lives. If it’s acceptable at home, then it’s acceptable at school or practice,
And I have to point out: kids can’t lash out at their parents every time they feel they’ve been insulted or belittled. It’s obviously easier to take it out on kids their own age.
I don’t know a clear path to stopping bullying but understanding some of the risk factors that go into it must help. If parents are name-calling and teasing their kids, and these are the number one and number two most frequent ways kids are getting bullied at school…? There has to be a connection.
I suggest talking to your kids the
same way you want them talking to their peers. Ask yourself: Is what I’m about
to say going to make the other person feel bad? If my parent said this to me
when I was a kid, would I be hurt?
And ask them for feedback. Let them know that they can tell you if you’ve gone too far. Did they take that as the joke you intended, or did you offend them. Meanwhile, tell them if they’ve gone too far. You’re training them in conversation and human relations. Make sure they know how to communicate effectively – and nicely.
Those are the two words you see when you open any of the multiple websites that offer online birth control prescriptions.
While this method of obtaining birth control may be helpful for women trying to renew their previous prescriptions, it’s also an easy way for young tweens to bypass a doctor’s trip to obtain a prescription.
Websites like “The Pill Club” and “Nurx” offer first-time birth control prescriptions to women as young as 13 years old. Girls under 18 do not need parental approval to get a birth control prescription.
These websites offer birth control options such as the pill, the ring and the patch. They also offer emergency contraception pills and at home HIV and HPV screening tests.
The process for obtaining a prescription is simple: you provide information about yourself, select the kind of medication you want, a doctor reviews your request, fills the prescription, and your new medication gets mailed right to you.
It is very easy to bypass questions in the process that are important, like if you’ve had your blood pressure measured in the last 6 months and the current medications you may be on. However, if you don’t answer the questions as accurately as possible, you may be prescribed a medication that negativily affects your health.
Insurance information is not required to obtain a prescription from these websites. Nurx, one of the most popular online contraceptive websites, says that you will pay as little as $15 without insurance.
Many young women dread telling their parents when they have become sexually active. The process can be awkward for both the child and parent. But it is necessary for the child to know the dangers that come with sexual activity.
Online birth control websites give young women the opportunity to skip the awkward talk and get a prescription without their parent’s knowledge.
The problem with getting birth control online for a first-time prescription is that many young women do not get informed about different methods of birth control and the side effects that may occur.
Some medications can affect young women suffering from mental and physical health problems. It is very important for anyone considering filling an online prescription for birth control to get well-informed.
Parents, I’ll be honest with you. There have been quite a few times I’ve had to lock myself away in my room or run to the bathroom at school to cry out a problem.
Most of the time, the problem itself wasn’t a big deal. But small issues pile up until sometimes you feel an overwhelming wave of emotions crashing down on you.
Often I’ll have a week in which this seems to happen every other day.
And that worries me.
I’m aware of the current statistics of mental health-related issues in people my age. It’s not uncommon to come across a friend who’s in therapy (or should be) for depression or anxiety.
Every time I get to a place where I
feel I might be getting into the “I need more help than just myself” territory,
I take a step back and evaluate where I am, the severity of my problems, and
how I can stop the panic mode.
I know I’m not the only one with
that self-awareness. So that leads me to the latest news regarding your teen
and their mental health.
Examine negative emotions
A new study from the University of Rochester (June 2019) shows that kids who are able to describe their negative emotions have a better chance of warding off depression than those who struggle with verbalizing their feelings. (Depression in this case can mean depression-like symptoms after a stressful event or actual clinical depression later in life.)
What this means is that communicating with your teen is key to their mental health. Not only will you have a better understanding of what’s going on in your child’s head, but you can actually help them be more mindful of their own thoughts and feelings.
Find the source of stress
Midterm exams. A big game. A rocky relationship. Friend drama. The list can go on and on.
The trick is finding the source of the negative emotions and dissecting how and why it made your kid feel bad.
Is she upset that her friend ignored her one text, or does she think that she and her friend are drifting apart? Is your son angry that he missed a goal that could’ve won the game, or is he feeling a lot of pressure to perform well on the field because his grades are slipping?
Is it overthinking? Are the negative
emotions valid? Do they have too much on their plate?
Make “talking it out” a normal part of the process
Think of how much time you could save yourself if you analyzed every situation that stressed you out. You’d be golden.
It’s not an easily attainable goal, but it’s one we should all strive to have.
I’ve designated my mom as my go-to person for emotional issues. Sometimes she gets a very detailed text listing all the bad things that happened in my day that led to the bad mood I was in while writing the text. Sometimes I just share with her that I decided to skip coffee that morning because I knew I would have a busy morning and caffeine would only heighten my anxiety.
She sits on the phone with me when
I need to talk out my problems out loud. She gives me advice to lessen my
stress factors. And sometimes all I need is validation that the emotions I’m
feeling about a situation aren’t completely moronic and childish.
What if you and your teen don’t have the kind of relationship in which you have heart-to-hearts every other day?
Offer anyway. It will always be in the back of their mind that mom or dad is there if they really need help.
Also, share your own experiences. It makes you relatable. Your kid can think of you more as a peer instead of an authority figure and in turn might be more open to opening up.
Encourage them to find their go-to person. If you know in your heart that there’s no way your teen is going to come to you with something like this, suggest that they consult with a good friend whenever they get stressed or overwhelmed.
Picture-perfect food, beaches, boats, vacation photos, selfies… All of these flood social media. They portray
a perfect life – that no one possesses!
The pressure to look and feel perfect is higher than ever
before. Everyone can fake their lives. And shove it in everybody else’s faces. You
know all of this isn’t the real truth. But does your adolescent?
Most Influential: Social Media
There’s your child, scrolling through Instagram, Twitter,
Facebook or any other social media platform. They find numerous accounts and
pictures of people with perfect bodies at perfect places posing perfectly. Celebrities
and influencers getting paid to post picture-perfect content.
But do you compare yourself to these images? Doesn’t it make it easier to see the flaws you have? Young girls and boys are extremely susceptible to this. Phys.org reports “teens who reported posting more pictures on social media, had a heightened awareness of their appearance, which was related to feeling more negative about their body.” The more time a teen spends online, the more likely they are to have a negative body image.
But you and I know the pictures that flood social media are unnatural
in pose and quality. No one has perfect skin or a perfect figure. “Fitspiration”
accounts, designed to promote one fitness expert over another, can influence
adolescences to create unhealthy eating habits and extreme exercise regimes.
Fashion models post about their “everyday” life and young minds tend to wonder
why their life is not like that. The standard that is being held up to your
child is unrealistic. One natural outcome is bad feelings about their body, and
How to Help
There is help out there. Psychologytoday.com offers an acronym to help teach your child about this aspect of the media.
F – Filter out content that makes them feel negative in
A – Avoid letting them spend all their time on social media.
C – Careful of comparing others lives to how their life is
E – Evaluate what the differences are between real and fake
It is important to teach your children that real life is not supposed to look perfect. Real life is beautiful in its own, unique way. It is different for everyone. Being comfortable with the way you look with today’s Internet is hard. However, for your child’s sake, teach them that everyone is perfect in their own way, on both the inside and outside.
School events. Sports. Concerts. Church. Socializing.
Lots to do. It can seem pretty stressful sometimes. You’re
running them around. Maybe you’re feeling you don’t have any real quality time
So, have you considered a family game night?
My Family Game Nights
I grew up in a very rural area. Hardly any neighbors. This meant no other kids
close by I could play with. So my family and I ended up pretty close.
When we weren’t running around for school functions and
sports, we would sometimes have family game night. Turns out, these were my
favorite nights. Dad might teach us how to play poker or other card games.
Maybe we’d break out an old board game like “The Game of Life”. Sometimes we’d
play Wii sports games or Xbox Kinect games. If you don’t know, these are games
where you actually get up off the couch and pretend to play ping pong or throw
a bowling ball. We were very competitive, but playing these games was always
fun. And it created a bond between us that I think will last forever.
Benefits of Family
Others have talked about the benefits of a family game night. This article at Www.cbc.ca talks about family game night can teach good sportsmanship. No one really stays mad at a family for every long, and Mom and Dad are always there to role model how to be a good loser. You also learn how to take turns and follow rules. Sometimes you get to practice an actual skill.
The article also says you can work on your communication
skills, and perhaps even negotiation skills. You should see the wheeling and
dealing we do playing Monopoly. And of, some games require cooperation and
I think all of these are important to learn at a young age.
You’ll use them over and over and family game night was one of the most
enjoyable time I had while building stronger relationships with my family.
Family Game Night
If you’re stuck on what kind of games to play, here’s a brief list from Www.today.com. It includes classic boards games al the way to video games. Some of them are actually quite recent. Some of their picks include:
The Game of Life
What Do You Meme?
I also recommend the “get off the couch” video games that come with PlayStation, Xbox, or Wii. Coommonsensemedia.org has a list of family video games and includes things like “Family Game Night: The Game Show”, “Hidden Folks”, “Trivial Pursuit”, “Wii Sports”, “Disneyland Adventures”, “Just Dance”, “Guitar Hero”, and many more.
Lastly, if you’re looking for more active games, and ones
that you may be able to conjure up from items laying around the house, consider
“Minute To Win It Games”. This was a popular TV show, but now refers to a while
category of games that are fun and can be completed in a minute or less. A
quick Google search can provide you with a list of “Minute To Win It Games”
with instructions and videos. Of course, don’t forget the old classics “Twister”,
“Nerf Gun Battles” and “Legos”.
I think you’ll enjoy family game night. Give a few tries, however. If you haven’t done it before, it will take some experimentation to figure out your own “house rules”. You’ll see what I mean. Enjoy!
Everyone experiences stress, and each person deals with it in his or her own way. But does your tween know how to handle the stresses of life?
Stress is how the body responds to
outside factors. This can be any kind of decision your body has to make.
We often think of stress as the way we feel when our boss hands us a large number of tasks to get done in a short period of time, or when we have to get our house cleaned before guests arrive. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, and overall exhausting.
So how does your tween deal with the stress in their lives?
Homework. Tests. Maintaining
relationships. Any kind of pressures.
They feel it, too. So it’s
important to talk with your tween to make sure they have healthy coping
mechanisms for tough times.
Here are some ways to help your tween manage stress.
Understand how their bodies react to stress.
This could be increased heart rate,
inability to focus, difficulty sleeping, etc. These factors can be extremely
counterproductive to dealing with whatever is causing the stress in the first
place. Knowing the signs of stress on the body ahead of time can help them
process the situation.
Help them know what is in their control and what isn’t.
Putting off that paper until the last minute will only lead to a stressful night, but planning to get it done ahead of the due date will provide time to go over it again and not worry. Free time is necessary to relax so the body can deal with conflict when it arises. If your tween can control what’s in their schedule, evaluate with them whether they are taking on more activities than they can handle.
Practice positive talk.
Stress can lead to negative self-talk, such as talking down to oneself and telling yourself you aren’t good enough. It leads to convincing yourself you aren’t capable of finishing it and can hinder your productivity for a decent amount of time. If this seems like a lot for an adult, think of how it is for a tween.
Find a relaxing activity.
One thing I’ve learned from my mom is that exercising and getting fresh air helps me get out of my head and get back to rational thinking. When I would get overwhelmed with work or overthink a situation, she would go on a walk around the block with me and talk things out. I could get out of my room and into a new environment, and it always left me in a better state of mind to take on my problem. You could try activities like exercising, meditation, listening to music, stepping away from the cause of stress for a little, taking deep breaths, etc.
One thing to remember is that the biggest way your tween learns how to handle difficult situations is by watching you.
So what do you do? Curse at it and
yell? Or problem solve in a calm manner?
Everyone likes a good challenge, your kids included. When a dare is involved, kids have no choice but to step up to whatever challenge they’ve just been confronted with – innocent, funny or extremely dangerous.
2018 brought more dangerous ones
than anything else. Here are the top 3 and the lessons they’ve taught parents
The Drake “In My Feelings” Challenge
The “In My Feelings” Challenge had kids walking along the passenger side of a car dancing the choreographed steps to the Drake song. Most times, the car was rolling along with no help from acceleration, so the speed was close to nothing. While it could have been mostly harmless if kids chose to do the challenge in an empty cul-de-sac or a quiet street, many accepted the challenge at stop lights and on regular-traffic, two-lane roads. (link1 and link2)
Putting themselves in the way of passing cars
Not slowing the car enough and injuring
themselves getting out
Any challenge involving a car is mostly dangerous, especially when the passengers/drivers are barely legal or not legal to drive the vehicle.
Tide Pod Challenge
This challenge needs little explanation at this point. Earlier in 2017-18, kids decided to start eating Tide Pods. Toxic laundry detergent. It’s not necessarily new that kids ingest things they shouldn’t. But the U.S. poison control centers had 10,000 calls because of the pods in 2017 alone. (link)
I confess, when I was in middle school/high school, many kids were eating mouthfuls of cinnamon and choking when their mouths got too dry. They also tried the “Chubby Bunny” challenge. They stuffed their mouths as full as they could with marshmallows. Many people ended up choking or throwing up.
Using a poisonous substance
Using items for something other than their
Even though your tweens are growing up and you don’t think you have to remind them not to eat unsafe items…
…remind them not to eat unsafe items.
This is when the subject sits on the ground, motioning like they’re shifting gear in a car, and a second person pulls their legs, so they speed away out of the frame. (link1 and link2)
Pulling the subject so hard they smack their
head off the ground
It looked harmless on the surface, but having
someone else in control of your body will likely result in injury at some point
2019 is looking a little more
promising when it comes to challenges.
So far, we’ve seen the “What the
Fluff” Challenge, confusing dogs by “disappearing” behind a blanket; the “Snoot”
challenge, making a hole with your fingers and having dogs stick their noses in
it; and the “Trash Tag” challenge, encouraging people to take before and after
pictures of an area of nature filled with trash and cleaning it up.
The moral of the story is not all challenges are bad, but analyze the challenges you see popping up on your social media and ask yourself (a) would my kid try this, and (b) do I want them trying this.
But remember, many times your kid will see a new viral challenge before you do. Encourage them to practice commons sense and think about the consequences of their actions.
For a little bit more from us on pop culture and social media, try…
The world is moving faster and
faster, and it has definitely changed since you were a kid.
As soon as children reach the teenage years, they go from all the leisure time in the world, with planned snack breaks and scheduled play dates, to no free time whatsoever. The moment they walk through the middle school doors, they are pushed to join clubs and activities that will help them on their journey to their dream college.
The only catch is that while they need to maintain their grades for their higher education ambitions, they also need: the right extracurriculars to complement their future majors (as if they would know what those might be as an incoming middle schooler); sports teams to stand out on college applications; teacher relationships for recommendations; and so on …
You get the point.
They need diversity in their interests, but consistency to show these interests are real and not just being used to build a resume. They have to do everything they can – but there is still only 24 hours in the day.
From Me to You
I‘m comparing myself to my peers
constantly. I can’t help it.
Especially when I do particularly bad on an assignment. I can’t help but peak at my neighbor’s paper to see how they did. This isn’t exactly something I’ve just recently picked up.
I had a lot of overachievers in my high school. The kind that are now at Ivy League schools pursuing the many varieties of engineering degrees. It’s hard to be around that much success when you aren’t physically, mentally or intellectually capable of that same success.
So what am I supposed to do?
I overcompensate now by overworking myself. Can I join a new club? How about get another job? If I can’t get that summer internship I want, I can at least make some money.
But, I’m realizing, I need to be able to stand out with the talents I was given. But it never feels like enough. It always feels like I need to be doing more.
But there are still only 24 hours in a day.
I never consider it an option for me to drop one of my tasks, even in my most stressed out times.
And here’s my point. More likely than not, your kid is in the same boat.
A UCLA survey of college freshmen found that incoming students at four-year colleges and universities spent half as much time socializing in their final year of high school as those who entered college in 1987 (that’s you, parents!) Kids today are spending more time keeping up with the busy day-to-day schedule they’ve created for themselves.
There are some negative effects to this, such as developing high amounts of stress. And maybe your kids are making decisions based on anxiety, rather than any real interest in the activity. Or, maybe you’re taking control of your kid’s after school activities. Are your decisions based on anxiety about their future? (For an article with a balanced view, try this: 2013 New York Times article.)
Importantly, I just had to do a little bit of research to turn up some surprising facts. Kids today are too busy to maintain even the basics of what you held down at 16, i.e. a job. About 60 percent of teens in 1979 were employed. About 34 percent of teens today have jobs, according to Business Insider. And that number is projected to go down even further.
Can’t teens even be motivated by money?
Well, maybe. But there is something more important. College.
Kids today are not only competing with the best and brightest in their school, many of whom are applying to the big Division I and Ivy League schools, but they’re also competing with just many, many more of their peers. More high school grads are going to college (and many, many fewer are taking STEM or trade jobs – which is a problem we’ll discuss another day.) Dr. Lauber has told us that when he went to college, only 50% of this high school peers in his small town went to college. Now, its more than 80%. Nationwide, college applications and college attendance has sky rocketed. In 1990 there were around 12 million undergrads. Today , there are 20.8 million (National education stats.)
Maybe this is all starting at too early of an age. I believe today kids want to know how they stack up in their classes. And with each new grade level, there is an even fiercer competition.
Quick question: have your “future plans” for your kid seeped into their “KID years?” Do they have to have perfect grades, two or more extracurriculars and a squeaky-clean record. If your kid thinks this, are they handling this pressure well?
How you can help
OK. I’m not a parent. So just ignore what I’m about to write if you want. But I want to be helpful if I can. So here is a quick summary (of what other people have written) about “what you can do about this.”
Keep a family planner. Encourage your child to have their own planner to keep track of assignments and after-school activities. But also keep one at home in a place you and your child will see every day, such as a bulletin board in the kitchen.
Talk through commitments with them before they decide to join. This saves a lot of stress in the long run. Are they joining because they want to? Or because they think they should? Is it worth taking that time away from homework and other obligations?
Make goals for each new activity. For sports and clubs, the goal might be to “always enjoy the work they’re putting in.” If they stop enjoying the activity, it might be time to re-evaluate spending time on it.
Prioritize with them. Add some perspective to which of their activities deserve the most attention when life gets busy. With school work, sports practice, a club meeting and an after-school job all in the same night, things can get hectic. which should they do first?
Make sure they have time to themselves each week. Not time just with friends. Not just time with family. Time alone. Reflection periods are necessary to the recharging process for kids (and you too, parents!) Let them play music in their room, or veg out on the couch at least some time each week.
And talk with them. How are they doing? A quick check on a car ride home, or maybe while gathering the laundry can make a real difference and alert you to things you want to respond to further.
To learn more about the inner struggles your child may be facing when it comes to Instagram, read our other blog post here.