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Parenting Teens In the Age of Social Media

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There's no app for parenting teens online today - yet according to a recent PEW Research survey 95 percent of teenagers have access to a smartphone while almost half, 45 percent claim they are online constantly.  That's up significantly from the last survey in 2015 when it was 24 percent were on almost constantly.

What else has changed?
Where the kids are virtually hanging out.
In 2015, 71 percent of teens were still using Facebook as their primary social scene. Today it's dropped to fourth place. In the lead is YouTube at 85 percent, Instagram 72 percent and Snapchat at 69 percent.

Parenting in the age of technology.
No matter where our kids and teens are gravitating to online, parenting doesn't change.
Like growing up offline, it's never without challenges, however today it's compounded with their digital life being as important as their real one. As a matter of fact, most teen's believe that their online life is their life - period.

Although many parents …

Ways to Curb Cyberbullying for Teens

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In 2017 we heard a lot about digital resilience, but do we understand what it is? Helping our teens be ready for online hate and digital discourse offline can better prepare them when they are faced with it. Reality is that incivility exists - sadly this is a human behavior that we don't have control over, but we can choose how we handle it. Today our kids consider their digital life as important as their lives offline, so it's important to give them as much knowledge and encouragement to know they are not alone when they are faced with cyber-hate. Cyberbullying is not only impacting our teen's emotionally - it causes them to miss school, become withdrawn, drop out of sports or other activities they once enjoyed, failing when they were once good students, changing peer groups or becoming isolated and more. Teens can experience a higher level of stress and anxiety when they are struggling with online bullying. The most troubling outcome of cyberbullying and online hara…

Wilderness Programs: Does My Teen Need One?

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Have you been told your teen needs a wilderness program? As a Parent Advocate and Family Consultant in the Teen Help Industry since 2001, there’s no secret -it’s a big business. On a weekly basis we receive calls from parents that have parted with thousands of dollars after a conversation with someone that advises them that their teenager needs a wilderness experience. But how do you really know this? Take time to consider the following. Wilderness programs, why are some people always so quick to say, “Your teen needs a good wilderness experience.” Do you really understand what a wilderness program is? Do you understand that the majority of participants are asked to continue on to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or Therapeutic Boarding School (TBS) – which means your teen will be starting all over again with a new therapist as well as youpaying all over again for start-up fees? Why not start and finish in one place? Well, some Educational Consultants will tell you that your child n…

Teen Help for Parents at their Wit's End

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As a parent that was once in your shoes over a decade ago, I've seen a shift in the teen help industry. It's still a big business, however with the challenges of medical insurance limiting what they will cover, average parents are having to seek options that may not be exactly what they expected or in the best interest of their child.

Marketing and SEO has really improved over the past several years. Now we are witnessing magnificent websites of programs that have had the worst reviews, some lack clinical credentials, accredited academics and other concerning issues climbing to the top of the searching engines. Sadly - there are even some unscrupulous sales (marketing) people that sell these types of programs. As I frequently share with parents, it's important to always speak with an owner or director of a program -- someone that is actually located at the facility. Someone that will have a vested interest in your child's recovery process -- since it reflects their pr…

Parents Rank Bullying and Cyberbullying as Top Health Concern

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Internet safety, cyberbullying and bullying is a major concern for people of all ages. Whether you’re tween is being harassed online or in school, or maybe a teenager that is being mocked on Facebook or any social media platform, as a parent it’s your job to try to be involved as much as possible. This isn’t always easy, which is probably why it’s topping the highest health concern among parents according to a new national poll. Each year, the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asks a national sample of adults to identify health topics that are a “big problem” for children and teens. The number one concern parents stated was cyberbullying/bullying at 61 percent with internet safety at 55 percent. Communication is key We understand that talking with our children is crucial when it comes to online safety. Are you someone that believes your child is more tech-savvy than you are? Use that to your advantage, ask them to teach you about apps and other things yo…

Sexual Bullying and Slut Shaming: The Impact on Youth

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There are many forms of online cruelty. The irony of it is I read so much about youth bullying, and I don't want to diminish that it is an important issue -- but the fact is adults are not only victims of harassment, they can be the perpetrators too.   As I continue to write about bullying and cyberbullying, it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways people have discovered to hate others -- whether it is on the playground or virtually, peer cruelty doesn't seem to have any limits or boundaries.  Yes, the very people that should be our children's role models (sports figures, celebrities, politicians, teachers, elders, etc... people we should respect) can be the direct people that are acting like children online or otherwise. We have heard the stories of fat shaming, face shaming, parent shaming (moms judging moms), baby shaming, cyber-shaming and this year I read more about the ugliness of slut shaming (from adults). Most have heard and read about revenge porn

Teen Help for Cyberbullying

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Is your teen a victim of cyberbullying? Warning signs your teen might be struggling with online harassment:
Appears to be sad, angry or even frustrated after texting or online.Avoids wanting to talk about their digital activity. (At which point you should encourage them to get online with you, have them teach you something about social media - a new app, anything to get them talking. Open the lines of communication as much as possible).Suddenly stops using their digital devices.Becomes abnormally withdrawn from activities they typically like.Finds excuses to not be at school or with friends.Drop in grades, underachieving. Have you exhausted your local resources? Local therapy is not working or your teen is refusing to attend or engage? Keep in mind, cyberbullying is a serious emotional concern. Teen's will go back and re-visit the mean post/comment over and over again and obsess on it. They will eventually become extremely distraught and depressed. Some teens have considered sui…