As our kids head back to school, what parent isn't obsessing over new worries (please tell me I'm not alone!)? A new C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan finds when it comes to our kids' overall well-being, most of us are concerned about the effects of bullying and cyberbullying above all else. But right behind those worries? A host of issues including internet safety, stress, motor vehicle accidents, and school violence.
My kids are little young for me to worry about some of these issues—I hope!—but I'll admit that I'm more worried about them as the first day of school draws near. For now, I'm concerned about how they will adjust to new teachers, classmates, and schedules. Um, and how I'll adjust! And how all of the newness will impact the overall closeness of our family and our stress levels.
Indeed, Gary Freed, M.D., M.P.H., a Mott professor of pediatrics and the poll's co-director said in a press release, "When it came to their own kids, parents' biggest child health concerns depended on their children's ages."
Bullying is such a large concern for parents of kids of all ages because this all-too-common problem been linked to depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
He commented about older kids, "Parents should regularly discuss internet safety with their children and teens and ways to prevent problems." Freed added, "Simple effective strategies may include not providing personal identifying information on social media, chat platforms, or in shared gaming environments."
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For more online safety tips, click here! And remember, the more we talk to and strategize with our children about the issue of bullying and everything else they deal with in our increasingly stressful world, the better.