QUIZ: How is Your Mental Health at Work?

Have you ever wondered about your mental health as it relates to your job?

 

Your mental health affects how you feel, think, and act. Take this quiz to see if it might be time to improve your mental health.

 

  • Read each question
  • Choose the response that most closely fits your situation
  • Upon completion, follow the instructions to reveal your level of mental health

(Don’t worry. If you’re a mess, we offer plenty of tips to get you back on track.

1. When you wake up in the morning, are you…

 

  1. a) Excited to get to work?
  2. b) Dreading the workday?
  3. c) Numb and just do what you have to do?

2. When you first get to work, do you…

  1. a) Jump right into a task?
  2. b) Procrastinate because you can’t bear to start?
  3. c) Take your time and eventually start working?

3. When a coworker talks to you, do you…

  1. a) Enjoy having communication?
  2. b) Cringe and want to be left alone?
  3. c) Smile, but move on?

4. When your boss or manager talks to you, do you…

  1. a) Appreciate the communication?
  2. b) Want to scream and run away?
  3. c) Listen politely and then carry on?

 

5. If you think of your workload, you think…

 

  1. a) ”I’m motivated by the challenge!”
  2. b) ”I just got tossed into the ocean with cement shoes”
  3. c) ”This is what my hamster must feel like on his wheel.”

 

6. When you think of your workspace, you think…

 

  1. a) “It’s really a pleasant space.”
  2. b) ”I’d rather be in a dungeon with rats and snakes.”
  3. c) ”I don’t pay much attention. It’s fine.”

 

7. Do you spend most of your workday thinking about…

 

  1. a) Your job, your family, and how you will spend the weekend?
  2. b) How miserable you are and how you can’t wait to get out of there?
  3. c) Your job, your family, and your problems?

 

8. Is your workspace…

 

  1. a) Neat and organized?
  2. b) Like the aftermath of a tornado site?
  3. c) Messy, but you can find things if you have to?

 

9. Do you feel appreciated or positively acknowledged for the work you do?

  1. a) Absolutely
  2. b) Never
  3. c) Sometimes

10. How many times in the past year have you taken sick days?

 

  1. a) between 0 and 3
  2. b) between 4 and 7
  3. c) between 8 and 15

 

11. Which best describes your daily experience at work?

 

  1. a) Grateful for the job and you typically enjoy your day
  2. b) Worst part of my day
  3. c) It is what it is

 

Congratulations on completing the test (and you didn’t even have to study!)

 

Tally up how many questions you answered with an “a”, “b”, and “c”.

 

If you answered all 12 questions with an “a”, then you are rockin’ it with an abundance of positive mental health. You also, seemingly, have a great job! Keep up the terrific attitude and may good health and many bonuses remain in your future.

 

If you answered 6 or more questions with an “a”, your mental health at work is in pretty good shape. It seems as if you like your job for the most part. Perhaps you have an occasional awkward moment with a coworker or manager. You can improve your well-being by using your break time to take a walk or read a book—find a quiet zone to relieve stress during the workday.

 

If you answered 8 or more questions with a “c”, you may feel a little disconnected. Your mental health could be improved. Perhaps you are too passive. Do you want to feel better at work? Do you want to enjoy your job? It might be time to improve your communication skills. Find ways to address what’s bothering you in an appropriate but direct way. Once you become a bigger part of your company, you will feel more alert and passionate.

 

If you answered mostly “a” and “c”, fret not, because your work mental health glass is still half-full. Although there are issues, you can improve your situation by altering a few small things. Perhaps you feel isolated on the job. Or, maybe you don’t feel properly trained or supported. Or maybe you are fairly motivated and others around you are dragging you down. Take a couple of minutes each day to “meditate” in your workspace. You don’t have to sit cross-legged—just close your eyes and go within. Take a few deep breaths. You will feel renewed and your mental energy will be boosted.

 

If you answered mostly “b” and “c”, you may be struggling more than you need to be. It appears you are not particularly happy, and you’ve given up caring somewhat. It will be a change, but the first step to improving your mental health at work is to focus on the good. It may be a challenge to come up with anything positive off the bat, but don’t stop searching. Even if you like the air conditioning, a particular customer, or that you don’t have to work on the weekend—pick something that pleases you. Also, if your workspace is messy, spend a little time getting organized. You will feel proud and will certainly be more productive.

 

If you answered 9 or more questions with a “b”, it might be time to seek new employment. But, before you blame all your anger or misery on your job, check to see if some of the negativity is coming from within. One thing you can do to improve your mental health at work is to focus on the present. Try not to think of all the distressing things bothering you outside of work. Attempt to stay in the moment and give the job (and yourself) a chance. Put warm, happy photos around your workspace. If you are permitted, play music in the background. There are many ways you can create a more positive experience for yourself, even if the environment isn’t ideal.

 

Dr. Dave Campbell Commentary:

 

The Surgeon General of the United States has described the categories of well-being that affect quality-of-life. Self-perceived health, social-connectedness as well as physical and mental health are three of them. Each can be fostered by a healthy, happy and productive workplace. As a physician, I have many patients tell me something like, “Doc, it feels like I’m always at work with no time for myself or my family and friends”.  Odds are that nearly as much time of your time is spent on the job as at home-awake that is.

Remind yourself that it could be worse. Many countries are not as prosperous as the United States. Many people in this country and across the world don’t even have jobs to go to. Take a hard look at your own circumstances in the workplace. Look for the good and foster them. Identify those factors that make for a bad day at work and make them better-with effort.

 

For more information about your mental health, check out GetThrive.com today!

 

 

Tips On How To Control Depression

Depression has many levels of severity, from mild to clinical.  The National Center For Health Statistics (NCHS), claims more than 8% of adults over the age of 20, stated they had some form of depression over a two week period.  Women were over half of this percentage.  Depression is an illness that can be both debilitating and may effect physical health too.  How may we get a control of the disease and what, if any natural remedies may be used for such a complex condition?  

MILD DEPRESSION

Depression can be a very hard illness to diagnose with many labeling it as being sad or feeling down.  Don’t rush to get pills to solve mild depression, instead ask a doctor if there are any alternative measures you may try first. Feeling low for a period of time and suffering from at least three or more of the following may be a sign of mild depression:

  • Lack of motivation over a period of time
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Irresponsible behavior like indulging in drugs or alcohol
  • Insomnia
  • Desperateness
  • Non Social
  • Physical pain with no specific cause

 

KEEPING MILD DEPRESSION UNDER CONTROL

Many with mild depression wait and see if the feelings disappear over time and then seek professional advice if they don’t.  A doctor may recommend the following to help cope with mild depression:

  • Although exercise is not a conclusive therapy in the fight against mild depression (Medical News Today), many medical professional believes there is a potential, with further research, that exercise may help control the symptoms , believing that nerve cell improvement will begin to relieve symptoms following exercise.
  • Spend at least ten minutes a day doing something personally enjoyable like: walking, running, aerobics, or dancing etc.  Consistency and a daily routine is the key when it comes to exercise potentially helping depression
  • Counselling and Talk therapy. If the onset of depression has an obvious cause e.g. bereavement, anger, relationship problems; specific counseling may help in managing the illness.  Anything from group therapy to Mindfulness therapies like, meditation, gentle yoga and breathing exercises.

 

SEVERE DEPRESSION

With more than 3 million case of clinical depression in the US each year, the National Institute Of Mental Health conducts various trials into the illness.  If the following symptoms are present, visiting a doctor is imperative:

  • Low self esteem
  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Guilt
  • Intolerant of people and things
  • No Motivation
  • Anxious
  • Difficulty making choices
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of libido
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite or weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Moving or speaking more slowly
  • Avoiding social contact
  • Neglecting areas of your life like hobbies
  • In some sever cases an onset of psychotic symptoms

 

KEEPING SEVERE DEPRESSION UNDER CONTROL

These symptoms can be crippling so visiting a doctor is the first step in helping keep the illness under control.  In today’s society, people are more aware of the illness and the associated stigma is no longer haunting its sufferers.  Unfortunately, at this moment in time, an all natural solution is not possible when it comes to severe depression.  There are many options for patients, some of which include:

  • Antidepressant medications.
  • Psychotherapy or counseling
  • Somatic therapies. ECT (electroconvulsive treatment) is one of the options but this is avoided except in severe cases
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Eat well (doctor may refer a dietician)

Due to the many variants of depression, seeking medical help is advised to help control the illness with each sufferer seeking an individual treatment plan.  With a professional support network, the illness can be controlled, leading to a positive future.     RESOURCES https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsanddisorders/depression.aspxhttps://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ https://www.psycom.net/helping-someone-depressed

Green Workspaces: Benefits for Health and Productivity

A firm in New York City has designed its office to promote health, wellness, productivity, and employee happiness. Will this be the way of the future?

The First of Many More?

The company’s name is Primary and they pride themselves as being the first wellness-centered workspace. They’re promote green living and optimum health by providing yoga classes, ergonomic furniture, bike racks, and organic salads. Meditation is encouraged, acupuncture is offered, and there are even showers and changing rooms.

Of course, not every company or school can provide such an abundance of holistic benefits. But heading in that direction is a positive step. Hopefully, soon-gone will be the days of classrooms and offices having no natural light, drab walls, and too few opportunities for bodily movement.

Mental Benefits

It’s an extreme effort to attend to a task 100%. That’s why we become mentally exhausted. Focusing on something like a tree, a picture of a sailboat, or a photo of kittens doesn’t require effort. Images, which don’t require brain effort, actually let our brain rest. We regain our ability to focus on more difficult tasks. This is one argument for classrooms and offices to be functional green spaces.

According to research from the University of Illinois (Department of Landscape Architecture), students learn and perform better on exams if they have the accessibility to see greenery. And according to Urban Greening Research at the University of Washington, adult office workers report less illness and more enthusiasm for their job when there’s opportunity for access to green space or nature during the workday.

Restorative Environments

Results of these studies hope to encourage improved school and office design, as well as break-time spent outdoors. More windows, green walkways, and small parks can create a “nature” setting in an urban environment. Courtyards can be “greened-up” by painting benches, hanging flower terrariums, and even adding bonsai trees. Indoor plants work wonders, adding a calming effect, more oxygen, and removing toxins from the air.

Besides those elements, restoration can occur from practicing yoga, meditation, eating fresh foods, and being surrounding by others with a positive energy. It’s a great time to update your personal workspace. In fact, dropping a hint (or a copy of this article) to your boss may affect positive improvement in your workplace too.

 

Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Willpower

Feeling slightly determined, but don’t have enough willpower to get the job done? Every commitment we make requires motivation and follow-through if we expect to be successful. Maximizing your willpower is possible, and the following guide can help you achieve your goals.

 

Where There’s a Willpower, There’s a Way!

The American Psychological Association describes willpower as the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. It’s basically, “the psychological science of self-control.” So, if you can keep yourself from giving in to something that distracts you and stay focused on the big prize, you’ll be set!

 

How Can I Maximize My Willpower?

In order to meet your goals, you need to get motivated to take action. Motivation is compelled by emotions. You can have thoughts about what you want to do, but in order to get jazzed up, you really have to feel it.

Find your motivation and you’ll find the core of your willpower. Most often “reward” is the most powerful motivator. You can feel rewarded from:

 

  • losing weight
  • quitting smoking
  • buying something new
  • getting a promotion

 

along with a plethora of other positive goals.

Willpower is a muscle. You need to practice and work it. Picture your goal and visualize your ultimate aim. Learn to ignore temptation and distraction. What will your reward be?

Keep in mind, the reward for exercising self-control has to be more important to you than indulging in the immediate behavior.

 

Get Ahead with The Ultimate Guide

Is your lack of willpower affecting your productivity? Do you feel that if you could maximize your willpower that you would be more successful—in all areas? Then check out the following tips:

 

  1. Research suggests that willpower can be strengthened with practice. If something tempts you (like a chocolate bar), practice not eating it. Next time the same scenario comes up, it will be easier for you to resist. You will have gained willpower strength.

 

  1. Exerting self-control regularly increases willpower strength. Try and exert self-control throughout your day, everyday. Without regular practice, your power decreases.

 

  1. Make your goals specific and clear. For example, “I want to give up drinking alcoholic beverages for one month,” or “I want to be promoted to manager within a year,” or “I’d like to buy a new SUV in two years.”

 

  1. Make a list of what motivates you. Do you enjoy eating? Then, if you know you are allowed a dessert if you workout, you are more apt to go to the gym that day. Do you want to earn more money? Then, you may work extra hard at impressing your boss and colleagues. Figure out what you want and then hopefully you will be rewarded with it after your efforts of self-control and willpower.

 

  1. Make a list of temptations and distractions. Identify your weaknesses. If you love social media but have a work deadline, turn off your phone. If you love iced-flavored coffee drinks but you’re trying to shed some pounds, make coffee at home. Figure out your temptations and be proactive in avoiding them.

 

  1. Constantly remind yourself of the rewards if you stick to your plan. Practice an “if” and “then” philosophy—implement a behavior with intention. For example, you may say yourself, “If I exercise daily, then I will increase my weight loss and muscle tone.” What is the “if” that you have to do to meet your goal?

 

  1. Find meaning in your motivator. When you have a “purpose”, you’re more likely to take action. People want to feel as if their behavior and accomplishments have value. Will your actions “make a difference”?

 

  1. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise. These three are essential to optimum mental health. And after all, willpower requires brainpower.

 

Practice resisting desires that steer you off the path towards your ultimate goal. Congratulate and reward yourself when you succeed in implementing self-control. Before you know it, your willpower will strengthen and you’ll be able to achieve the maximum!

 

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-willpower-20151107-story.html

https://getthrive.com/tag/motivation/

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

Dan Ariely—Ted Talks

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/willpower-workouts-productivity

 

 

 

Why You Should Learn to Say NO

Our lives are fast-paced, high-powered, and hot-wired. Blame it on technology, digital demands, or caffeine, but we are forced to put the pedal to the metal every day. But at what point do things get out of control? At what point is our mental health affected?

Read on to learn some ways on how to stay focused, realize when things are out of control, and when and how to just say NO.

The work-life balance is tough—there’s no denying this. And if we aren’t careful, things can spiral out of control very quickly. From managing a job, raising a family, running a business, finding time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, run errands, spending time with friends, family, and loved ones, it’s exhausting…

But life shouldn’t be that way…and it doesn’t have to be.

Sometimes finding the right work and life balance means learning how and when to say no.

Imagine this: You wake up in the morning before the crack of down, you tie your sneakers, plug in your headphones and hit the pavement, you shower, dress, and make your coffee for the day. And before 7am hits, there are four new projects on your plate, 20 new emails after it took you all morning to get through 10, 3 missed calls, and some how you have to find time to prepare that meeting before the afternoon.

You’re exhausted before lunchtime, and the day isn’t even over yet…

After months and months of this routine, not only is it physically and mentally exhausting, but it can also wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. Your sleep patterns can be interrupted, you tend to make poorer diet choices, you begin forgetting things, your quality, productivity, and performance levels suffer, and you just feel…sluggish. And the constant state of tension and stress is pushing you one step further to a mental break down…

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to start saying no.

But if you are like me, then you might find that saying no is hard. You want to help with projects, you want to help clients, you want to help your coworkers and you just want to be successful. But learning when to say no is also crucial to success. Taking on more than what you are physically and mentally capable of doesn’t mean failure, and it doesn’t mean you can’t hack it; it simply means that you are making intelligent choices that are important for productivity, work load, and simply managing others’ expectations.

If you still have trouble saying no, then another way that often helps is being realistic with time frames. For example, if your manager or a team member asks for your help on a project or a friend or family member asks you to plan a sleepover for the kids on an already jammed packed day, then tell them that you are swamped and that you would need at least two weeks to work on their project or plan a different night for a slumber party.

This isn’t entirely saying no, but politely saying, “not right now, how about a different day?” You are being honest, upfront, and managing others’ expectations effectively and even proposing a solution that works for all involved.

Remember, if you focus too much on making everyone else happy, then you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Finally, learning how and when to say no is something that successful people learn how to do. Break away from the mind frame that “no” equals “failure”, and get into the habit of recognizing your own limits, staying focused, and only taking on projects that you can finish in a realistic time frame that works for you.

 

How to Be a Mental Health Hero

There are so many individuals who don’t know how to discuss issues related to mental illness. Why? One reason may be that these people don’t understand how a person with mental illness really behaves. Another reason may be that they simply cannot wrap their heads around the deep-seated symptoms of this condition and how it can affect one’s life.

Did you know that one in three people will experience issues with mental health at some point in life? These few tips can help to make you a mental health hero to someone you know and love.

1. More than in the Mind – Mental Issues are REAL…

Some individuals, though with good intentions, may tell their depressed family members and friends that they should really try to deal with the situation as best as possible on their own. Some may recommend that medication is probably the only option.

It is best, however, to take an empathic approach and really try to understand what a person with a mental health issue has to endure or experience.

2. Take an Empathic Approach

It might be a daunting task to talk candidly about the issues related to mental health. It is even harder to be open about it. However, with an open mind, you could put yourself in a position to hear some powerful and brave stories, allowing yourself to empathize with those who suffer from these diseases. And yes, mental health problems can be a disease.

Once you are aware and have an understanding of mental health problems that some people face, your mission should be to support services and activities that promote mental health.

3. Help with Facilitating Recovery

A mental health hero is one who makes an endeavor to facilitate recovery of people with mental health issues.

For example, let’s say you know someone who is depressed and is unable to cope with life in a healthy way. Then, the worst thing you could do is turn a blind eye. You should do what you can to improve that person’s life.

No one is expecting you to become a professional. Even if you are not a mental health professional who has assisted numerous clients with mental health issues, there are still things you can do. For example, you can take the time to learn and understand mental health issues and diseases and even volunteer your time and services in a mental health center.

4. Raise Support and Awareness

If you have the resources (or time to find the resources), you can set up a mental health support group in your locality. This can be done to raise awareness about mental health and its impact to families and communities.

With a support group, you can help others to break the stigma associated with mental health. You can inspire others by the way that you deal with mental health individuals, helping them to overcome their difficulties.

The support group could also make it easier for mental health patients to have access to specific resources and professional advice.

If you are unable to start a support group for mental health issues, you can do your part by offering counseling to mental health patients who are having a hard time staying in a job or returning to work. It could be a co-worker or family member.

You can be a mental health hero by being a pioneer for innovative and unique ways that others are supporting individuals with mental health issues. This includes the family of the mental health patient.

5. Make a Creative Contribution

There are people who don’t actually make a living in the mental health field, but have contributed to the cause.

Here are some great examples of how to become a mental health hero:

  • If you are a writer, you could write a book or even blog about mental health, possibly highlighting the story of someone suffering from this condition.
  • Design a website providing information and organizational resources.
  • Create a Youtube channel dedicated to mental health in order to get the word out.
  • Use your career as a foundation to support mental health (if you are an artist, writer, or musician, for example).

Your creativity could be utilized to bring the awareness to the public and reducing the prejudice and stigma in society.

Mental health heroism is all around us – from researchers to teachers, politicians to therapists and the elderly to children and adults. Once you know of someone else with mental illness, you can take up the baton and help. If you don’t know someone with mental illness, you can forge forward by joining the fight with other organizations and groups.

 

 

Helping Kids Overcome Trauma

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, half of the children in America have faced at least one type of traumatic event in their young lives. In lieu of the recent violence (from humans and weather), that statistic has probably, sadly, increased. The good news is that early acknowledgment and treatment has shown to help youngsters successfully recover from various types of trauma.

What is Trauma?

The clinical definition of trauma includes a personal experience of injury, threat of death or injury, or witness of the same. A child’s response generally involves helplessness, intense fear, and horror. Additionally, children may experience trauma from seeing or hearing about events that did not happen to them personally. Even an event that occurred far away can trigger feelings of danger and extreme worry.

Signs of Trauma in Youngsters

Unfortunately, childhood trauma can result from many different events. The most common are: physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, bullying, violence or substance abuse in the home, war, terrorism, and natural disasters. Keeping an eye out for particular signs may help you recognize if your child may be affected by trauma.

For children under six, some of the symptoms of trauma may be: extreme clinging to a caregiver, excessive crying, screaming or whimpering, moving aimlessly or becoming immobile.

For children between six and 11, you may notice: nightmares, complaints of physical problems, loss of interest in friends and fun activities, depression, development of unfounded fears.

For adolescents age 12 to 18, they may reveal signs such as: having flashbacks or nightmares, abusing alcohol or drugs, being disruptive or destructive, feeling isolated or depressed, having suicidal thoughts.

The Importance of Expedient Intervention and Help

The need for early intervention and treatment for children who’ve experienced trauma is tremendous, especially if it’s been more than one event. The stress of the event(s) can interrupt brain development. Physical health, the ability to learn, and proper socialization are all at risk. Emotional issues, if not confronted in a timely space, can create negative challenges for many years to come. As adults, without treatment during childhood, the ramifications of trauma can effect successful employment and increase risk of psychiatric disorders.

Treatments for Psychological Trauma

Any type of appropriate, caring intervention from an adult will reap benefits to a child. Specifically, however, many experts suggest trauma-based cognitive therapy if the youngster’s state doesn’t improve after several weeks. In the meanwhile, here are a few tips for helping your kids at home.

  • Listen to your child’s fears. Even if they seem absurd or unfounded to you, remove judgment and comfort your child. Do not feed into their fears, but don’t discard them either.
  • Reassure your child is safe. Create routines to keep stress levels low. Keep your own stress in check—that will help you both.
  • Make positive future plans. Help your child focus on something optimistic. Distract his/her thoughts from the negative past or dark thoughts.
  • Take away any blame your child might be placing on him/herself. Remind the child you love him/her and you have his/her back.
  • If you don’t know the answers to questions, don’t make them up. It’s OK to admit to your child that you don’t know.
  • Encourage a healthy diet and good rest.

Children can be pretty resilient, so any help that can be offered will have value.

Recently, the Sesame Workshop launched a new program. It’s aimed at helping kids deal with fear resulting from the increase in natural disasters and mass shootings. Their program offers videos, books, and digital activities created to help provide coping strategies.

Sesame’s initiative is similar to what cognitive-behavior therapists would suggest as an effective treatment. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults can learn how to better empathize with the child (by trying to see the child’s perspective.) The child is offered suggestions on how to recognize thinking and behavior patterns and replace them with other, more positive ones. Puppets, art, music, talk, etc. are all tools that can be used to help the child feel safe and learn how to self-soothe and heal.

Check out GetThrive! for other informative articles to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Sources:

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/10/07/Sesame-Street-launches-Muppet-program-to-help-kids-cope-with-trauma/8501507394116/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ts&utm_medium=14

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Claudio_Ortiz5/publication/5408453_Evidence-Based_Psychosocial_Treatments_for_Children_and_Adolescents_Exposed_to_Traumatic_Events/links/00b49529c968e08334000000.pdf

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/helping-children-cope-with-traumatic-stress.htm

http://lookthroughtheireyes.org/what-is-childhood-trauma/

 

 

 

 

 

Cyberbullying is a Worry for Moms and Dads Too

We read all the time about the unfortunate act of cyberbullying amongst teens and its detrimental effects. Kids these days are subjected to a more dangerous type of shaming and teasing than we’ve ever experienced in past generations. Rightly so, parents are greatly concerned about cyberbullying and its potential negative mental health threat to their children.

Online Bully, Bully

Cyberbullying is a very real and seriously, damaging activity. Some Internet users, both young and old, derive a sense of power from admonishing others online. Often times, they shame, threaten, or humiliate. Sometimes, it’s done anonymously. The bottom line is that those actions may have repercussions that can affect the victim’s mental health in a significantly negative fashion.

For teens, especially, bullying peers online is a perilous practice. Victims can feel harassed, intimidated, and even tormented. This can create severe anxiety, depression, and, at worst, suicide. Experts in the field, as well as parents, understand that cyberbullying can be the source of major mental health problems for youngsters.

Parents Voice Concerns

Recent research out of the University of Michigan revealed informative data regarding the issue of teen Internet-intimidation. A poll was taken from over 1,500 parent participants who had kids 18 and under. As it turned out, cyberbullying was one of the moms’ and dads’ biggest worries. In fact, one-third of the participants were concerned about their children’s mental health in regards to online bullying.

The other greatest concern for the polled parents was overall Internet safety. Their unease ranged from online predators to pornography to their children providing too much personal information to the wrong sources. These apprehensions are well founded considering the vast, virtual world in which we live today.

Internet Safety Tips for Teens (and Others)

There are a lot of sites that offer proactive strategies for safe Internet use as well as how to talk to your kids about healthy online habits. Some experts recommend calling it something other than “Internet Safety.” They claim that youngsters either rebel or shut down from the lecturing, or become fearful from the term.

We want our youngsters to gain all the advantages the World Wide Web has to offer. Immediate access to all types of information can be incredibly beneficial on many levels. But obviously, safety is a key concern. Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. have some helpful advice for parents:

  • Talk to other parents and your kids about what they are reading and seeing. Educate each other and look for ways to avoid placing yourself in a cyberbully situation.
  • Protect your password from EVERYONE! Remind your children that, unfortunately, friends come and go at this age. Even the best of friends should not have your passwords.
  • Don’t post any photo you would not want your grandparents to see. Use that as a barometer for sensible photo updates. This way, no bully can post a photo of you that can be misconstrued as sexual or as something you don’t want to represent.
  • Never open emails or files from people you don’t know. Just delete them. You don’t need a virus or a bully hacking into your account.
  • If you log on to any of your accounts away from your own computer, DON’T FORGET TO LOG OUT. If you’re at the library checking emails or whatever, if you don’t log out, the next person that uses that public computer has access to your stuff—all your stuff.
  • Think before you post. You never know whom you may offend. Triple check your photo or writing before it goes out into the online world, never to be taken back…
  • “’Google” yourself. Regularly search your name in every major search engine. If any personal information or photo comes up which may be used by cyberbullies to target you, take action to have it removed before it becomes a problem.”

And finally, don’t BE the cyberbully. The ramifications of your actions can be dire. Kindness and empathy are essential when commenting online. And as most moms used to say, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”

Teach by example. If you don’t want your kid bullied or to be a bully, model him/her a positive way.

Sources:

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/08/26/Poll-1-in-3-US-parents-worry-about-cyberbullying/4401503774318/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=20

http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/10/25/teaching-internet-safety/

https://cyberbullying.org/Top-Ten-Tips-Teens-Prevention.pdf