12.15.20 | Coping With Loneliness Part II: A Panel Discussion

12.15.20| Coping With Loneliness Part II: A Panel Discussion

HRI is bringing back this important topic of loneliness during the holidays, this time with a panel of mental health, substance abuse, creativity, and spiritual experts!

Join the Healthy Relationships Initiative on December 15th from 12:00-1:30 pm EST and learn strategies to cope with and overcome loneliness during an unprecedented holiday season. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the program and hear live answers from our experts.

Watch the first program of this 2-part series, Coping With Loneliness During the Holidays, here.

Click here to register and receive Zoom details to connect on December 15.

Click here to connect to Facebook Live on December 15 at noon.

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 4

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 4

Tip 4: Model the online behaviors that you wish to see in your kids. 

We’ve all heard that children tend to do what we do and not what we say. With that in mind, how effective of a parenting strategy is it to tell your kids not to scroll while talking with their siblings, when you may be doing just that at the dinner table? 

In general, when setting rules around online behavior, it’s important for parents to stick to those standards as much as possible, and when that’s not possible, to make sure that children and teens understand why (i.e., “I cannot disconnect from my cellphone right now because I am waiting on a very important call from my boss.”) 

While parents can’t be expected to follow the same internet guidelines as their kids, it is helpful to show that you’ll stick to them as much as you can. ConnectSafely offers some insights for parents thinking about their own online behavior here

Another good way for parents to keep the boundaries around internet use is to establish rules that apply to the whole family and to make sure that adults and older teens are following these rules consistently

As parents, the most powerful way to encourage positive behavior from our children is to model those behaviors ourselves, such as being present and putting devices down during family moments, refraining from scrolling when doing other activities, and avoiding the use of screens before bedtime. 

As kids get older, parents should be especially aware of the content that they post online and the profiles that they follow, as kids are often highly aware of what their parents do online as well. 

In general, a good way to get kids to buy into what you are teaching them as a parent is to model those teachings yourself, especially in regards to online behavior. 

 

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 3

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 3

Tip 3: Set boundaries around internet and device use for children and teens. 

As many parents understandably relax their standards on internet use for kids during the pandemic, it is still very important for parents to set and keep boundaries around their online activity. Those boundaries can vary depending on your family’s needs. Parents of older children may need to focus more on time limits, whereas parents of younger children will want to pay close attention to the content their kids are viewing. 

Setting time limits around internet use is a good start, keeping in mind that younger children need less screen time than older kids for both recreational and educational purposes. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests the following guidelines for parents: 

  • Until 18 months of age limit screen use to video chatting along with an adult (for example, with a parent who is out of town).
  • Between 18 and 24 months, screen time should be limited to watching educational programming with a caregiver. 
  • For children 2-5, limit non-educational screen time to about 1 hour per weekday and 3 hours on the weekend days. 
  • For ages 6 and older, encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens. 
  • Turn off screens and remove them from bedrooms 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

There are many other ways to set boundaries around internet usage, including limiting apps or games, using parental controls to help prevent access to inappropriate content, and collecting devices before bedtime each day.  Common Sense Media has an extremely useful resource for parents on the different types of parental controls that are available for parents here

When thinking about these limits for your family, it’s important to recognize that every family is different and has different needs on a daily basis. Parents are encouraged to consider each guideline and how it may fit into their family dynamic before implementing boundaries for their family. 

 

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 2

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 2

Tip 2: Get savvy about what your kids are engaging with online including social network apps, games, and other platforms. 

We’ve shared this week that a crucial part of keeping children and teenagers safe online is encouraging open and regular discussion about how they spend their time, but another important thing that parents can do is to become savvy and learn how to use the platforms, apps, and games they interact with regularly. 

With young children, keeping screens and devices where you can see them is important.  Parents of children who are starting to use the internet should browse the history of various search engines and social media platforms regularly.  

Another way for parents to be savvy is to “sign up to the social networks and apps your children are using and find out how to use the privacy settings and reporting mechanisms.” This knowledge can empower parents in knowing how to spot any issues or safety concerns early on, and also to help parents in facilitating honest conversations with their kids. 

Other tips for parents include becoming familiar with their online friends and the different profiles that their kids follow on social media networks, teach them about how to keep their identity and privacy safe online, and make sure kids know about the signs of cyberbullying. This digital awareness is important in keeping parents knowledgeable and kids safe. 

As children get older, however, it can become harder to keep track of what they’re doing online and keeping open lines of communication becomes more and more important for parents to stay in the loop about their kids’ online behavior. 

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 1

Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tip 1

 

Tip 1: Have open conversations with your child/teen about their online activity.

With many children learning remotely and spending more time on screens, keeping kids safe online is a priority for many parents.  The first and perhaps most important thing parents can do is to talk openly with their child about their online activity.  

When parents make it a priority to have open conversations with their kids about their online activity, they pave the way for their kids to be honest with them about what they’re doing when they’re on their devices.   

KidsHealth states that, “Parents should be aware of what their kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves.” Read more here

It can be difficult to monitor teenagers online, especially as they begin to demand more privacy as they get older.  While this is healthy and normal behavior, it’s also important for parents to encourage open and consistent discussions about their online behaviors. Ask your teen about what they like to do online, what sites and apps they use, who they communicate with, etc.  If you can get involved and join in on games they play, or learn about the people and accounts they follow, you’re more likely to stay in the loop about their changing interests.  

Another source recommends that parents “teach them about their online reputation, too, and how they must be careful about how they behave, interact with people and represent themselves in such a public forum.” The best way for parents to consistently teach this is to talk about it, ask open ended questions, and allow opportunities for kids to share their thoughts and ideas without judgment. 

One of the most important thing parents can do to help keep their children and teens safe online is to talk often with them about how they use their devices and to keep their kids talking about what they do online on a regular basis.  The more parents encourage discussion and ask open-ended questions, the more they’ll know about how their children and teens spend their time online.

If you’ve only had good things happen to you

“Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” – Mary Tyler Moore

Sometimes, in life, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the bad things that happen to us. While it can be tough to challenge the negative thoughts, it’s important to try and remember that negative experiences also serve a purpose in our lives — even if it isn’t always obvious at first.

When we view every occurrence, whether negative or positive, as an opportunity to learn and grow, then we make the most out of what happens in life, rather than dwelling in the past or living in the negative.

Am I Burned Out?

If you’ve been feeling burned out, it’s important to spend some time checking in with yourself and taking steps to overcome the burnout. Leaving symptoms of burnout unchecked can lead to long-term feelings of despair of helplessness.

Click here to answer 10 questions and assess your burnout level today.

Whether you rate high on the assessment or not, you may benefit from the following HRI resources to help prevent burnout: