Eat Chat Parent to tackle tech
The world of technology is confusing for many of us. Do you know which app is your child’s favorite? Is your child communicating online with strangers? What happens when there is cyberbullying, whether it’s a mean email or a rant on Instagram? We all have questions about how we can best use technolo-gy—and how to respond when the cyber-world is inappropriate, scares or angers.
On Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Eagle River Youth Coalition and Vail Health will present “Tech-nology Misuse,” led by cyberbullying expert Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., as part of its Eat Chat Parent Series on mental health. Dr. Hinduja will help families interpret how the young person uses and relies on the internet. He will then examine cyberbullying, sexting and unwise social media use and provide specific strategies to prevent misuse.
This is a timely topic. According to http://www.dosomething.org, nearly 43 percent of kids have been bullied online, and one in four experienced cyberbullying more than once. Locally, according to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, almost 25 percent of middle school students had reported being cyberbullied in the past 30 days. Add in that, on average, teens spend seven to nine-plus hours per day (outside of school) on their devices; our youth are susceptible to cyberbullying.
Dr. Hinduja will highlight three areas of cyberbullying: identification, prevention and response. In addi-tion, he will discuss sexting and the negative effects this type of cyberbullying has on a victim. The harm-ful and unhealthy outcomes that evolve from cyberbullying and sexting are serious: anxiety, depression, self-harm and at its most extreme, suicide. Our community is affected by these outcomes whether your child is a victim or not.
Together, through dialogue and education, the goal is to change the anxiety, fear and woe that are cre-ated from the impacts of cyberbullying.
“Vail Health has made behavioral health a priority, and we are seeking ways to provide services this community desperately needs,” said Vail Health President and CEO Will Cook. “Partnering with Eagle River Youth Coalition to host these important presentations is one step in addressing the mental well-being of our youth and adults.”
Eat Chat Parent presentations are one step in creating an open environment where all young people feel comfortable talking, whether they’ve been a victim, or know someone who is a victim. Youth fifth grade and up are encouraged to attend with an adult. Learning together reinforces the messages in a very pos-itive way.
According to Dr. Hinduja, attendees will leave the presentation equipped with an increased ability to promote safe and responsible participation in cyberspace among the youth they care for, and with nu-merous resources to assist them towards those ends.
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