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3 Ways to Keep Kids Safe (and Kind) Online

As part of its Internet & American Life Project, in 2011 the Screen shot 2016-05-24 at 4.21.17 PMPew Research Center conducted a survey on teens’ experiences of online cruelty. The survey revealed some interesting information about how teens and parents are communicating about online experiences.

According to the survey:
  • 58{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} of teen Internet and cell phone users say their parents have been the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate or inappropriate when using the Internet or a cell phone.
  • Of the teens that reported witnessing or experiencing online cruelty, only 36{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} sought advice from parents for how to handle it, whereas 53{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} reached out to a peer. Younger teen girls (ages 12-13) were more likely to rely on friends and peers for advice than older girls.
  • While most parents do talk with their teens about safe and risky online behavior, only about half of parents utilize parental controls to manage their child’s online experiences, and only 34{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} use parental controls to restrict cell phone usage. (94{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} have talked with their teens about what should and should not be shared online; 93{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} have talked about internet and cell phone safety; 87{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} have talked with their child about what he or she does on the internet.)

So what can parents do to help keep their kids safe (and kind) online?

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E-Cigarettes and the FDA

On Thursday, May 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that will extend its authority to all tobacco products – including e-cigarettes. What does this mean? First of all, there will now be FEDERAL laws prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes to people under 18. Before this ruling, each state had its own rules (in Minnesota, the age requirement was still 18).

Secigs2econd of all, the FDA will now be able to prevent misleading claims about e-cigarettes by evaluating their ingredients and how they are made. The FDA will also share the potential risks of e-cigarettes and tobacco products.

In the coming months, all e-cigarette manufacturers will be required to show that their products “meet the applicable health standards” set by the FDA – this includes revealing their ingredients, product design, health risks, and appeal to youth and non-users.

More research needs to be done on e-cigarettes, but the research that has been done shows that e-cigarettes may contain a mix of harmful chemicals that can lead to short- and long-term health effects, and that many e-cigarettes contain varying levels of nicotine (even if they claim to be nicotine-free). These new FDA regulations hope to protect us from these and other potential dangers of e-cigarettes.

Although the rule goes into effect in 90 days, the FDA expects that it may take up to 2 years for all manufacturers to submit their products for approval, during which time they will continue to sell. In the meantime, parents – we encourage you to continue to have discussions with your kids about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm499234.htm

Supporting Kids Through Grief

When kids lose someone important in their lives, it is often a challenging time for parents. What should we do? What should (or shouldn’t) we say? How can I help my child that is hurting? Here are some tips for helping your child through a significant loss:

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Helping Kids Cope with Stress

This article originally appeared on http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/stress-coping.html

KH-CMYK_Logo-URL(WHT)To adults, childhood can seem like a carefree time. But kids still experience stress. Things like school and their social life can sometimes create pressures that can feel overwhelming for kids. As a parent, you can’t protect your kids from stress — but you can help them develop healthy ways to cope with stress and solve everyday problems.

Kids deal with stress in both healthy and unhealthy ways. And while they may not initiate a conversation about what’s bothering them, they do want their parents to reach out and help them cope with their troubles.

But it’s not always easy for parents to know what to do for a child who’s feeling stressed.

Here are a few ideas…

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