Bullying, Drugs, & Sexting Are Top Concerns For Parents Of Teens
Childhood obesity, bullying, and drug abuse. More than just buzzwords, these are actually the three biggest concerns for parents of teenagers. In an annual poll of nearly 2,000 adults, researchers at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital determined what makes parents worry the most and the aforementioned topics came out on top. Another finding? Adults are more concerned about their kids' Internet safety and sexting than ever before—these two topics made significant jumps in the poll as compared to last year.
Back in 2014, sexting was the 13th item on the list, but now it jumped up to the 6th slot. Tobacco trails sexting as the 7th biggest parental concern—meaning adults are more worried about their kids sexting than smoking. The interesting switch of priorities may be due to the fact that the amount of teens smoking traditional cigarettes has decreased significantly in recent years.
Regardless of where various topics rank on this list, they're still important subjects to address with your teens. Educating kids about how to make smart, healthy decisions is a much more proactive approach than sitting around and worrying.
Of course, discussions about drugs, bullying, or sex aren't guaranteed to be easy, but here at Choices, we have plenty of resources and stories that can help. After all, research shows repeated, honest convos with teens are most effective!
- Obesity: As pointed out by our blogger Amy Lauren Smith, obesity is a touchy topic. Instead of shaming kids, it's important to talk about the social and emotional roots of eating disorders, as well as focus on helping them lead a healthier lifestyle. More details about that here.
- Bullying: Whether cyberbullying or hazing, there are many variations of this cruel pastime. Start with our "Are Anonymous Apps Spreading Hate?" story.
- Substance Abuse: Our "Good Teens Turned Drug Addicts" article is an eye-opening look at prescription pill abuse, and "The Danger of Just One Drink" takes a closer look at binge-drinking.
- Sexting: Teens are glued to their phones, but do we know how they’re using them? It's safer to not jump to conclusions and assume they're sexting. Still, since it's a topic that's likely on their minds, consider using our sex ed. resource package as a way to start an informative talk about intimacy—on and off-screen.
- Internet Safety: Believe it or not, kids are finding strong senses of community online and using the Internet as a resource for health advice. While safety is a top concern, studies do show they're making smart decisions. Still, an extra reminder to act responsibly couldn't hurt.
What's the best way to address serious issues with your teens? Send us a tweet @Choices_Mag and share your tips!