Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Are Your Teens Aware of Privacy and Do They Care?

Latest statistics from the wonderful world of Facebook show that teenagers are not really concerned about privacy at all. They share, like and comment on everything on Facebook.

The latest relaxation of the lifting of sharing restrictions on Facebook for 13 – 17 year olds has got parents worried. They fear that cyber bullying may become even more of a problem than it is now.

That is the view of the parents. But what about the teenagers? What do they feel about privacy and is their idea of privacy different from ours?

The American Life Project reported just a few months ago that the figures for sharing among teenagers is quite alarming.  They targeted that very group that Facebook is now relaxing its restrictions. For example they found that:-

  • no problem about sharing photos – 91% do it
  • like sharing videos too – around 25%
  • vast majority post their real name – around 90%
  • birthdays are also shared – over 80%
  • school they go to and their town – around 70%
  • birthdays are also popular – about 80% have no issues about this one
  • cell phone numbers are shared  but that is only about 20%
  • around half of them will share their email address

In the UK, the figures and trends are following a similar pattern to those in the States.  The case of Paris Brown who lost a £15,000 a year job as a youth police commissioner should be borne in mind.

She was forced to resign after her Twitter comments (made when she was aged between 14 and 16) were found to be racist, homophobic and violent.  The alarming fact is that her Twitter account was not included in the vetting process before she was offered the job.

The teenagers’ idea for privacy is not so much to do with sharing actual data as the above figures show. They are not worried that future employers or others may use the data against them in a not so distant future.

Their management of privacy settings is easy for them and about 60% said that they were managing this quite well and that they were able to ban people and delete posts and so on. 

Their real worry is not about companies or government agencies gathering hard data about them but what their inner circle may actually see on their profile. Many of the profiles contain lies so they are much more worried about the figures of authority who are around them such as parents and teachers. There could be consequences for them down the line and that is their main concern.

Strategies teens use on the Internet


  • about 25% admitted to using a false name
  • information is often coded so that prying parents are kept in the dark
  • inside terminology and jargon allow them to communicate with each other
  • in jokes are used a lot

These strategies show that teenagers are keenly aware of some of the privacy issues but their priority is to be seen hanging out with the right group of friends and looking for peer acceptance. They are aware of how this information may be used against them so they will delete tags when they see fit.

The use of snapchat is encouraging in that any pictures and videos sent will be deleted automatically after a certain time frame which they can set.

So, the picture is not all bleak, fortunately. Teens are aware of the need for privacy and would put that first if there was to be a choice about finding about anti-terrorist groups. Interesting!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Why The ADHD and Sports Combination Always Delivers

 Why should you ask your ADHD child to take part in any sport?  Can they always deliver as the headline claims?  The answer is always yes, provided that you choose the right sport for your child.  You also need to keep a few things in mind.

Problems to bear in mind

The first thing to bear in mind is that your ADHD child is having problems in the following areas:-
  • difficulty in paying attention
  • easily distracted
  • short attention span
  • finds it difficult to focus
  • may have problems in concentration
  • finds it difficult to follow instructions.
  • prone to impulsive actions
  • is hyperactive
In any team sports such as soccer, basketball and baseball, the team members really have to concentrate and focus. They also have to be alert at all times. They cannot easily be districted and if they are, the team may well lose!  This could lead to social exclusion and this happened to me as a child because I was simply no good at all at sports and I was ostracized.

As if that was not enough, there is a higher percentage of injury as well because lack of focus exposes the child to greater risks. These tend to be collision prone sports too. It is also well documented that ADHD children take longer to recover from injuries such as concussion. 

Which sports are best and why?

Those individual types of sports will usually suit an ADHD child better. We should always bear in mind what the child would like to do too as involving him in a decision like this is of paramount importance.
Generally, the sports which emphasise the individual as the participant and at the same time offers a competitive element are real winners.

Also, sports which allow plenty of contact on a one to one basis with an instructor or coach are also great. The list of sports which fulfil these criteria are:-
  • swimming
  • wrestling
  • martial arts
  • diving
  • horse riding
  • weightlifting
  • running
  • tennis
They have the added advantage of giving the child with ADHD a sense of intense satisfaction and gratification. The child can see the results very quickly and there is no long term goals such as waiting for a baseball match to finish to see whether they have won or not.

Choosing the right sport is always a winner.

Once we have chosen the right sport for our ADHD child, then we are on to a winner. The following benefits will start to kick in and your child and the whole family will benefit.
  • great outlet for excess energy connected with hyperactivity
  • children concentrate better after doing sports
  • any exercise will mean less chance of obesity
  • exercise will lift their mood as the endorphins start to kick in
  • children who do sports are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression
There are also lots of benefits such as social inclusion and sports always help kids to make friends. In addition, parents can be more involved too.

Sports and physical exercise always need to be a part of the whole ADHD treatment plan.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Do You REALLY Know Why Your Child Is Angry?

How do you react to a child’s anger?  Maybe you get mad yourself or you try to ignore the whole nasty episode?  Perhaps you put it in the box labelled ‘bad behavior’ and you are already thinking of what may be an appropriate punishment.

No bad kids, just mad kids

‘There are no bad kids, just mad kids’ is a telling remark made by a well known child psychologist and that focuses our attention on the fact that we need to change our tactics a little bit.

Why are the kids mad? What is the reason?  Is there an underlying emotion of which anger is just the tip of the iceberg?  These are the thoughts that should be going through our minds when confronted with an explosion of anger.

Finding out why he or she is angry

When things are a little calmer, you can try to repeat back the words to the child in a very calm, almost curious tone of voice as if you are seeking to investigate or empathize in a very supportive way.

That immediately changes the whole scenario and the child realizes that somebody is there to lend a helping hand or even listen. Now that is progress!

Compare that to yelling back, slamming a door or two and the child ending up in a very long and stubborn sulk!  When that happens, the anger is stored and nothing is resolved.

Another technique is to ask later on what on earth happened and if the child can let you in on what actually caused the eruption.

Empathizing and communicating

This is where communication can start and you can broach various subjects related to what the child tells you:-

  • aggression and violence are unacceptable in your family set up.
  • there are lots of ways of reacting to anger
  • tell the child how YOU deal with anger – give real examples
  • tell the child about counting to ten and taking a deep breath
  • recount how you can walk away from an angry scene
  • talk about doing some physical activity to get rid of all that pent up anger, such as exercise or beating a carpet to get rid of dust or tearing up old newspapers.
  • tell him how you felt at the various stages of the anger explosion.
  • talk about self-control

With younger children storytelling can be very effective

Tell a story and talk about the reactions of the characters and the consequences of those actions. Talk about how anger can be controlled and how we can channel this strong emotion into much more socially acceptable ways. The link below is for a great story which teaches children about anger issues and other related problems.