World renowned youth health psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, presented the socially challenging topic, ‘Building Wellbeing in an Online World’ to over 140 local parents, students and community members at a recent evening hosted by Newhaven College. The event was made possible through a partnership between Newhaven College and Bass Coast Shire, and benefited service providers and families of the wider Bass Coast Shire.
It is a fact that our children are growing up in a very different technological environment to that which we experienced in our youth. Dr Carr Gregg explained to the audience how important electronic devices are to young people, with the average 18-25 year old checking their phone fifty-six times a day. For our children:
- Their real world is both off and online
- It is how they communicate
- They have never known a world without computers
- It provides them with flexibility and confidentiality
- It removes geographical, attitudinal and financial barriers
Having open access to quality online resources presents an unprecedented opportunity to provide real-time, standardised health and wellbeing information and treatment directly to young people in their natural environment using their smartphones.
Dr Carr Gregg showed the audience a number of websites and apps that are based on sound research to help with a variety of concerns including worrying, depression and anxiety, exercise, lack of sleep, drug use and even suicide prevention. We have collated a page of Dr Carr Gregg’s recommended apps that can be downloaded below.
Dr Carr Gregg also recommended that for advice, adults and students could refer to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner website, where there are many suggestions in relation to specific issues around the dangers surrounding eSafety.
There were many take home messages from the presentation that could be immediately implemented. With cyber bullying high on the agenda of online issues, Dr Carr Gregg suggested that parents have regular open discussions with their children to increase their awareness of what cyber bullying is, and to prepare them with strategies to implement if it happens to them or to their friends:
- Talk about it before it happens
- Work out strategies to address any potential issues
- Do not reply
- Block the person
- Save the evidence
- Report abuse
The good news for parents is that, “just because teens roll their eyes, doesn’t mean their ears are shut off.” The greatest gift we can give our sons and daughters is the ability to problem solve. Parents should talk with their children every day to show them how to look for the positives in everyday life situations. When it comes to the online world, a smart parenting strategy is to teach children how to use technology to seek support and advice from creditable sources.
Dr Michael Carr Gregg - Free Mental Health and Wellbing Apps