It's normal for children to have first-day jitters when it comes to going back to school, but new data from a poll on children's health shows that parents are also seriously concerned with their kids returning to school, as they fear bullying and cyber bullying may occur. The poll is part of a recently released report from the University of Michigan and the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
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Dr. Gary Freed is a professor of pediatrics at Mott and the co-director of the poll. He said that bullying and cyberbullying is being recognized as the leading health problem for children in the United States. Following close behind in parental worries are Internet safety, stress, school violence, and car accidents.
The research showed that different racial groups worried about different things, with more African-American parents saying they were more concerned about school violence and racial inequalities being stressors to their children.
In the eleven years the Mott Poll has happened, this is the first time parents were asked to rate health concerns they had for their own children. Dr. Freed said responses varied based on the age of children, with cancer being a top health concern for parents who had children through the age of five. Interestingly, Dr. Freed noted that pediatric cancer is rare, and that those parents seemed to have significant concern about things that carried small risk.
Meanwhile, motor vehicle accidents were of great concern to all parents, and that is valid considering the leading cause of death for children who are two through fourteen-years-old is from motor vehicle accidents.
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Depression and unhealthy eating practices also were of significant concern to parents as over a fifth of polled parents said those concerns topped their lists of worry, and Dr. Freed says that a key to alleviating many of these fears is discussion. He says that as more children are able to access the internet and social media sites, it's pivotal to talk about Internet safety and risk, as well as positive strategies to combat all concerns.
It's important to stress to your children that they should not give any personally identifying information away on social media. It's also important to have conversations about ways to stay safe online.