Over the past two days, news stories of the “Momo Challenge” have been rapidly spreading through the media. This has led to much misinformation, unclear understanding and concerned parents, professionals and teachers as well as frightened children.
Do you remember when Atari was the most popular, must have, latest gaming system? Or, when you got your first cell phone and it was used for emergencies only? How about when television ads first started to include that “www dot thing” at the bottom of the screen? Growing up, I can remember each of these instances and more as the world wide web began to infiltrate our homes and lives.
“Dear Amanda, I have two children: a girl in middle school and a boy in high school. They have become obsessed with the PokémonGo app. It has been all over the news about thieves using it to lure kids to areas and robbing them. I feel that I should make them delete the app. What should I do?”
“Dear Amanda, I’m working with parents that are struggling with their kids’ behavioral outbursts when they take away their device. It’s almost like they have an addiction to their phone or tablet. I’ve heard of internet addiction, but is there device addiction?”
Sometimes I’m asked about legal issues related to technology. There can be many struggles with technology, social media, and crime. I’ve posted a new resources about legal issues and technology.
Working in a middle school, I often speak to youth who report being “bullied.” School counselors spend time looking at the scenarios and helping youth understand the difference between being rude, mean, and bullying.
Over the years, the mental health hashtags have evolved and are ever-changing. It’s difficult to keep up with all of the mental health hashtags as they are sometimes blocked on Instagram or other social media platforms, but when certain hashtags become blocked, others come to life to replace them.
I was recently interviewed by Elizabeth Hardison for the article, “Pennsylvania set up a tip line for school threats. Instead, students overwhelmingly called with mental health concerns.” When I was asked if I was surprised by the high level of mental health concerns being reported by students, I said I was not.
One of my roles is working with youth in local schools. I check in with the at-risk students and try to encourage, support, and guide them. I also help to identify unhealthy digital relationships.
I’m sure many of us are telling our kids not to send nudes, but are we telling them not to request them equally?