Boosting teenagers' ability to cope with online risks, rather than trying to stop them from using the Internet, may be a more practical and effective strategy for keeping them safe, according to a team of researchers.
Drug use, risky sexual behavior and violence among South African youth may be reduced thanks to Penn State researchers, who will look at expanding a leisure education and life skills program to 56 South African high schools. The researchers, led by Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, and Edward Smith, associate director of the Penn State Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, received a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Being a teen and being a parent have never been more complicated. Along with the usual risks and temptations, today's families face an uncertain economy and unpredictable job market. On top of that, there are ever-growing opportunities for adolescent mischief via social networking sites, text messages, YouTube, and Twitter. While the challenges are different for this generation, the solutions remain very much the same. You have to stay close, continue to listen, and seek help when a problem arises.
Adolescent girls who think they are overweight, but are not, are at more risk for depression than girls who are overweight and know it, according to Penn State sociologists. "Parents often worry about overweight girls' mental health, but our findings show that it is girls who have a healthy weight but perceive being overweight who are most likely to feel depressed," said Jason N. Houle, graduate student in sociology and demography.
The Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, through funding from the Highmark Foundation's "Highmark Healthy High 5" initiative, is leading a statewide campaign that engages teens in healthy eating and active living. Through the "nrg:Powered by Choice Campaign," teens are empowered to lead changes that create healthier school and community environments. To assist teens in their efforts, the center is offering free materials to teen groups interested in raising money for a healthy change or mentoring younger children to live healthier lives.