What’s going on in Children’s Mental Health Week?
Most adults routinely look after children’s physical condition by encouraging them to eat healthily, take regular exercise, maintain consistent sleep patterns and so on. Generally speaking, however, far fewer of us devote the same bandwidth to young people’s mental wellbeing (although the pandemic has recently helped to bring the issue into sharper focus). That’s why we’re supporting Children’s Mental Health Week, which emphasises the importance of mental wellbeing among the young.
The 2022 event, running from 7–13 February, has the theme of ‘Growing Together’: encouraging both children and adults to reflect on how’ve developed and how they can help others to grow. Overcoming challenges and setbacks in life is key to our personal progress, as it pushes us beyond our comfort zone into new areas of possibility and potential.
Does digital behaviour affect mental health?
Unsurprisingly, today’s youngest generation find many of their defining challenges and setbacks in the online world. There is so much to benefit children and young people in the digital realm – games, entertainment, education, connection with others – but it’s intertwined with a rogue’s gallery of potential risks to their mental health.
Excessive screen time. Cyberbullying. Violent or sexually explicit material. Negative body image comparisons. Content promoting self-harm or suicide. For all its good points, the internet remains a veritable minefield of things that can negatively impact the mental wellbeing of an impressionable youngster.
Youth charity Ditch the Label, for instance, reports that one in five children aged 10–15 in the UK experiences bullying online. What’s more, the Office for National Statistics records that 12% of children who don’t use social media on a normal school day have symptoms of a mental health issue; among children who spend three or more hours on social media platforms in a day, however, that proportion leaps to 27% – suggesting a strong causal relationship between young people’s social media habits and mental health problems.
How can I get involved?
At National Online Safety, we’ve pulled together a collection of our most relevant resources for trusted adults to help children learn to enjoy social media and the rest of the digital world without their mental health suffering. You’ll find short online safety courses for parents, presented by Myleene Klass; a collection of our ever popular #WakeUpWednesday information guides which address mental health and the online world; and instructions for downloading our superb FREE app, so you can access credible resources and online safety advice on the go. You can follow the conversation online by searching #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek and #childrensmentalhealthweek2022.
We also offer several mental health training courses for school staff, designed and delivered by sector experts. In addition, of course, there are many excellent organisations who can offer support in maintaining good mental health in children and young people, including YoungMinds, Place2Be (the organisers of Children’s Mental Health Week), Kooth, the NHS and Action for Children.
Have you thought about joining National Online Safety?
Sign up with us today and get instant access to hundreds of free information guides on the latest apps, games, devices, and online risks – including streaming services, age restrictions and how to set up parental controls on phones and tablets.
If you’re a school, becoming a certified National Online Safety member gives you unlimited access to our comprehensive range of webinars, courses and explainer videos, all developed by experienced experts in the education sector and addressing online safeguarding topics relevant to your school.
If you’re a parent, you can also download our free app which puts our award-winning online safety resources literally at your fingertips, through any smartphone. Member schools can also download the app and unlock all of our courses, webinars and resources: so staff will always have instant mobile access to practical guidance on the ever-changing digital world.