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Youth Mental Health Organisation ReachOut Launches Online Service For Parents

The free service aims to encourage more effective communication between parents and teens.

18/05/2016 11:58 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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Because passing notes in class doesn't happen anymore.

Peer pressure, cyber bullying, sexting and social media use -- it's no secret being a teenager in Australia today is vastly different to past generations -- which hardly makes the job of parenting an easy one.

In an effort to encourage more effective communication between parents and young people, youth mental health organisation ReachOut have launched a new digital service that provides advice and information for Australian parents.

"Parenting teenagers is as complex as ever but we know communication is absolutely key in any relationship," Jono Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut told The Huffington Post Australia.

"We often talk about this being the first generation of parents who've had to deal with issues like their kids' social media use, cyberbullying and when their kids should get their first mobile phone," Nicholas said.

Teens today haven't known a world without a mobile phone which poses a challenge for parents when trying to understand the things they might be going through.

The free service offers practical, evidence-based support based on research the organisation has carried out.

It found the top concerns for parents when it comes to their teens include; communicating with their teenager; peer pressure; study stress; anxiety; drugs and social media use.

Parents reported that it can be hard to know how to broach an issue with a young person, and to know when is the right time to do that.

"Today's parents are incredibly time-poor and like the idea that they can access a web-based service that's based on Australian evidence," Nicholas said.

A key feature of the service is the peer-to-peer support forum which allows parents to anonymously share their experiences.

"Although parents reported a range of concerns relating to their teenagers, such as school and study stress, bullying, and drugs and alcohol, their biggest concern was how to communicate with their child about these issues."

"Parents reported that it can be hard to know how to broach an issue with a young person, and to know when is the right time to do that," Nicholas said.

Parents are encouraged to provide feedback on the site, which will also help to forecast the type of content made available including videos from child psychologists and pathways to more intensive support within the community.

For more information visit ReachOut.com/Parents

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