WebMD and Soledad O’Brien Release New Video Series That Explores the Surprising Causes and Effects of Stress on Teens
WebMD Teens and Stress Special Report Reveals Eye-Opening Truths
- Parents may be contributing to their teens’ stress more than they realize
- Almost half of parents admit to spying on kids’ devices
- More girls (56%) express feeling stress than boys (47%)
PR Newswire, NEW YORK, NY (April 14, 2016)
Today, WebMD released a three-part video series, developed in partnership with Soledad O’Brien, which explores why America’s teens feel stressed and what is being done to help them. WebMD also released the findings of a new WebMD Stress in Teens Survey that sheds new light on how parents of American teens perceive their kids’ stress levels as well as their understanding of what causes it. The study reveals that parents may be actively contributing to their teens’ stress in more ways than they realize.
To view the three-part exclusive video series and the full WebMD Stress in Teens Survey results, visit: www.webmd.com/teen-stress.
Teens and Stress Three-Part Video Series Episode Synopsis
Developed in collaboration with award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien and her media production company, Starfish Media Group, the Teens and Stress video series documents the experience of teens, as well as the efforts of educators, influencers and administrators to reduce the record levels of stress impacting kids in schools and homes across America. The episodes explore the challenges faced by teens as they balance their studies and everyday lives, common critical issues faced by teens in crisis and how some schools are shifting to social emotional learning methods to help teens cope with stress.
Teens and Homework Stress
At top-ranked Dover-Sherborn High School in Dover, Massachusetts, students contend with significantly more homework per night than the national average of 3.5 hours per night, and its students are struggling to keep up. To address the issue, Dover-Sherborn Headmaster John Smith enrolled the school in a Stanford University program aimed at reducing homework and stress in teens, and the early results are promising.
Social Emotional Learning in Schools
New York City’s highly competitive Lab School has made checking in on emotions a part of the daily academic routine. This strategy, known as “Social Emotional Learning,” aims to teach teens how to better manage their emotions, build empathy and problem-solve. Social Emotional Learning has been gaining traction, and the Lab School has been encouraged by the results.
Teen Crisis Text Line
Teens communicate perhaps more honestly by text message than any other medium. Crisis Text Line (CTL) is the first national, 24/7 intervention texting program to support those in crisis. Trained counselors will answer all texts to CTL within five minutes, making it exceptionally simple for teens to reach out in between classes, during breaks or whenever they might need to without drawing attention.
WebMD Teens and Stress Consumer Survey Findings:
In fielding its new survey, WebMD sought to shed light on the primary causes of teen stress as well as the telltale signs and behaviors of it, which may often be overlooked. Some of the key findings of WebMD’s Teens and Stress Consumer Survey include:
Big Brother or Big Mother?
An alarming number of parents don’t take their teens answers at face value: 42% of parents surveyed admit to snooping, checking their kids’ phone calls and texts.
Parents Believe Homework and Parent-Child Conflict Are Key Causes of Teen Stress
Sixty-eight percent of respondents cited homework is the #1 cause of stress in teens. Parent-child conflict ranked second, with 36% of parents citing this as a main stressor among their teens.
Parents Say Girls Are More Likely to Express Stress Than Boys
Parents know their teenagers are stressed, but they may not understand just how much pressure their kids are feeling. According to the WebMD survey, parents are more likely to report higher levels for causes of stress with teen girls vs. teen boys in six different areas. Parents are more likely to cite friends as a cause of stress for teen girls (38%) than teen boys (20%). Another distinction for teen girls -- poor body image (32%) vs. (19%) for boys.
The Paradox of Social Media: Causing and Decreasing Stress
Although teens may be exposed to stressors such as cyberbullying and social media pressure when using mobile devices, parents report that nearly 50% of teens turn to texting and social media as one of the main activities to relieve stress.
Stress Is Driving Overeating
More than 25% of parents surveyed state that their teens deal with their stress destructively: they smoke, they cut themselves, but most of all, they eat. Overeating is the most common self-destructive behavior that parents cite as a way that teens handle stress. Teens are eating to deal with their high stress levels, causing waistlines to expand. In addition, many teens cope with stress by engaging in passive activities such as “screen time” -- social media, TV, and video games. Stress may cause a feedback loop that actively contributes to rising obesity rates.
Parents Say 28% of Teens May Be Depressed or Sad
Parents state that 28% of teens exhibit signs of sadness or depression. This high number comes in spite of the extensive resources and services available to assist teens struggling with anxiety, sadness, and depression.
“The teenagers I spent time with are very typical American kids, juggling sports and school and family life. What makes them stand out, sadly, is the level of pressure and stress they experience each day as they try to excel in a hypercompetitive environment created by virtually everybody around them. These pieces allow viewers to look at some ways that schools can keep the competition keen without overly taxing their students, how they can deal with students in crisis or who are overwhelmed, and how they can put some of the joy back into learning that seems to get lost when the workload and stress level has gotten too high.”
-Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist, host of WebMD Teens and Stress Video Series, and chairman of Starfish Media Group
“American teens are showing high levels of stress. This important survey closely examines how parents perceive their teens’ stress levels and has implications for just how parents may contribute to their teens’ stress levels. It provides a possible path forward for how we might be able to address the very real problem of stress among adolescents.”
-Dr. Hansa Bhargava, pediatrician and WebMD Medical Editor
To view the entire WebMD Teens and Stress Special Report, including other content that takes a deeper dive into this alarming issue, visit: http://www.webmd.com/news/breaking-news/teen-stress/default.htm.
WebMD Stress in Teens Consumer Survey Methods
The WebMD Stress in Teens Consumer Survey was completed by 579 WebMD site visitors (both desktop and mobile) from February 22 through March 14, 2016. With equal probability of being invited, respondents were randomly recruited on WebMD.com in general as well as from the health and parenting and stress management/emotional wellness topical sections of WebMD.com. To finish the survey, respondents were required to report one or more teens 13-18 years old living at least part-time in their home, for whom the respondent was a parent or guardian. The sample for this survey represents the WebMD.com online population as described above, with a margin of error of ±4.1% at a 95% confidence level, using a point estimate (a statistic) of 50%, given a binomial distribution.
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