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How parents can diminish their stress

Juggling responsibilities to work and family can sometimes make parents feel a little overwhelmed. That feeling of being stretched thin can contribute to stress, which many parents acknowledge is part of their daily lives.

Stress isn’t always caused by life-changing events. In fact, a recent study of 2,000 parents in the United Kingdom found that the daily worries of bed time, getting homework finished, weekly food shopping, and meal times were parents’ biggest stress triggers. The research, conducted by BPme, a new app that allows customers to pay for their fuel without leaving their car, said the average parent felt stressed six times a day. Data from a 2015 Pew Research Study indicates 15 percent of American parents say their job as a parent is tiring all the time, while an additional 18 percent say parenting is tiring most of the time. Ten percent indicated being a parent is stressful all of the time, while 15 percent said it is most of the time. The younger the age of the children at home, the more stress many parents say they face.

It is well documented that stress can have various negative physical and psychological symptoms, which put stress sufferers’ overall health at risk. Parents can curtail stress by instituting some lifestyle changes and employing other management techniques.

• Don’t take work stress home. It’s easy to bring home work-related problems, which can then combine with issues at home. Try to talk to a coworker or a spouse before leaving work to diffuse tricky situations so they can be left at work.

• Increase quality family time. Take a break from the extracurricular activities, volunteer responsibilities and the other tasks that pull families in different directions. Slow down and schedule fun activities that foster parent-child relationships, such as game nights or family movie nights.

• Seek professional help. Parents who are having difficulty coping can enlist the services of trained mental health professionals, advises Psychology Today. These therapists can offer helpful strategies for coping with life’s challenges.

• Stick to a routine. Keeping kids on routine schedules enables parents to know which moments of the day they can get a break to rest and recharge.

• Ask for help. Do not be a martyr or attempt to be a superhero. Parents who need help should reach out for assistance, especially if it’s to tame stress. Doing so is in the best interest of the entire family.

Stress is something many parents face, but it can be overcome.

Parents can exercise caution with youth-based social apps

Internet access is no longer limited to desktop or laptop computers. World Advertising Research Center, using data from mobile trade body GSMA, says almost three-quarters of internet users, or roughly 3.7 billion people, will access the internet exclusively via smartphones by 2025.

Young people are one of the largest demographics utilizing smartphones today. A Common Sense Media survey says just over half of children in the United States now own a smartphone by the age of 11. In addition, 84 percent of teenagers have their own phones. Most youth grew up with the internet, and they have embraced a variety of apps, particularly social media apps, that connect them to the world.

Social media certainly can be an asset, but it has inherent risks, such as making kids easy targets for identity theft or sexual predators. Other apps expose users to explicit, unfiltered content. Parents must educate themselves about the popular apps their tweens and teens may be using and weigh their pros and cons. Here’s a list of apps every parent should know in 2020.

• TikTok:

This app (formerly Musical.ly) is designed for creating and sharing short videos, notably music videos. Users are urged to express their creativity, and special effects can be added. While minimum age for use is 13, there is no real way to validate users’ ages so anyone can download the app. Parents say the videos are plagued by inappropriate language and content, including pornographic material. Also, some have warned that when sexual predators are identified, the app is slow to flag and remove these users.

• Kik:

This is a cross-platform messaging app that enables users to chat anonymously without the need for phone service. Users also can share most digital media and video chat with one another. Forbes reports that Kik has had issues with child exploitation and sexual harassment.

• Tellonym:

The web resource FamilyEducation says this messenger app allows kids to ask and answer questions anonymously, purporting to be the “most honest place on the internet.” Cyber bullying and violent threats are common, according to watchdog groups.

• MeetMe:

This social app advertises its ability to have users meet new people through messages, video calls and live streams. With no option to set privacy limitations, users can freely view other profiles within the vicinity. Also, reaching out to others and viewing profiles generates in-app reward incentives.

• Bigo Live:

Common Sense Media says this app is like YouTube and Twitch in that Bigo Live lets users stream live video of themselves that others can see and comment on in real time. People also can send and receive “beans”, which are virtual gifts that cost real money. The warning is that Bigo has a lot of mature content and predatory commentary.

• Yolo:

Yolo is an easy add-on for Snapchat, which also is a popular app among children. Yolo lets users ask anonymous questions and receive feedback. The anonymity of commentary can be a recipe for bullying, trolling and hurt feelings.

Parents can safeguard their children by monitoring internet access and understanding popular apps used by today’s youth.