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Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations
Source: Brookings Institution

Despite the significant amount of research on these risks, improving child/youth Internet safety remains a challenge. In part, this is because definitions of terms and categories relevant to online safety (such as “cyberbullying”) often vary, making the comparison of statistics and findings among sources imprecise. In addition, there are complex overlaps among different online safety subtopics.

Overall, these factors can make identifying the specific gaps in existing research and knowledge difficult. If these gaps can be better identified and filled, a data-based understanding of issues facing youth could play a key role in driving policy decisions regarding online safety.

In this paper, Adina Farrukh, Rebecca Sadwick and John Villasenor provide:

  1. an overview of existing online safety research across a wide range of categories
  2. an analysis of major findings
  3. an identification of knowledge gaps, and
  4. a set of recommendations for specific areas of research that can further the policy dialog regarding online safety
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CRS — Child Welfare: Profiles of Current and Former Older Foster Youth Based on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) (October 6, 2014)

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Child Welfare: Profiles of Current and Former Older Foster Youth Based on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress has long been concerned with the well-being of older youth in foster care and those who have recently emancipated from care without going to a permanent home. Research on this population is fairly limited, and the few studies that are available have focused on youth in a small number of states. This research has generally found that youth who spend time in foster care during their teenage years tend to have difficulty as they enter adulthood and beyond.

The Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (P.L. 106-169), enacted in 1999, specified that state child welfare agencies provide additional supports to youth transitioning from foster care under the newly created Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP). The law also directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which administers child welfare programs, to consult with stakeholders to develop a national data system on the number, characteristics, and outcomes of current and former foster youth. In response to these requirements, HHS created the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) under a final rule promulgated in 2008. The rule requires that each state child welfare agency commence collecting and reporting the data beginning in FY2011 (October 1, 2010).

This report provides summary and detailed data about current and former foster youth, as reported by states to HHS via the NYTD.

Use of Selected Nonmedication Mental Health Services by Adolescent Boys and Girls With Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties: United States, 2010–2012

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Use of Selected Nonmedication Mental Health Services by Adolescent Boys and Girls With Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties: United States, 2010–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010–2012

  • About 4% of adolescents aged 12–17 had a serious emotional or behavioral difficulty and received nonmedication mental health services in the past 6 months.
  • Nearly 71% of adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties received nonmedication mental health services in the past 6 months.
  • Among adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties, boys were more likely than girls to receive nonmedication mental health services.
  • Boys with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties were more likely than girls to receive services in school settings.
  • The percentage of boys and girls with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties receiving nonschool services was similar for all settings except for the emergency department.

Delayed school progression and mental health problems in adolescence: a population-based study in 10,803 adolescents

November 7, 2014 Comments off

Delayed school progression and mental health problems in adolescence: a population-based study in 10,803 adolescents
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
Accumulating evidence suggests that several adult mental disorders, particularly psychoses, are preceded by impairments in cognitive function, reflected in scholastic underachievement. This study investigates the association between scholastic underachievement and general mental health problems in adolescence, using delay in school progression as a marker of poor scholastic performance.

Method
Cross-sectional secondary school survey comprising 10,803 adolescents. Participants completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to assess mental health problems. The association of delayed school progression with the SDQ was investigated using logistic regression with SDQ as outcome and delayed school progression as primary exposure of interest while adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, adverse life events, school-related factors, risk taking behaviour, healthy lifestyle and physical health.

Results
Unadjusted analysis showed an association between delayed school progression and total mental health problems (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.27 ? 2.63) in adolescents. After adjusting for other risk factors (socio-demographic factors and life events) in a logistic regression model the association between delayed school progression en mental health problems was attenuated (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.86 ? 2.05).

Conclusion
Delayed school progression is associated with general mental health problems in adolescence, but this relationship is heavily confounded by other factors. A causal relationship between impaired cognitive function such as poor scholastic performance and general mental health at adolescence is less likely and delayed school progression may merely be considered an indicator of risk for mental health problems.

Provision of No-Cost, Long-Acting Contraception and Teenage Pregnancy

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Provision of No-Cost, Long-Acting Contraception and Teenage Pregnancy
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

We found that pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates were low among teenage girls and women enrolled in a project that removed financial and access barriers to contraception and informed them about the particular efficacy of LARC methods. The observed rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion were substantially lower than national rates among all U.S. teens, particularly when compared with sexually experienced U.S. teens. Stratification according to factors known to be associated with sexual behavior and pregnancy risk (age and race)21 showed that this was true among both older teens (18 to 19 years of age) and younger teens, as well as among both white and black teens.

American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Children, Adolescents, and the Media

October 15, 2014 Comments off

American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Children, Adolescents, and the Media
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Media, from television to the “new media” (including cell phones, iPads, and social media), are a dominant force in children’s lives. Although television is still the predominant medium for children and adolescents, new technologies are increasingly popular. The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned by evidence about the potential harmful effects of media messages and images; however, important positive and prosocial effects of media use should also be recognized. Pediatricians are encouraged to take a media history and ask 2 media questions at every well-child visit: How much recreational screen time does your child or teenager consume daily? Is there a television set or Internet-connected device in the child’s bedroom? Parents are encouraged to establish a family home use plan for all media. Media influences on children and teenagers should be recognized by schools, policymakers, product advertisers, and entertainment producers.

Association between mobile phone use and inattention in 7102 Chinese adolescents: a population-based cross-sectional study

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Association between mobile phone use and inattention in 7102 Chinese adolescents: a population-based cross-sectional study (PDF)
Source: BMC Public Health

Background:
The dramatic growth of mobile phone (MP) use among young people has increased interest in its possible health hazards in this age group. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the association between MP use and inattention in adolescents.

Methods:
A total of 7720 middle school students were involved in this cross-sectional study. Inattention was assessed as defined for the Attention Deficit component of Attention deficit/Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev. [DSM-IV-TR]). The demographic characteristics and information on MP use were included in the questionnaire. Chi-square tests and logistic regression models were used to analyze the data.

Results:
In total, 7102 (91.99%) valid questionnaires were obtained. After adjusted for confounders, inattention in adolescents was significantly associated with MP ownership, the time spent on entertainment on MP per day, the position of the MP during the day and the mode of the MP at night. The strongest association between inattention and the time spent on the MP was among students who spent more than 60 minutes per day playing on their MP.

Conclusions:
Our study shows some associations between MP use and inattention in Chinese adolescents. Decreasing MP usage to less than 60 minutes per day may help adolescents to stay focused and centered.

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