Report Roundup: Parents & media weigh in on child health concerns

Every year, the Mott Poll asks adults across the country to share their top child health concerns. This year, parents were asked to share the issues they are most concerned about for the health of their own children. This month’s Mott Poll report showed that parents were most concerned about bullying and internet safety. Parents and media outlets across the country have joined in on the conversation. Here’s a roundup.

Back-to-school concerns

Bullying/cyberbullying was a top concern among parents in this month’s Mott Poll, an especially relevant issue as kids get ready to head back to school. This was the focus of a Parents Magazine article, Back-to-school worries: A new survey reveals parents’ top concerns. Reporter Melissa Willets discussed how bullying was a major concern for all parents, regardless of the age of their child, most likely due to its link to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Internet safety is also a relevant back-to-school concern, as internet access has become so widespread and integrated into the school environment. According to Mott Poll co-director and pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed, “Parents should regularly discuss internet safety with their children and teens and ways to prevent problems.”

Motor vehicle accidents

All groups of parents in the Mott Poll expressed similar levels of concern about their children being involved in a car accident. This was highlighted in a Real Simple piece, As kids head back to school, these are their parents’ biggest worries. Reporter Amanda MacMillan talked to Dr. Freed about the importance of parents discussing vehicle safety with their kids, both as a driver and a passenger. “This likely reflects parents’ concerns about their children driving while distracted, but also about their children being in cars with other teen drivers,” Dr. Freed said. “It underscores the importance of having a discussion about never getting into the car with someone who’s under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and giving kids the ability to call their parents without consequences, to get them out of an unsafe situation.”

Tips to quiet the concerns

Issues on the list of parent concerns might not be relevant to all parents, but for those who share in the concern, Dr. Freed shared some tips in a Michigan Health Blog post, Parents’ top 10 children’s health concerns (and how to handle them). For those concerned about internet safety, Dr. Freed suggests talking to children about security and privacy practices, like never giving away any personally identifiable information online. For parents concerned about unhealthy eating, Dr. Freed says that “Parents need to be strong in determining what types of food they buy and also in setting an example for their children by making healthy choices.” Parents concerned about their kids not getting enough exercise should try making a fitness a family activity, such as family bike rides or a game of Frisbee.

For more coverage on this month’s Mott Poll report, check out these other articles featured on HealthDay, TIME, The Washington Post, and Consumer Affairs.