13
February
2024
|
10:42
Australia/Melbourne

World-first program to educate teens on screens

Summary

Black Dog Institute is proud to announce a new partnership with the Bupa Foundation to deliver a world-first program aimed at educating young people about screen usage and its impact on mental health.

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows almost two in five Australians aged between 16 and 24 have experienced a mental disorder within the last 12 months.

Head of Population Research at the Black Dog Institute, Associate Professor Aliza Werner-Seidler says the partnership is key to having a profound impact on the lives of young people and their families.

“By partnering with the Bupa Foundation, we will be able to deliver a new program that focuses on teaching young people about the benefits and potential risks of technology use and giving them the skills and knowledge to make informed choices for their well-being," says Associate Professor Aliza Werner-Seidler.

Aliza Werner-Seidler, Head of Population Research at the Black Dog Institute, Associate Professor

By partnering with the Bupa Foundation, we will be able to deliver a new program that focuses on teaching young people about the benefits and potential risks of technology use and giving them the skills and knowledge to make informed choices for their well-being,

Aliza Werner-Seidler, Head of Population Research at the Black Dog Institute, Associate Professor

“The program will target teens in early adolescence just as they often begin to use their devices more independently and often have access to social media for the first time. The timing at around 12-13 years of age is intentionally chosen to coincide with the sharp rise in depression and anxiety rates, making it an optimal time to work with young people to enhance their resilience and prevent mental illness.”

The partnership with the Bupa Foundation will enable the Black Dog Institute to reach more than 30,000 young people, teaching them the tools and knowledge about screen use and its interaction with mental health, wellbeing, sleep, physical activity, and peer relationships.

“The program will be delivered to an initial cohort of 3000 young people through schools, and then scaled across the country with a target of reaching 30,000 Year 7-8 school students,” says Associate Professor Werner-Seidler.

“As part of the project, we aim to support parents in this area by educating them about different patterns of adolescent screen use and empower them with evidence-based information to help guide and support their teenagers navigate the digital age. This will be delivered through online materials and webinars with easy to digest information for parents and schools.”

“Parents, educators, and young people themselves have an urgent need for guidance and support around this issue. We’re grateful to the Bupa Foundation for their generous support in helping the Black Dog Institute undertake this important work.” 

Bupa Foundation, Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer, Roger Sharp says they are proud to invest in innovative prevention and early intervention strategies aimed at supporting young people’s mental health.

“The Foundation is pleased to support this project that is specifically tackling one of the biggest challenges of our time: how young people engage with technology and impact of this on their mental health. Together we can empower young people and their families and help create a healthier world,” he says.

For more information about the Black Dog Institute’s Future Proofing Study click here.