by Kasey Edwards, Sydney Morning Herald, interview with Georgina Manning
A new approach to treating childhood anxiety being trialled by Yale Medical School has flipped the standard treatment by focusing on parents rather than children.
The Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) study starts from the premise that over 97 per cent of parents who have an anxious child accommodate their child’s anxiety by changing their own behaviours to help their child not feel anxious.
"Even with the best treatments currently available, about half of all children remain highly anxious after treatment," says Dr Eli Lebowitz from Yale Medical School.
“Anxious children naturally rely on parents when they are feeling scared, frightened or stressed and parents naturally want to help their children feel better,” says Dr Eli Lebowitz who is Director Program for Anxiety Disorders from the Yale Medical School Child Study Center.
“But sometimes the things we do as parents to help our children feel less anxious in the moment can actually make them less likely to overcome the anxiety over time."
My first response to hearing about the study was “Great — now we can add our kid’s anxiety to the long list of things modern-day mothers are doing wrong”.
Fortunately, Dr Lebowitz is emphatic that his program is not an exercise in blaming parents.
“It is very important to emphasise that parents are not the cause of childhood anxiety disorders,” says Dr Lebowitz.
“It is simply that childhood anxiety is a problem of truly staggering proportions and even with the best treatments currently available, about half of all cases remain highly anxious after treatment. So we are always looking for more and different ways of helping anxious children and their families."
Beyond Blue reports seven per cent of children aged 4 to 17 years in Australia suffered from an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months.
The incidence of childhood anxiety is alarming. Beyond Blue reports that seven per cent of children aged 4 to 17 years in Australia suffered from an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months. Further, one in five of all young people aged 11 to 17 years experience high or very high levels of psychological distress.
Melbourne-based child anxiety expert and director of Wellbeing for Kids Georgina Manning agrees that new approaches to treating anxiety in children are needed — and that includes helping parents to understand that accommodating their child’s anxiety can also enable it.
“I have coached many parents to support them to make sure their child still goes to camp, even though they feel anxious, to speak at assembly even if they don’t want to, to go back to school after a hard day with friends the day before and so on,” says Manning who also runs a program for parents to support their anxious children, called Peaceful Parents.
As any parent knows, there is nothing worse than seeing your child in distress. It's hardly surprising that we want to minimise it.
But protecting children from the immediate distress they are feeling may lead to even greater anxiety in the future by inadvertently reinforcing the belief that the problem the child fears really is as bad as they think it is. Our intervention also dis-empowers them because we are essentially telling our children that they are not skilled or strong enough to deal with the problem on their own.
“The more we encourage avoidance, the more we are saying to our child that the thing they are anxious about should be avoided because firstly they won’t be able to cope and secondly, the problem or situation is too hard for a child to manage,” says Manning.
Rushing in too soon to protect our children from distress is also unsustainable. Life gets hard some times, we all feel uncomfortable emotions, and our kids need to develop the capacity to deal with these unpleasant feelings and confront their fears. This doesn’t mean that we turn off our empathy and tell our kids that they are effectively on their own now.
“It is vital that parents can tune into their child’s emotions, understand how they feel, name the emotion for the child, but not necessarily ‘fix’ the emotion,” says Manning.
If you do have an anxious child, the advice of Yale’s Dr Lewbowitz is to start small. Pick one way you might be accommodating your child’s anxiety and plan specific changes to your approach.
While it may be painful for both your child and you at first, you may be giving your child the life-long gift of learning to master their anxiety
by First Five Years, interview with Georgina Manning
Meet four-year-old Hannah. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays she goes to preschool and afterschool care until her mum picks her up at 5.30pm. On Thursdays, she has swimming followed by ballet. Fridays is soccer and art class at the local library. Saturdays are for soccer games and playdates while on Sundays, it is almost always someone’s birthday party.
Now Hannah’s parents aren’t expecting her to become a prima-ballerina or a soccer star or to be voted most popular in school. Hannah’s parents just want the best for her, want her to be happy and fulfilled, and want to make sure that she has every opportunity open to her.
Hannah’s parents are feeling the social pressure to keep their daughter busy, but is it actually good for Hannah?
It seems we have a current parenting culture of filling every hour of every day with interesting things for our children. In my work with families, most parents say they feel a pressure to keep up with other families that provide these extra activities and feel like they are not doing the right thing or giving their child the best opportunities if they don't put them in a range of activities.
The pressure to keep children busy
Counsellor and psychotherapist Georgina Manning, Director of Wellbeing For Kids, says there is an increase in children doing more out of school activities now than ever before.
“Parents are running children around from activity to activity and filling every spare moment with extracurricular activities,” she says.
“It seems we have a current parenting culture of filling every hour of every day with interesting things for our children. In my work with families, most parents say they feel a pressure to keep up with other families that provide these extra activities and feel like they are not doing the right thing or giving their child the best opportunities if they don't put them in a range of activities.”
Georgina also notes the pressure the extracurricular activities is putting on families.
“The pressure on parents to keep their children 'busy' is enormous and it is not working for the parents and not working for the children.
“All it is doing is putting enormous stress on families and families are left exhausted, stressed, anxious and irritable with little time left to just be in the moment or nourish the things that are important.”
Georgina says the decrease in free play can also lead to children losing out on valuable life skills and even potentially affect their mental health.
“It is really important that children learn to problem solve for themselves and if adults are hovering over their children every minute of every day, we are dis-empowering our children, and this has catastrophic consequences on their mental health.
“Children never learn to direct their own lives or think for themselves which erodes the development of self-efficacy.”
What is free play?Georgina explains that free play is play which is not directed by an adult in any way, but where children choose activities or games that interest them.
“This may include adults setting up the tools so kids can be engaged in their own play such as having art materials, Lego, or building materials around for children to investigate and explore.”
Free play, she says, is where “the child directs the play and there is no expected outcome from an adult. Examples of free play are playing in the garden, dress ups, singing, making a bug catcher, creating a cubby house, building with Lego, drawing, playing with toys using imagination, exploring the garden, creating a puppet show, role playing, being silly with friends, blowing bubbles, rolling on the grass, jigsaw puzzles, playing with pets etc.”
Georgina notes that screen time is definitely not free play and that screen time actually takes valuable time away from free play.
“Research shows that when children are using their imagination or in the state of wonder of their natural environment, just playing for the sake of playing without any expected outcome from an adult, then their brains are refreshed and rested,” she says.
“Children need to rest their brains regularly and by taking children from activity to activity, this only stresses children, leaving little time for this vital play time. Not only is this vital for children's mental health and overall wellbeing, but essential for development of social and emotional skills.”
Parents can get involved in the play too, says Georgina, as long as they aren’t directing the play, but rather playing with their child and letting their child take the lead.
How much free play should kids have?Georgina says there is no set amount of time parents should ensure their children are dedicating to free play. Instead, she recommends looking at the child’s weekly schedule and seeing how much time they really have to play.
“I often get parents of primary aged children to reflect on their child's week and create a visual of the week, putting in school time, homework, after school activities and screen time. Then parents can see clearly what time is left for free play.
“Parents are often really surprised to learn that there is very little time left in the day for their child to just play and to rest their brain. For preschoolers, having a mix of social interactions with peers and adult play, mixed in with some extra activities is a great mix for this age group."
“As preschoolers usually have a lot more free time than primary aged children, then it can be more beneficial for children to have a few extracurricular activities, however, these don't necessarily need to be a class or something that costs money.
“Catching up with other families and meeting in the park for a picnic in nature can be an extracurricular activity or going to the local library and listening to story time or choosing books for the week is also a valuable activity.
“If children are in day care then having time each day when they get home to just play without adult direction is vital as well as the parent/child playtime.” Should we ditch extracurricular activities completely?Georgina says that extracurricular activities can have their benefits.
“I do believe that team sports are very important for children to participate in and this would be one activity I would recommend for children. However, it is vital the focus is on fun, joy, enjoyment and healthy competition rather than the focus on creating sport stars or to be better than other children."
“This takes away the fun for children and the experience to look after each other and the chance to develop empathy. It can also create unnecessary stress for children if they are pushed to always be 'better' and 'win' - this automatically takes the children out of mindfully being in the moment of the activity.”
Georgina says that activities can help to teach children valuable life lessons. “If children are enrolled in an activity, then they need to see the term or year out in that activity to teach children persistence, grit, commitment and to manage difficult emotions. Particularly if children are in team sports, they have a responsibility to others as well."
For children who struggle to make friends or who have become too comfortable spending hours in front of a screen, Georgina recommends that extracurricular activities and playdates can be beneficial for them.
Free play ideas for families
by Delvin Yasa, Interview with Georgina Manning
Lucy* is only eight years old but she’s never been a big sleeper. Lying in bed at night, thoughts of death, failure and world injustice (her words) keep her sweating under her quilt until the early hours of the morning. When sleep does claim her, if only for a couple of hours at a time, she dreams about her family dying, her cats going missing, or her favourite toys being broken. It’s been that way since she was a baby, says her exhausted mother Pat*, who reveals they’ve been to no less than three psychologists, two counsellors, a host of GPs and one incredibly expensive psychiatrist to get to the bottom of what’s troubling her daughter.
“They’ve tried to put her on medication to reduce her anxiety, but I don’t want her to be medicated,” says Pat.
“I just want her to be happy and untroubled like other kids her own age.”
What Pat may not realise is that while she may want her daughter to be ‘untroubled’ like other kids, the number of Lucy’s peers who would be classed as ‘carefree’ are rapidly decreasing – so much so that studies now show that almost one in seven 4 – 17 year olds are battling or have battled a mental health disorder in the past year (equivalent to approximately 560,000 Australian children).
And while anxiety is largely hereditary (most experts agree inherited anxiety is linked to 30 – 40 per cent of anxiety disorders), counsellor and director of Wellbeing For Kids, Georgina Manning, says much of it is learned by watching mum and dad.
“Families today are stressed and busy, with no time to slow down and relax together and that frantic pace can set a dangerous undercurrent,” she says. “Through our behaviours and reactions to events and situations, kids today are growing up believing the world is a dark place and something to be frightened of.” A culture of little-to-no boundaries, a reinforcement of non-resilient behaviour and having too many choices help to create the perfect storm, she adds.
It’s worth noting that having a little bit of anxiety – particularly during stressful times such as exams, changing schools or teachers, or having a friend move away – is normal. A survival mechanism evolved over thousands of years to identify possible threats and prepare the body’s ‘fight or flight’ defence, a little bit of anxiety helps keep us safe. It’s only when the body’s panic response gets stuck and floods the body with adrenaline (panic) even though there’s no threat in sight that the anxiety can quickly turn into an anxiety disorder, which can present in one or a few of the following ways:
Generalised anxiety disorder
One of the more common anxiety disorders, children with generalised anxiety will worry excessively about everything, like Lucy. Physical symptoms often play their own role and can include regular headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension or tiredness.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
For kids with OCD, anxiety takes the form of obsessions and compulsions, such as counting, washing hands or rearranging toys in a particular way. They often become upset if their behaviour is interrupted or their routine changed.
Often occurring for no apparent reason, panic attacks can strike anywhere and at any time, with sudden physical symptoms which can include fainting, a shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, sweatiness and a pounding heart.
Phobias are when your child develops intense fears of something that wouldn’t normally be classed as dangerous, such as dogs, gaps in curtains, heights, flying or particular objects such as buttons.
This is a fear of social situations or speaking and interacting with others – particularly if a parent is not with them. In rare cases, kids with severe anxiety can also suffer from selective mutism which is where kids refuse to speak in situations they find too overwhelming.
Studies show early assessment and professional support is hugely beneficial for children suffering from an anxiety disorder, so keep an eye out for one or more of the following signs:
If you notice your child is suffering from one or a few of these, Manning suggests starting an honest dialogue in your household about what anxiety is and what it feels like. “Your child might have noticed that they feel a little differently to other kids he or she plays with so you want to reassure them that a little of bit of worry can actually be normal and helpful,” she explains.
“Ask them about the thoughts they have when they’re feeling anxious, so that you’re both turning towards what’s causing the anxiety rather than turning away from it.” The idea is to talk with your child in a supportive and non-judgmental way so that they always feel safe and free to share.
Helping your child face their fears rather than becoming an avoidance enabler will also assist them in the long-run, says Manning who explains gradual exposure holds the key in conquering fears and phobias. “If a child is terrified about speaking at a school assembly, for example, many parents will keep them home that day so that they don’t have to,” she says. “It’s short-term relief, but over time you’re just teaching them avoidance rather than developing confidence, resilience and strategies on how to cope with the difficulties of life and one thing we know is that children who build resilience tend to have lower anxiety levels in the long-run.”
Role modelling confident behaviours yourself is also important as ‘an anxious parent is an anxious child’, she says.
“If a parent is worried about exams or whether their child is going to get bullied, the child will soon follow suit and even if you’re not talking about your thoughts in the company of your child, rest assured they will still pick up on how you’re really feeling.” For this very reason, first-borns – often the product of much fussing and mollycoddling - tend to be more anxious than their younger brothers and sisters. “Parents are far more easygoing with the subsequent offspring and it shows in their demeanour.”
Listen to your kids and ask lots of questions about how they’re feeling. If their worries or behaviours continue for a number of weeks, or begin to affect their day-to-day activities, sleep or schooling, contact your GP to get a referral to speak with a children’s mental health specialist. “Sometimes your fears may not be warranted and your appointment can merely help reassure you on what is normal and what is not,” Manning says. “But if further investigation is needed, you’ll know your child is in very safe hands.”
If you require assistance with childhood anxiety, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Saying 'No' To Your Children Is Good For Them. International Business Times, Interview with Georgina Manning
Most parents want to give their kids everything they want in life. But according to parenting experts, saying “yes” to every demand that your children make may not be the right approach when it comes to instilling the right values in them.
Traversing the journey of becoming an assertive parent from a passive one can often be hard, especially for those who remain busy with work for the most part of the day, and do not get time to spend with their young ones. So naturally, when such a parent comes back home only to find their kid throwing tantrums, the easier option is to succumb to the demands.
Whatever be the reason, it has been observed that modern parents find it harder to say “no” to their children. “I think the pendulum has swung completely another way from parenting 30 or 40 years ago. It has swung from an authoritarian parenting style to a permissive parenting style,” Georgina Manning, the Director of Wellbeing For Kids — an organization based in Melbourne, Australia, that helps parents reach social and emotional business outcomes — told the International Business Times.
“This has been partly due to the self-esteem movement and also the wellbeing message that has been hijacked to a certain extent," she added. "Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes is a more effective way where parents are still in charge but also emotionally tuned in and supportive of our children, where we can be present and involved in our children's lives but also teach limits and positive values.”
Manning also underlined that no matter how difficult parents may find it to deny their children their immediate wishes, it is important for the kids to hear the word "no."
“Children need to feel a range of emotions and it is important we don't shield our child from these,” she said. “We want children to become comfortable with the uncomfortable over time. Children don't suddenly learn about feeling a range of emotions or handling strong emotions at 18 — we need our kids to learn about their emotions from a young age and be coached in how to manage these feelings over time.”
Delayed gratification, as a life skill, is often taken for granted and parents today assume their children learn about earning what they get in life as they grow up.
“As adults, we have to wait for things and work hard for rewards,” Manning told the IBT. “Teaching children to wait for what they want and they may not always get what they want are lessons best learned early. Having a false sense of how the world works is setting our kids up for failure. We are also at risk of developing entitlement in children if they get what they want when they want. As adults, we would not be able to hold down a job or have healthy deep relationships with an entitled attitude such as this.”
According to Bea Marshall, a parenting coach based in the United Kingdom, contrary to the popular belief and the negative notion attached to the word “no,” it actually does not end up lowering self-esteem in children, when spoken by parents in a limited manner.
Bored children doesn’t mean bad parenting and encourages creativity by Mercedes Maguire, interview with Georgina Manning
DO YOU scrunch your face in frustration when your hear your child mutter the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored”?
Take a deep breath and unclench your fists — guess what? Being bored is actually good for children and not a sign of bad parenting. Psychologists report children are bombarded with constant entertainment through technology, bedrooms full of toys and a schedule of activities that would make the Prime Minister’s head spin.
Where is the time to stare vacantly out of the window, daydream, or just sit and think clearly and calmly?
Research shows boredom, or the frustration that comes with not being engaged in anything at all, offers great benefits for children in particular. It allows the mind a moment to stop and rest, but ultimately boredom is the pathway to creative thinking and imaginative play.
A bored mind, it is argued, will seek something more interesting to do. Dr Helen Street, a social psychologist and creator of the Positive Schools Initiative, which promotes mental health and wellbeing conferences in primary and secondary schools, says children need to experience boredom more than ever before. “We are seeing a massive creativity deficit in kids. “A child’s school life is more structured than ever and from an earlier age than ever before,” Dr Street says.
“There is this idea that school is a race and the sooner you get started on it the better you’ll be. Then of course there is the advent of technology, which has taken over our lives in the past decade. It allows children to spend an awful lot of downtime passively engaged with screens and leaves kids with very little time for unstructured play.
“As a result we are seeing a massive creativity deficit in kids. People often mistake creativity with having an artistic skill, but that is not what we are talking about here.
“Creativity is important because it allows you to actively engage in life, to connect with people and pursue your passions. But to do that you have to learn to be self-directed.
An expert says technology is not the sole culprit for a lack of self-directed play in homes and schools.
“This is difficult for a child who has grown up having every demand met by their parents and every moment filled in with scheduled, structured activity, with little or no choice or control over what happens next.”
The value of boredom is not a new theory, famed philosopher Bertrand Russell pointed out the benefits as early as 1930 in his book The Conquest of Happiness, where he states “a child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil”.
In 1999 a pair of German public health officers were so concerned with the amount of toys provided to children in preschools they introduced a bold plan. Called Der Spielzeugfreie Kindergarten, or the nursery without toys, they removed every toy from a preschool for three months of the year, leaving only tables, chairs and the odd blanket.
“One of the best things they can do for their child is allow time for regular free play every day.” The observers noted that on the first day the children sat hesitantly staring at each other, but by the second day they were using the blankets and tables to create castles and cubbies, and the chairs to simulate trains. The teachers reported the children concentrated, socialised and communicated better following this period.
Put simply, the theory shows that bored children will seek out a more satisfying activity because the actual act of being bored is so lacking, the mind will naturally start to seek out more enjoyment.
It’s easy to blame technology for the zombie-like ways children sit for hours clutching their devices or staring at the television. But Dr Street says technology is not the sole culprit for a lack of self-directed play in homes and schools. “Self-directed play allows children to engage in an activity where they have choice and control over what they do,” Dr Street says.
“It allows a child to become so totally engrossed in their activity that time passes without them even noticing. It’s called being ‘in slow’ or ‘in the zone’ and it’s a wonderful feeling but, as parents, we don’t allow enough of it.”
Counsellor and psychotherapist Georgina Manning created the program Peaceful Kids, which instructs children on how to achieve mindfulness and meditation in schools, after she noticed a spike in stress and anxiety in children as young as five. The two-day program, taught in schools across Australia, teaches children to be fully present through a range of exercises.
“The program teaches kids simple activities like how to notice their breath when their mind wanders,” the Wellbeing For Kids director says.
“But it’s also important for kids to engage in informal mindfulness, which is just free, creative play, things like playing with Lego, making robots from cardboard, building an ant farm, dressing up. This kind of informal mindfulness allows them to become fully immersed and it clears the mind.
“If a child never has the opportunity to rest their mind — and sleep alone doesn’t do it — it can lead to anxiety, ongoing stress response, perfectionism, generally being unhappy and burning out.”
She says the main elements in society preventing boredom is too much technology, over-scheduling activities and having a stressed family life.
“Parents often feel guilty if their child isn’t constantly engaged in structured activities like sport, music, dance, drama and tutoring,” she says.
“But one of the best things they can do for their child is allow time for regular free play every day.”
DOING BATTLE WITH SCREENS
MOOREBANK mum Kylie Reynolds remembers playing with friends, riding her bike and swimming in the backyard pool after coming home from school. But the mum to Jay, 12, Kayla, 10 and Lachlan, four months, says a lot has changed from one generation to the next. She says she does daily battle with her children to get them off their screens and play like kids used to. “I think parenting kids today is a lot more complicated and challenging than when I was a kid,” she says. “And as far as I can see, the main reason is technology.
Kylie Reynolds with children Jay 12, Lachlan 17 weeks and Kayla, 10, near their home in Moorebank. “Kids have such a dependence of those screens and when I put the hammer down and say enough is enough, they really fight me on it. Kayla will find other things to do when I take the screens away, she’ll colour or read a book or play with toys, but it’s much tougher with Jay.”
Reynolds says she worries this generation of children are losing their ability to use their imagination or to be creative because of the dependence on screens. “I remember being bored when I was little but I’d go to a friend’s house to play or swim in the pool, I’d be out all afternoon with my friends, coming home only when dinner was ready.
“But I think parents are too scared to let their kids wander too far on their own these days, and I’ll admit I’m guilty of that too. I’m sure the threats that are around now were around back then but it wasn’t in your face like it is now.
“The kids have plenty to do in the backyard, we have a netted trampoline, a pool and have had cubbies, slip ‘n’ slides and totem tennis, but they lose interest after a while.
“I can see ... how boredom can lead to kids finding more creative things to do. But I do think technology has reduced their interest in other simpler activities.”
With the rise of the internet and mobile technology, the children of today exist in a vastly different world than the one we grew up in. Whereas all the world’s information was once contained within the 32 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica and the daily newspaper, we are now exposed to a constant barrage of 24 hour news cycles, advertising, ‘fake news’, ‘sponsored content’ and social media ‘influencers’ that make it difficult to find the balance of staying informed and nurturing our offline relationships with our families and friends, nature and ourselves.
Indeed, finding the balance has fast become one of the biggest issues facing families and children today. Information overload and addiction to screens and social media has seen a rise in a vast array of interconnected health and wellbeing issues. Obesity, anxiety, stress, depression, sleep deprivation and social isolation have all been linked to overuse and addiction to screens, social media and gaming in children and adults alike. When these issues present in children, the effects on their social development and learning can be devastating.
Much of this can be attributed to the ubiquitousness of technology and screens and the increasingly intelligent designs of games and social media. Where video games were once developed to be more technically and visually advanced then their competition, online games and social media are now engineered to influence the way we think and act in much the same way poker machines do. They target the pleasure centres of our brains with the sole purpose of occupying as much of our time as possible to expose us to the advertisements that keep their revenue streams flowing.
Facebook and other social media platforms know when you wake up, go to sleep and are most likely to use your device. They will send a notification just prior to these times in order to catch your attention and expose you to more content and ads. Online games from app stores will create rewards, blockers and limits which ensure children are compelled to continually check in with the game at regular intervals.
This is not to detract from the many advantages that technology has brought to our lives. Medical advances, long distance travel, free and open education and the ability to communicate with those far away as if we are face to face, are all aspects of our daily lives that we now take for granted. However, as the saying goes, we mustn’t allow technology capabilities to bring those far away much closer at the expense of making those close to us more distant.
To combat this, we must be proactive in setting limits and rules. We must make a conscious effort to monitor our own technology use to set the example to our children. Below is a small list of things you can do now to help your children develop positive habits with their technology use.
Set the example – Be aware of the example you set to your children with your own technology use. Downloading an app such as ‘Moment’ can help you monitor the time you spend on your device and how many times you pick it up throughout the day. This can be quite an eye opener.
Create family rules and stick to them – These can vary for children of different ages and between weekdays and weekends.
Technology free times – Make a time every day that is technology free. The hours leading up to bedtime are particularly important as the light emitted from screens block the buildup of melatonin which helps us get to sleep. Green time as well as screen time – Ensure children are given the opportunity to interact with nature and the environment.
No technology in bedrooms – Setting this rule early makes it much easier when your child becomes a teenager. If possible, have the computer/device in the living room or where family spends most of their time. This allows for easier supervision.
Encourage open communication – Talk to your child about their technology use. Ask what apps they are using. Get them to show you how they work, what they do. Continually encourage them to come to you if they feel uncomfortable or there is problem without worrying about being in trouble. If you threaten to take away their device when they come to you, they most likely won’t come to you again.
Staying ahead of the technological curve in today’s world is not easy and there will always be times where things slip by us. However, by setting the ground rules early and being tuned in to the effects, both good and bad, of technology in our everyday lives, we can help ensure our children are creating positive habits early that will allow them to flourish in their learning, relationships and daily lives.
Below are two great sites to help you stay up to date with how your children are using technology and the latest trends.