E-cigarettes, cyberbullying and depression are among the issues affecting our kids in 2018. The question is, how much is the impact? And, of course, what can we do to help our kids?
Since 2001, the Board of Supervisors and the School Board have co-sponsored the annual Youth Survey, which helps to monitor behavior trends and changes among our youth and provides crucial information to help prioritize the focus for prevention efforts throughout the community. It is an anonymous and voluntary survey given each year to students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12. In 2017-2018, 48,225 students participated – representing 86 percent of enrolled students.
The news is mostly positive from the survey – several risk behaviors remain at low levels. However, there are still areas of concern.
Even better news is that you can actively help a teen to succeed and avoid/reduce risk behaviors. The Three to Succeed analysis in the Youth Survey shows that teens having at least three of these six positive factors and support from their community can help them succeed and flourish:
- Having high personal integrity.
- Performing community service.
- Having teachers recognize good work.
- Having community adults to talk to.
- Participating in extracurricular activities.
- Having parents available for help.
Five top takeaways from the 2017-2018 Youth Survey:
Past 30-day e-cigarette use (9.7%) more than doubled since 2016 and continues to be more prevalent than regular cigarette use (2.6%).
Lifetime (17.8%) and past 30-day (9.5%) marijuana use has plateaued after decreasing since 2013.
Reported rates of being a victim of cyberbullying (9.7%), as well as being an aggressor (4.3%), continued to decrease in 2017.
The number of youth who eat five or more fruits and vegetables per day (22.5%) is at its lowest rate since 2010.
However, the prevalence of overall depressive symptoms (27.3%) for 8th-, 10th- and 12th-grade students increased from its lowest rate in 2016. And 6th-graders reported prevalence of depressive symptoms (22.3%) at its highest rate since 2011.