1 in 3 Parents in Canada See Teens Struggling With Emotional Issues Online

Survey by national charity Kids Help Phone found that many parents worry about online usage and lack confidence in supporting struggling teens

TORONTO, May 10, 2017 /CNW/ - One in three parents (32 per cent) notice teens struggling with emotional issues on social media daily, as revealed in a recent Kids Help Phone survey of 1,000 parents of teens aged 12 to 18. The survey also found that 60 per cent of parents with a household income level of $35,000 or less noticed a young person struggling daily, which is almost double the national average.1

Kids Help Phone hopes that the results of the survey raise awareness about the importance of paying attention to and discussing teens' emotional health online, at home, and in schools. The charity also encourages adults to guide young people to appropriate resources online and offline, particularly in the summer months when they may spend more time online.

"Today's youth routinely search for information online and on social media about issues such as  body image, suicide, and bullying; however they may not be talking to their parents, friends or relatives," said Sharon Wood, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone. "These new survey results tell us that adults can create opportunities in the summer months to proactively engage and talk to their teens, and guide them to credible and appropriate content about these and other issues."

The survey found that 36 per cent of parents have daily anxiety about their child's social media interactions, and that parents are on different social media channels than their teens. For example, while 62 per cent of teens aged 16 to 18 are on Instagram and 58 per cent are on Snapchat2, the survey uncovered that only 30 per cent of parents with teens aged 16 to 18 are on Instagram only 14 per cent are on Snapchat.  

In response to young people's changing communication patterns and access to technology, Kids Help Phone has launched a new brand identity and website that will help more young people access the support they need, in the way they need it most.

The new mobile responsive website will improve how young people access information and support through user-centred search and tailored content. A new and improved chat app was also developed in response to young people's growing preference to connect to a counsellor via online chat.

The organization will also be launching a social media campaign later this month. "Kids Help Phone is a trusted ally that empowers young people to talk about a wide array of issues, without fear of judgement," said Melanie Simons, Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement. "Our new social media campaign will help shine a light on the real-life issues young people are facing, and connect them to further resources and support."

"Canada's young people urgently need Kids Help Phone," said Wood. "While our organization has a pioneering history of bringing new solutions to critical problems facing young people, the issues and help-seeking behaviors of young people have changed. Therefore, we must transform."

"These survey results and service innovations come just ahead of the summer months, when teens have more free time to reflect and are experiencing a change of environment outside their school routine. This is a good reminder for adults to proactively engage and talk to their children this summer and help guide them to credible information and services like Kids Help Phone that they can trust."



The national online survey was conducted on April 19, 2017 by Toluna in English and French among 1,000 Canadian parents with teens aged 12 – 18.


GlobalWebIndex Canadians 16-18 (Q1-Q4, 2016).


Key Survey Highlights

  • 1 in 3 parents in Canada see teens struggling with emotional issues on social media
  • Only half (51 per cent) of parents report having conversations about social media and online use with their teens.
  • 60 per cent of parents with lower incomes ($35,000 or less) notice their teens struggling with emotional issues on social media daily, compared to 32 per cent of parents overall
  • 51 per cent of dads report experiencing daily anxiety about their child's social media interactions and online use.
  • Only 24% of parents of older teens between the ages of 16-18 feel confident in knowing what to do if they saw their teen struggling with something on social media like bullying or suicidal thoughts.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is a Canadian and world leader, known for our expertise and continuous innovation as Canada's only 24/7 professional counselling and information service for young people. Since 1989, we have offered kids, teens, and young adults a critical lifeline of hope and support through our free, anonymous service, which research shows significantly improves youth mental health. Young people reach out to Kids Help Phone's counsellors from every corner of the country via phone and Live Chat and also benefit from our database of local youth-serving programs.

Kids Help Phone's website is a widely recognized model of youth-focused design, offers therapeutic tools, games, information, and counselling. As an organization that speaks with young people every day, we work to share their perspectives and improve their well-being on a societal level. Kids Help Phone is a registered Canadian charity, and we raise the majority of our revenues from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising. Thanks to our generous donors, we can work to achieve our vision of a future where every young person in Canada will access the support they need, in the way they need it most. 

Accredited member, Imagine Canada Standards Program.
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SOURCE Kids Help Phone

For further information: Kids Help Phone, Melanie Simons, Director, Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement, (416) 586-5437 ext. 8352, melanie.simons@kidshelpphone.ca; Porter Novelli, Candice So, Senior Consultant, (416) 422-7158, candice.so@porternovelli.com


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