By Arastou Aminzadeh, M.D., Founder, BNI Treatment Centers
One of the most distressing effects of the pandemic has been its affect on teen mental health. Young people spent a significant amount of time cooped up at home, forced to give up most of their social activities due to lockdowns. This resulted in increased teen loneliness.
At a time in their development that social interactions play a key role in helping adolescents acquire healthy social skills, teens were left few options this last year. Most would default to the Internet to find peers to chat with on social media platforms and forums, or to kill time with online activities. In fact, the majority of a teenager’s social life has occurred online for a year now.
Teen loneliness was already a common problem prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research from Italy and Iran had previously studied the connection between loneliness among young people and subsequent internet addiction. Both studies demonstrated a positive correlation between these two factors.
Now, a new study out of Finland further cements this relationship between teen loneliness and compulsive internet use. The new variable in this recent study is the pandemic and how it has exacerbated teen loneliness, and therefore, internet addiction. The fallout from the excessive time online is an increased sense of loneliness because it replaced real life social interactions.
About Teen Loneliness During COVID-19
Ask any teen if they sometimes experience loneliness and they are likely to nod their head in the affirmative. All young people sometimes feel left out or lonely. However, teens who suffered from more pronounced feelings of loneliness may have been struggling with depression or another mood disorder, social anxiety, or a personality disorder. Some loneliness is normal, but intense chronic loneliness is typically associated with a mental health challenge.
During the pandemic, however, loneliness became its own epidemic that affected everyone of all ages. Teens, though, were hardest hit by the effects of the social distancing policies because of the significant role socializing plays in their daily life. Where adults had plenty of other distractions, teens were left with a gaping void in their life.
Study Shows Increase in Internet Addiction Among Lonely Teens
According to the Finnish study that was published in February 2021 in the Child Development journal, compulsive internet use has increased at a statistically significant rate. Dysfunctional internet behavior would include online gaming addiction, copious amounts of time on social media sites, and consumption of online pornography.
Further, the study found a direct connection between compulsive online behaviors and depression. This went both ways. A teen that was depressed may have spent more time online, as a distraction or salve, while teens that spent copious amounts of time online were more prone to develop depression. In either scenario, depression was the link.
In addition to the mood disorder, adolescents that engaged in excessive online activity had poorer academic performance. This is attributed to the amount of time that is consumed by online activities, which cuts into the time available to study.
The study determined that it wasn’t only due to a lack of social time with their friends this last year that has resulted in compulsive online behavior. The authors found that teens whose parents were not around, or who were inattentive, were also likely to turn to the Internet to fill their sense of loneliness.
COVID-19 and Teen Mental Health
There is no denying the serious impact the pandemic and lockdowns have had on our young people. Major milestones have been skipped over, social events radically altered or cancelled, schools closed, and, of course, the loss of live, in-person social interaction.
Teens need structure, predictable daily routines, and a sense of safety. During the past year these basic needs are not being met. Many kids have lost loved ones to the virus, or seen their parents become unemployed. All of this is very difficult for a teen to process and manage, as their limbic system is not fully developed at this age. Brain functions like impulse control, emotion regulation, and decision-making will be under construction until age 25.
As a mental health practitioner, I can confirm that our teens are struggling at higher rates than usual. Anxiety and depression are definitely on the rise in this cohort. When the dust settles we will have to face the statistics head on and provide additional services for struggling adolescents.
Other Causes of Teen Loneliness
At first glance, it may seem that teen loneliness is simply caused by a lack of friends. Maybe the teen struggles socially and has trouble establishing or maintaining sound friendships. But in reality, there are many other factors that can contribute to feelings of loneliness. Consider these 5 things that can cause loneliness:
- Moving. Possibly the family has recently relocated. Even if the new home is not that far from their former home, the unfamiliar surroundings can triggers feelings of loneliness. This even more so if the move is quite a distance away from their old friends and school.
- Social anxiety disorder. Some teens have a heightened or irrational fear of being judged by their peers. Because of the fear of being publicly criticized or mocked, the teen chooses to isolate, leading to loneliness.
- Feeling excluded. Teens are very sensitive. Most teens have the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, which means they crave the feeling of belonging and being included in social gatherings. When they are passed over repeatedly it can lead to feelings of loneliness and even depression.
- Social media. While the word “social” in social media may sound like it is all about connecting with others, in fact social media can enhance feelings of loneliness in teens. This is due to the unnatural, shallow, and sometimes toxic “relationships” made on social media platforms.
- Being bullied. Cyber-bullying is extremely damaging to a teen’s self-esteem. When they happen to be the target of a bully who uses social media to embarrass or shame them, they will feel marginalized and isolated.
At this time in history it is essential for parents to be fully present for their children, and tuned into their mood states. If the teen is exhibiting signs of depression due to loneliness, and seem to self-medicate by engaging in compulsive internet use, it would be a good time to have the teen evaluated. Parents truly hold the key.
About the Author
Dr. Arastou Aminzadeh is a triple board certified physician in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine, and is the co-founder of BNI Treatment Centers in Agoura Hills, California. Dr. Aminzadeh is a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and also a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. A well respected leader in the field, he also holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, where he completed his residency and fellowship.
The Yuletide season is here, and while most people look forward to celebrating with loved ones and friends, others are just gritting their teeth as they try to survive the holidays. According to a poll conducted last year by the American Psychiatric Association, 41 percent of adults experienced an increase in worrying during the season. Moreover, this year, more than 30 percent of individuals are expecting to feel more stressed than they did in 2021. Family tensions and fights, gift-giving obligations, and financial woes are causing people to feel stress and anxiety during the holidays, making them unable to enjoy what is supposed to be a joyous time. Thankfully, there are ways to rise above these challenges so you can have the happiest of holidays this year.
Don’t Engage in Family Feuds
Stress is a normal part of life– in fact, a little stress can be good for you since it challenges you to think on your feet and makes you better at solving day-to-day problems. However, having to deal with constant, unrelenting stress due to serious problems, such as medical and legal issues, can result in negative health problems since these can put you at risk of health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. This is why getting treatment or legal support is essential if ever you’re struggling with legal or medical problems, since doing so can help to alleviate stress and take some of the weight off your shoulders.
While it may not be as serious as a pre-existing medical condition or a legal matter, having to deal with family drama can also be stressful, especially during the holidays. A recent survey indicates that one in four people are expecting that their family dynamics may affect their mental health this holiday season. If your family environment is too toxic and it causes you to feel anxious or depressed, experts advise that it may be worth it to put some distance between you and them instead of forcing yourself to abide by family traditions.
While it may seem harsh, it’s an effective self-preservation technique that can make you feel a lot better, so you may want to rethink your plans to travel for that family reunion that you aren’t looking forward to. Meanwhile, for those who are still living with family members, the best course of action is not to engage in feuds and avoid getting into heated debates with anyone. If you feel that the tension is building, excuse yourself so you can have a much needed break.
Trim Your Gift Giving List
Having to spend money on gifts for a lot of people, not to mention finding the time to look and shop for presents, can be incredibly stressful for anybody. To lessen your burden, consider trimming your gift giving list. For instance, it may be nice to give your postman, the guy who regularly delivers your packages, and the kids’ teachers a little something for Christmas, but it’s not necessary. And while giving gifts to family members is a must, you may want to have a talk with your relatives to see if you can help each other out regarding this matter. For example, you and your siblings and cousins may agree to skip gifts for the grownups and only get presents for the children. You may also want to agree on a set amount of cash that will be spent on each person, or contribute money for one large gift for a certain relative.
Simple can be Memorable
A lavish Christmas spread may look impressive on your social media posts, but sometimes, even just a few simple dishes that are prepared with love and care will suffice. Instead of splurging on an expensive charcuterie spread and a dessert table, opt for a holiday meal that has one or two appetizers, two main dishes, two sides, and one dessert. Decorate your table to make it look festive, and light some candles to add ambiance. Doing so not only helps to save you money, but it’ll also save you the stress of cooking and prepping too many dishes. You’ll also have more time to bond with your family instead of spending the holidays slaving away at the kitchen.
This year, take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing by dealing with the things that are causing you stress and anxiety. Consider these tips to have a better time during the holidays, and enjoy the season with your loved ones.
Financial planning is something that all people should start at an early age. In fact, as soon as you start working and making a living, you must set yourself up for a lifetime of financial success by creating a plan to follow. The better the plan is, the more likely you will gain a sizable wealth. Wealth that can be taken away from you if a serious medical problem arises with you or one of your loved ones.
That is not to say that financial planning will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams because numerous aspects of life can help, or hurt, that idea. Regardless, there are a few key reasons to consider health insurance as a part of that financial plan.
- Tax Benefits – The governing bodies have put an extra percentage payment in place if you make over a set amount of yearly income. That percentage is currently set between one and one and a half percent of your income, which can be a substantial amount when you do the math.
- Bills – A solid financial plan depends largely upon the payments you have going out, compared to the cash you have coming in. The only way to get ahead is to have more money coming in than you have going out. Medical insurance can help achieve this by helping pay off surprise medical needs or even checkups to help prevent any major medical disasters from hitting you without any notice.
- Medical Savings – Even with the best health insurance policy, you will be responsible for paying a co-payment, or a percentage, of the bills you acquire. Part of financial planning should always include a medical savings account set aside and built upon to pay those bills when they do come up. Otherwise, you will have to dig into your family savings account.
- Family – A part of life everyone looks forward to is building a family with the perfect partner. If that includes having children, using a comparison platform, such as the iSelect pregnancy health insurance site, is imperative to ensure that the bills associated from day one until birth are covered.
- Rising Medical Cost – It may be thought that medical prices would level off because the cost is so high already, but that is not how the trend has been surging. In fact, the higher the living wage becomes the more medical care increases. If you want to have any chance of building a comfortable financial future, medical insurance is not an option, but a necessity.
- Retirement – Once you hit retirement age, you may have a good amount of savings built up, but even then, you will not have the disposable income that you have been used to having throughout your life. It is imperative to have a good health plan that will cover most of the expenses because as you get older medical care will be more important and will be needed more often.
The bottom line is that you need medical coverage for you, your partner, your children, and your children that are yet to come. It is the only way to cover the bills, especially as you age. A solid financial plan is not complete until health care coverage is addressed.
With the increase in online business transactions, there are so many options available that having a medical plan should never mean that all your extra cash goes to pay for the premiums. In fact, with a little looking around, and some research, it will be simple to find the perfect amount of coverage for a price that will not break the bank.
While we are only a few days into the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament, the matches have been lit with thrilling performances. We have seen huge one-sided results, smooth draws and, most of all, surprising upsets. From Saudi Arabia’s shock victory over the World Cup Betway sports betting favorite Argentina to Japan’s surprising victory over football powerhouse Germany, here are the greatest World Cup upsets in the 2022 Qatar tournament.
Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia (1-2)
The 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup is proving to be a great campaign for underdogs. The 22nd of November will be remembered as one of the greatest days in Saudi Arabia’s football history. Following their surprising victory, the Saudi King announced a day’s holiday in the team’s honor.
In one of the greatest surprises in the history of soccer, Saudi Arabia surprised Betway World Cup sports betting favorites, Argentina, by beating them 2-1 in a highly contested match. As expected, Argentina played quite well during the first half, with Lionel Messi scoring a goal. However, Saudi Arabia scored two goals to take the lead early in the second, but even their star player (Messi) couldn’t help them recover.
Argentina hadn’t lost in 36 matches before falling prey to Saudi Arabia’s well-calculated gameplay. That was the first time in six attempts that the Saudi Arabia Green Falcons won their World Cup opening match. The Falcons rank 31st out of the 32 participants in the world cup.
Germany vs. Japan (1-2)
In a tale of fleeting football, bold substitutions and a relentless attitude, Japan surprised the football world with their well- deserved 2-1 victory over football powerhouse Germany in their World Cup opener. The Blue Samurais used all their 26% possession to give Germany their first upset in 26 games.
While Ilkay Gundogan gave Germany an early lead with his calm penalty with 33 minutes on the clock, Japan launched several counterattacks, which should have alerted the Germans of what was coming. By halftime, Germany dominated the game with 80% possession and 14 shots, with five being on target. Unfortunately, that didn’t matter in the end.
Often criticized for negatively setting up his men, Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu made attacking changes in a flip second. At one point, two wingers were playing as full-backs, which made it look like Moriyasu was organizing a rugby team. However, Japan managed to slice through Hansi Flick’s men during the second half and kept growing in belief.
Japan’s main man, Junya Ito, continued chasing the ball and causing trouble for Germany’s defense, which paid off in the end.
Belgium vs. Morocco (0-2)
In another thrilling and surprising match in Qatar, Morocco weathered a heavy first-half storm to claim their first World Cup win since 1998 as they crashed Belgium 2-0 in Group F. Morocco fans raucously celebrated the win at the Al Thumama Stadium after the match.
While Belgium dominated the first half, they could not convert that dominance into goals. During the second half, Morocco’s substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri curved a free kick past Belgium’s talented goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. At stoppage time, another substitute, Zakaria Aboukhlal, secured the win for Morocco to give them the lead in Group F with four points, a point above their opponents.
Top Picks: 6 best tech degrees you can consider
The role of technology is evident in every business across various industries. It automates the systems, boosts productivity, accelerates the flow of communication, and streamlines daily operations.
With an increased demand for experts in the rapidly evolving IT industry, choosing a degree becomes challenging. You cannot select a degree in information technology just because it includes the word “information technology.”
Before finalizing your decision, you need to research and figure out the following:
- What specialization has the potential for a stable career in the future?
- Which degree program is in the trend or newly introduced?
- Which degree can help you continue your education?
By reading this blog, you can filter out some degree programs to excel in the information technology sector.
Here are the six best tech degrees you can consider to launch your career in the tech industry.
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field that has become an integral component of today’s businesses and organizations. In the purview of rising cyber threats and criminals, the demand for cybersecurity experts is booming. You can pursue a master of science in cybersecurity to defend organizational systems and processes from internal and external threats. It primarily focuses on techniques and tools to assess and handle the systems and network for vulnerabilities and potential threats.
Moreover, an online cybersecurity degree helps you to gain and polish essential skills needed for the digital world. You can pursue a career path in the highly promising field at any time with an online master’s in cybersecurity while continuing your job. It prepares you to protect digital infrastructure by implementing security principles and threat response mechanisms.
You can become an information security specialist, penetration tester, cybersecurity engineer, and cybersecurity analyst after obtaining a cybersecurity master’s degree. Other advanced positions are chief information security officer and chief privacy officer.
Master in Computer Science
The most common degree that every tech enthusiast can pursue is a master’s in computer science. This degree is suitable for students who might get confused about what to decide from among the wide range of computer specializations. You can get to know different majors with time and pursue a specialization later on.
Computer science graduates focus mainly on advanced computer technology, its theory, and practice. They learn about software and related systems while getting technical knowledge of software development, design, and applications.
In addition, students also study programming languages, computer architecture, algorithm design, and artificial intelligence. This degree also inculcates critical thinking and problem-solving skills in students.
After obtaining a master’s in computer science, you can land a job as a data scientist, system analyst, IT manager, and software developer. If you’re interested in advancing toward teaching and research, you can gain higher education in computer science to grab such job opportunities.
Master in Data Analytics
Data analytics is a crucial part of every industry in the modern and fast-paced dynamics of the 21st century. It makes information processing and handling easier and faster. With the production of huge amounts of data every day, it is nearly impossible to store and manage data without data analytics.
A master’s in data analytics provides students with a strong foundation of data collection, storage, organization, and maintenance principles. You can get practical skills for designing and developing systems and tools for data collection and storage. Moreover, as a data analytics student, you learn how to generate result-oriented and valuable insights from a huge pile of data. It also polishes the communication skills of the students as they discuss and share reports and actionable insights with key stakeholders. After earning a data analytics degree, you can become a chief data officer, data scientist, chief technology officer, business systems analyst, and more.
Master in Information Technology
Information technology is the driving force behind the success of systems and applications worldwide. Students of information technology learn about digital systems and related technology.
Core subjects of an information technology degree include software development, computer programming, internet technologies, data systems, information modeling, etc. You can enroll in highly in-demand subjects like IT management, cloud computing, and many more. It provides you with the foundation to pursue tech specializations further.
A master in information technology can land you a job as a data analyst, IT technician, IT manager, etc.
Master in Health Information Management (HIM)
Modern healthcare systems heavily rely on information technology to deliver quality patient care and streamline medical setups. A master’s in health information management is a combination of information technology and healthcare services where you can develop a better understanding of how tech can upgrade the healthcare industry.
Health information technology prepares students to get a stronghold of IT concepts that are prevalent and useful in the healthcare industry. You can expect to store, process, and manage patients’ data and generate reports.
As an HIM student, you study the healthcare revenue cycle, including medical billing, privacy protocols, and patient data confidentiality. Moreover, you also learn about health-related laws and regulations such as Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and others. This degree trains you to handle health-related information and data according to US government standards and get accreditation. After getting this degree, you can pursue your career in the healthcare industry as a medical coder, clinical systems manager, and medical research analyst.
Master in Software Engineering
Software engineering involves designing and developing code for software and its applications, websites, and computer programs. In addition, it also covers software maintenance, where software engineers meet deadlines within a set budget for high-quality software. This degree is an advanced version of the master’s in web designing, where you can learn advanced applications and gain a comprehensive knowledge of all digital systems, including websites.
You can become a part of the thriving IT industry as a software engineer, software architect, or software developer.
The robust shift in industries across the globe set the pace for an increased demand for IT experts. The Tech industry has been continuously evolving while creating new roles every day. After gaining an IT degree, you can kickstart your career in the multidimensional technology industry with high financial growth. However, it would be best to explore various options before making a final choice to launch your career. It will help you pick the best option that aligns with your goals and interests.
The quality of a company’s brand is important, but the company’s physical presence is also crucial. The way your workplace is decorated sends a strong message to potential customers.
If you work in the creative sector, your workplace must reflect your innovative approaches to increase efficiency and output. Therefore, you must design a one-of-a-kind office space based on cutting-edge concepts that improve productivity in the office and leave a lasting impression on guests. When clients visit your workplace, they will immediately be able to see that you put thought and care into its design because of how different it looks from the competition.
Employees are more motivated and creative in a setting that inspires and delights the senses. As a result, they can increase their output and functionality.
6 Office Design Ideas for a Creative Business
Here are some suggestions on how individuals in the creative industries may lay out their workplaces to best showcase their capabilities via an office fit out.
Strive For Innovation
Since you work for a creative firm, you are expected to use cutting-edge equipment and strategies to create visually appealing spaces for employees.
If, for example, your company has several locations, a UHD video conferencing system may facilitate communication and collaboration across offices, resulting in more streamlined operations. Without having to deal with cumbersome phone conversations and texting, your employees can flawlessly collaborate and generate innovative concepts.
A nicely equipped lounge with cafe tables provides a comfortable space for staff to unwind during breaks. Put a screen here so that folks can relax and unwind with some entertainment. A lounge is great for teams to meet and collaborate on initiatives that best serve your clients.
Layout with Open Areas and Flexible Rooms
Creative workers often prefer quiet, enclosed offices where they can focus without distractions. However, when employees’ work depends on their ability to collaborate and communicate with one another, open office layouts might allow them to do so more effectively.
Therefore, it is more productive to provide people with creative roles in an organization with cubicles, pods, or workstations along a long table. To maximize the positive effects of natural light and teamwork in the workplace, arrange desks in a row along windows.
These days, a flexible, cutting-edge workplace welcomes a variety of employees and their various ways of working. Variable shift workstations, Zoom rooms that can be set up in minutes, and on-demand conference rooms help employees work when and how they like.
People who spend most of their time inside benefit greatly from access to natural light and good air quality in the workplace. It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to use green spaces such as sunbeds, breezeways, and indoor gardens when the weather is suitable. Patios, terraces, and picnic spaces are common features in modern office spaces, allowing workers to enjoy fresh air and sunshine throughout the workday. Establishing good feng shui in the workplace may also be accomplished in this fashion.
Further, preliminary studies of SAD and related mental health disorders revealed that exposure to natural light, greenery, mobility, and exercise were significant factors in patients’ reported improvements in mood. If a worker were to peek out a window, what would they see? The view and natural light are improved when landscaping is redone, and furniture is relocated away from windows so they don’t block them.
Having a peaceful place to be alone with one’s thoughts might be inspirational for workers who have been at home for a while and have just returned to the workplace. You may readily achieve this by reimagining smaller workplaces such that in addition to large communal areas, workers also have private sanctuaries where they can relax and think creatively.
Integrate User-Friendly Tech
Employees want their workday to go as smoothly and efficiently as other aspects of their lives. As a result, you should provide as much attention to the user experience of your staff as you do to that of your customers. There will be a significant decrease in output if your staff cannot effectively utilize the tools you provide. Put another way, it’s useless if it’s not user-friendly. In addition to a well-managed workplace, virtual collaboration technologies are critical to enhancing the user experience.
Better and Healthier Amenities
Healthy amenities are increasingly being included in the design of new office buildings. The availability of refreshment options like snack carts, cafés, high-end vending machines, and cooking facilities encourages workers to take a break and creates fantastic opportunities for impromptu dialogues that may lead to innovative solutions.
For a long time, it appeared as though 2022 would be the year in which a Super Bowl-winning party finally headed to the state of Ohio. Against all odds, the Cincinnati Bengals blazed a trail through the regular season and play-offs to book themselves a ticket to the last dance.
We all know what happened next, with the LA Rams proving to be a step too far when facing the California-based outfit on home soil at SoFi Stadium. It had been some journey for those swept along for the ride, on and off the field, but dreams were ultimately dashed as the most prestigious of prizes fell agonizingly out of reach.
Another milestone in the books.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 21, 2022
After 36 games, Joey Franchise has surpassed 10k passing yards. pic.twitter.com/At2IvW6Y0f
The obvious question now is, can history finally be made in 2023? The Bengals – having finished licking their wounds – are back in the hunt, while hope will forever spring eternal for a success-starved Cleveland Browns franchise.
Followers of both can now nail colors firmly to any particular mast, with fans given a chance – for the very first time – to use an Ohio-based bookmaker when placing their bets. Special bonuses, and a second-chance free bet of up to $500, are up for grabs and BonusFinder’s detailed review of BetRivers (including an exclusive promo code!) compiles all of the relevant information in one place as action out on the field unfolds.
The Browns are going to need to find a spark from somewhere if they are to harbor any aspirations of heading down a path that leads to Super Bowl LVII, with seven defeats through their opening 10 games suggesting that another campaign is in danger of being written off.
An experiment on former No.1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield may have been brought to a close, but the era of Jacoby Brissett is yet to entirely convince and more firepower is required alongside the likes of destructive running back Nick Chubb and four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper in order to become truly competitive.
There were fears at one stage that the Bengals could head in a similar direction as they opened with back-to-back losses and three setbacks through their first five games, but a run of six wins in eight games has them back in contention for a place in the post-season.
‘Smokin’ Joe Burrow is back in the groove, with the swagger returned to his game that made a shot at ultimate glory possible last time out, and the Baltimore Ravens now face serious competition for top spot in the AFC North.
unleash the DAWGS 🦴 pic.twitter.com/u6ta4eKCEl— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 20, 2022
The Bengals showed in 2021-22 how dangerous they can be when getting on a roll, with confidence and momentum important attributes for any ambitious outfit to have in its locker, and they will be more determined than most to earn another shot at hoisting aloft the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
For the Browns it looks like being another year of transition and rebuilding, but Ohio may yet get its moment in the sun – as the wait for a first Super Bowl triumph continues – with there still cause for optimism when heading down the road to State Farm Stadium in Arizona on February 12, 2023.