Tag: teenager

Device Usage and Role Models – Tweens & Teens September 2020

Device Usage

Research shows that Aussie teens average 3.3 hours of social media use per day. In total, the average screen time is in excess of six hours daily. That’s a whole lot of device usage for one day! While screen time can be useful and engaging in terms of researching projects, video calling with friends and family and being creative, a lot of it consists of endless scrolling through social media feeds. Unfortunately, the latter isn’t healthy.

You can help your teen disconnect by encouraging a morning routine (so they don’t look at their phone first thing in the morning). On top of this, encourage an evening routine (reading is great at helping you wind down), encourage them to avoid sleeping with their phone next to their bed and keeping busy. Help them pick up a new hobby that doesn’t involve using their phone, such as cooking, drawing or scrapbooking.

It’s also a good idea to encourage them to delete any social media apps they don’t love. Lastly, get them to leave their phone in another room at certain times. This could be when the family is having dinner or socialising with visiting family.

How to Be A Great Role Model

Teenagers need positive role models in their lives with all the negativity they are exposed to over adolescence. As the parent, it’s important you’re the best role model you can be to them. This is especially important as they will spend time with you regularly. Plus, the stronger your relationship with your teenager is, the more influence you’ll have.

You can be an awesome role model by working towards your own goals, showing honesty, admitting when you are wrong, showing compassion towards others, learning healthy coping skills to get through challenges, having an optimistic outlook on life and using your problem-solving skills. It’s also a good idea to show an interest in your teen’s interests. In addition, get to know their friends to strengthen your bond.

Read more Tweens and Teens blogs HERE. 

Find more research HERE. 




Why Your Teen Needs a Sex Fairy Godparent

Everyone who’s read a fairy tale knows the role fairy godmothers play in these stories. From Cinderella to Snow White, they swoop in with gifts, wisdom and charms, designed to ease the path into adulthood and new adventures.

Outside of famed fantasy tales, godparents still exist, and in most parts of the modern world they are more pragmatically viewed as people chosen by a child’s parents to play a slightly more impartial, yet positive, role in their life.

Godparents take an interest in the child’s upbringing, support their personal development, mentor them, and in some cases even claim legal guardianship if anything should happen to the child’s parents. And, no matter how open a family may be, there are some conversations that will never happen between parents and their children.

Discussions about sex, body developments, contraception, bullying, and self-esteem are challenging chats, no matter how good the relationship is.

Teenagers are developing and asserting their privacy. This is totally normal, and should be encouraged, as these are the times when they truly start to learn who they are. It can certainly be a challenge to insert ‘the sex talk’ into that mix.

Sex education conversations need to be had around biology, consent, savvy social media use, safe sex, sexuality and so much more. So, who does it? And how does a sex fairy godmother fit in? The parents of every teen (or soon-to-be-teen) should be encouraging open, frank discussions around sex education (pro-tip: lots of smaller talks are much more effective than one big chat about ‘the birds and the bees’).

If these parents also choose a ‘sex fairy godparent’ or three for their teenager, such as an aunt, older cousin, family friend or even a trusted teacher, this does some amazing things, like:

  • Lightening the educational load for parents
  • Giving the teen a safe outlet for questions or conversations that they’re not comfortable having with their parents
  • Removing any over-reliance on schools and teachers.
  • Opening up the lines of communication.
  • Respecting the teen’s privacy as they start to navigate their bodily and sexual health.
  • Teaches appropriate boundaries and communication skills.
  • Ensures if a parent needs to intervene, that trusted friend or relative knows when to hand it over.

When teens have questions about sex and their bodies, data tells us that teens speak to their friends first, look it up on the internet second (hello there, PornHub), and about fifth down the list are their parents.

Ideally, a sex fairy godparent can take more of a friendship role, while giving parents a greater share of voice when their teens have questions, and can
slow down the interest in asking Dr Google.

There is a powerful need for accurate sex education today. STI (sexually transmitted infection) rates among teens are currently very high, and there is a raft of very inaccurate sex information online.

Parents need to step up any way they can in today’s online environment, and a sex fairy godparent can play a powerful, safe role.

Talking To Your Teen About Menstruation and Consent

Explaining Menstruation

The first period can be very scary if your teen doesn’t know what it is upon its first arrival. There is a lot to learn about periods, and it’s a good idea to have this chat sooner rather than later – seeing as most girls get their period between the ages of 10 and 15.

Explain what a period is and why it happens. It generally happens on a monthly basis, but in the first two to three years after the first period, they can be fairly irregular. Periods usually last around five days and can come with cramps and discomfort. Explain how to use pads, tampons, a cup or period panties (whichever they prefer), and give them pain killers or a heat pack if they are experiencing pain.

Modibodi are offering PakMag readers 15% off their modern, protective, leak-proof apparel, underwear and swimwear for periods and incontinence. Head to www.modibodi.com and use code PAKMAG11

The Importance of Consent

When your teen starts to show interest in relationships, talking to them about consent is not just important but necessary. It may not seem it, but there are many vital reasons as to why it’s so important.

Bring up the topic in a casual setting, such as when you are cooking dinner or driving together. Explain to your teen that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do in a relationship setting, whether that be kissing or being intimate, if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. Everyone has a choice in whether or not they’d like to engage, and they have every right to say no.

Reiterate with your teen that consent is a two-way street, and it may not always be in the form of saying “no”. Tell them to pay attention to non-verbal signs as well, such as when their partner backs off, tenses up or is too intoxicated to give consent. Be open and ready to answer questions.

For Foxes’ Sake by Row Murray

Everyone needs a sex fairy godmother – that person you can ask all the embarrassing questions. For Foxes’ Sake provides practical advice and guidance on topics as diverse as consent, body confidence and sexuality for secondary school-aged girls. It’s warm, honest, funny and accurate. Row understands what girls of today are facing and aims to arm them with self-confidence, digital smarts and self-respect. Available for sale on Amazon or www.booktopia.com.au

WIN a copy of For Foxes’ Sake by Row Murray worth $19.95! Visit www.pakmag.com.au/win for your chance to win!
*Please note that this book covers very diverse topics that may not be suitable for younger readers.



Most parents of teenagers know that they can be hard to handle and definitely hard to understand. It can be hard to find things to do with in Cairns with your teenager, because it seems they don’t even know themselves.

Although teens can be frustrating, they also have a lot of nice qualities far below the grumpy girl who shouts at you when you wake her up too early. Here are some fun things to do with teens that neither of you will be able to resist.

1. Food, food and more food

No teenager can resist the thought of eating any kind of food. Whether this be eating lunch with the family at the marina or a mother and daughter ice cream date on the esplanade, it is always great fun.

2. A trip to a waterfall

This is a great idea, whether you’re into swimming or sightseeing. There are a number of waterfalls to discover on the Atherton Tablelands. Some are easily accessible by car while others require a bit of a hike; plenty to suit all kinds of abilities and fitness levels.

3. The movies

Want to get out of the house, but don’t know where to go? The movies is always a great go-to. Check your local cinema’s website to see what’s currently showing, pick out a movie and get going. Who doesn’t love debating their opinions on a movie they have just watched?

4. Visit an island

In Cairns, we’re lucky that we have several islands nearby that are perfect to explore for a day trip, such as Fitzroy island, Green Island and the Frankland Islands. They all have a large selection of things to do to suit anyone, such as swimming, snorkelling, hiking and relaxing. Though teenagers might not admit it, they do enjoy a fun family getaway.

5. Hike a mountain

Although this may not be comparable to the average stroll in the park, it will be a fun, active way to spend time together. There are loads of great hikes around FNQ, some with awesome swimming holes as a reward too.

6. Game night

A good competitive game night is a great way to have a whole family activity without the hassle of travelling out of home. A friendly yet competitive game is always a lot of fun, even if you do end up losing.

7. Play a video game

When we think family video game day, we don’t exactly mean Fortnite or Call of Duty. No matter how old you are, you can always enjoy a fun game of Mario Kart. Why not have a game day and break out Wii Sports and Just Dance for a competitive day of family fun? Shouting at the TV may be a normal response. The stakes are high!

8. Cooking

Whether you bake a cake or a five-course meal, cooking with family is always a whole lot of fun (As long as the house doesn’t burn down).

9. Let them choose

Though they can be indecisive, it’s always a good idea to see what your teen wants to do. Asking what they would prefer may get them excited about spending time together, and you may even end up doing something more interesting than you had expected.



Squash is played on a four walled court with either two or four players with two being the most common (singles). Ranked the number 1 healthiest sport by Forbes Magazine, Squash is a fast-paced game which targets many fitness aspects. 

Some of the benefits include…

1. Improves heart health 

Squash has many aspects which help to improve your cardiovascular health, including running, jumping and diving. This keeps your heart and lungs working at peak efficiency.

2. Meet new people 

With specific junior training sessions, Squash lets your kids make quality friendships through sport and exercise. It is also social for adults, with many opportunities for adults to go down and have a hit, no matter the skill level. The sport has players from kids though to 80-year-olds, so it is suitable for all people and ages.

3. Improves hand eye coordination 

As Squash is a racket sport, it requires players to move and adjust body positioning so the ball can be hit. For kids, this is an important skill to develop young so that sports don’t become a challenge to play later in life.

4. Increases strength and fitness 

As a kid, strength is developed from Squash through needing power to hit the ball. The legs, arms and abs are all toned while playing and as players become more competitive these aspects of the game are trained on through gym work and fitness training.

5. Can be played in rain or shine 

Squash is an indoor sport, so the weather does not affect when you can play. Not sure what to do on a rainy day with the kids? Go down to the nearest Squash courts and have a go.

6. Improves self-confidence 

As the game is mostly an individual sport, it helps players gain a sense of confidence when they finish matches knowing the hard work and training they have put in. Knowing the training is paying off and helping improve your game gives a sense of accomplishment.

7. Helps set routines 

Having a weekly commitment to sport in your schedule helps motivate yourself or your kids to exercise. Whether this commitment be training or a team competition, this set time helps you get into weekly sport routines.

8. Helps you keep healthy 

With the sport having so many great health benefits and it targeting so many fitness aspects, it comes as no surprise that it keeps your body in good shape. The sport helps keep your body at a healthy weight and feeling good.


The Importance of Mental Health in Teenagers


Mental health is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. With half of all mental health conditions in adulthood emerging by the age of 14, it is more important than ever to start a conversation about them, especially with teenagers. Unfortunately, while this is so important, there is still a stigma around these issues. So, let’s talk about it.

What Mental Health Issues Affect Teens?

While there are a number of different mental health issues, some common ones include:

Anxiety disorders – Excessive worrying about or overthinking everyday matters, feeling extremely self-conscious and phobias. People with anxiety disorders may also experience panic attacks.

Depression – Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety and/or emptiness, usually accompanied by a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.

Eating disorders – Categorised by disordered eating symptoms leading to a distorted body image, intense fear of gaining weight, restricting food intake and over-exercising.

What Causes Mental Illness?

Mental health is multilayered, and determined by a variety of factors. Here are just a few:

School or work stress – Being under a lot of pressure at school or work can cause teens to become overwhelmed. They may also struggle figuring out their career path or if they are being bullied.

Relationships – Problems within a relationship can make teens feel confused, hurt and upset – more so when the relationship turns emotionally or physically abusive.

Health – Dealing with ongoing health issues, such as a chronic illness or a disability, can take a toll on their happiness and may cause worries about their future.

Social media – While social media offers many upsides, popular trends and viral posts can give an unrealistic expectation of what their life, body or career should be like. Think about those Instagram models with thousands of followers and seemingly ‘perfect’ lives.

Other factors include substance abuse, social issues, trauma, losing someone close to them and more. Genetics may be at play too.

Signs that Something May Be Off

Many young people feel down sometimes. It’s perfectly normal, especially with all those hormones at play; but sometimes, there may be something bigger happening.

Signs include changes in sleep or energy level, changes in appetite, an out-of-character irritability, lack of interest in fun activities or making self-deprecating comments. If your teen is telling you about their ongoing worries, shutting themselves off or simply not acting like themselves, it’s a good sign that it’s time to seek help.

How You Can Help

You can help your teen tackle their worries by letting them know they can always talk to you, making arrangements with their school to put less stress on them and seeing a health professional. Don’t be too quick to take their phone away, as many teens chat with their friends as a coping mechanism – but encourage them to disconnect every once in a while.

75 per cent of people who receive treatment experience notable improvements. Understand that there is help out there for your child, and remind them that they are never alone in their struggles, and that they are always loved.

Helpful Resources