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About TikTok


AGE 13

TikTok is described as “the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos”. Using smartphones, people capture and share moments of their everyday life. In 2018, TikTok was one of the world’s most downloaded apps.

TikTok produces a Community Well-Being series with information on how users can make the most of various safety and privacy tools. Some of the key tools are being able to keep your list of liked videos private by going to Privacy and Settings – click on the three dots in the top right corner. Then go to “Who Can See the Videos I’ve Liked” and choose between All or Me.

Users can keep the videos they make themselves private by choosing “Private” on the video posting page where it asks, “Who Can View This Video”.
By default, initially TikTok accounts are public – so you need to actively switch to a private account. Parents can get advice on safety for children on TikTok at support.tiktok.com


Appreciation of beauty and excellence // Ability to find, recognise and take pleasure
in the existence of goodness.
Humour // Sees the light side of life and
helps people to laugh.
Fairness // Treats people fairly and advocates for their rights.
Persistence/Determination // Focuses on goals and works hard to achieve them.
Honesty/Integrity // Speaks truthfully.
Bravery/Courage // Does not hide from challenging or scary situations.
Citizenship/Loyalty // Stays true to family and friends through difficult times.
Wisdom/Perspective // Can see things from different angles.
Social intelligence // Aware of the needs
of others.
Hope/Optimism // Expecting a good future.
Generosity/Kindness // Gives freely of their time and possessions.
Enthusiasm/Vitality // Has lots of energy and excitement for life.
Self-control // Controls desires and sticks
to decisions.
Creativity // Thinks of many different ways
to solve challenges.
Love of learning // Likes to learn new things.
Forgiveness // Can move on and not hold a grudge, giving others a second chance.
Love/Caring // Likes to help others.
Leadership // Helps the group meet
their goals.
Humility/Modesty // Not seeing themselves as more special than others.
Prudence/Being careful // Thinks through the best way to do things.
Spirituality // Believes in a higher meaning
or purpose.
Gratitude // Is thankful for what they have.
Curiosity // Keen to explore and discover
the world.
Open mindedness // Is not biased
or judgmental.

* Source: Level 9 and 10 – Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships, Published by Department of Education and Training. Melbourne, April 2018.
© State of Victoria (Department of Education and Training) 2016

When I came Out…

Marcus // 19 // gay

Such an anticlimax! After expecting the world to cave in, it was actually no big deal, and I was super thankful for that. I told my best mate at the time, and he was

At puberty, when I was about 12 or 13.
I totally freaked out. It was really hard to accept things were going to be different for me. I thought I’d get married and have kids.

Absolutely. I became more and more depressed and desperately tried to think of ways that I could possibly change my orientation. I was self-harming at this stage.

I think I’m lucky to have been born at a time when people can live openly.

I was so worried that I’d disappoint them. Family is the most important thing to me and to lose that would be devastating. When I did tell them, when I was 13, it
was such a relief that I could be myself around them.

Initially they had doubt … I can understand where they were coming from. But soon they were like: “When are you going to bring a boy around?”

Ways to Improve Your Relationship

  • Work to reduce stress that might be straining your relationship.
  • Discuss life stresses and how to manage them together. Support each other in difficult times.
  • Try to make positive interactions outweigh the negative, by five to one. Show appreciation, gratitude and care.
  • Share your views, ideas and emotions. Try to express frustration, disappointment and anger openly and constructively.
  • Consider your partner’s view and try to empathise with their thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • Establish shared values, expectations and standards, and work to live by those important to you.
  • Remain respectful during conflict. Keep calm during any discussions. Ensure you both work to repair any hurt caused.
  • Appreciate each other’s roles, the goals that link you, and how each of you contributes to and influences each other.
  • Encourage your partner’s work, friendships and activities. Celebrate successes.
  • Keep your sense of playfulness, affection and positive humour.

Source: Australian Psychological Society, psychology.org.au

Is My Child OK?

Is your child going through normal adolescent ups and downs? Angelina Chisari shares some of the lessons she’s learnt and signs to look out for.

More than half the callers to Kids Helpline are 13 to 18 years old and about one in five callers are worried about mental health – their own, or a person close to them.

“Most of the time they are seeking support and strategies to manage an already diagnosed or established mental health condition, but we also get contacts from children who aren’t diagnosed and who are concerned about initial symptoms or some quite serious symptoms,” says Angelina Chisari. 

Most mental-health concerns involve depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. 

“At night, they can be left with their thoughts and have difficulties sleeping, and they call us because they can’t see their usual psychologist or counsellor then. They also call for crisis support if they have urges around suicide and self-harm – we build a safety net for young people,” says Ms Chisari.

She says it can be hard for parents to work out whether their teenager’s behaviour is normal, or whether it’s something to be concerned about. And she adds that it’s normal for parents to feel anxious and concerned about how to approach mental health concerns with their child. 

“We know teenagers tend to be a little more emotional than at other times in life. They are going through a lot of changes developmentally, socially, academically, physically and emotionally.

“The teenage brain is still developing, and this can leave young people feeling really tired, emotional and exhausted. Emotions like anger, sadness, stress and anxiety can be normal, but if
those emotions are excessive, consistent and prolonged over weeks to months, that needs to be explored further,” Ms Chisari says.

“We know teenagers tend to be a little more emotional than at other times in life.“

What is normal and what are the signs that a child may be struggling emotionally?

“Is your child retreating from family, friends or everyday activities? Or have you noticed other changes in their behaviour? Is your child avoiding school? Have they become more irritable or aggressive? Are they using drugs or alcohol? Usuallteenagers don’t want to spend as much time with their parents and their focus shifts to their friends. If you see a change in how much time your child is spending with their friends, that can be a sign that something is going on,” says Ms Chisari.

If your child shows persistent signs of hopelessness or pessimism, don’t minimise those feelings by trying to normalise them. “When you minimise their feelings, your child is less likely to talk to you again about those issues,” says Ms Chisari. “If the issue worsens and those feelings escalate from depression to self-harm. They’re not going to come back to you for help.”

Is your child showing increased sensitivity and heightened reactions to challenges, failure or rejection? Are they more self-critical than usual? Do they talk about feeling guilty or worthless? Your first reaction as a parent is important. “Be supportive and don’t try to convey that everything is in their head, that it’s normal teenage hormones and it will all get better,” says Ms Chisari. “Ask your child what is going on, how they are feeling, acknowledge and validate their feelings and involve them in options for support. Ask them if they want to speak to a counsellor or a doctor or to call an anonymous service like Kids Helpline so what they’re experiencing can be looked at further.”

Experts usually agree that if a condition is affecting a child’s ability to function day to day, or their ability to enjoy life, they may need professional help. 

It’s normal for parents to feel worried about how to talk to their kids about mental health. “As parents, we don’t always know what to do or say. It’s OK to feel this way and help is available,” says Ms Chisari. Parentline is a confidential telephone counselling service for parents and carers offering information, referrals and assistance on a range of parenting issues. 

Contact Parentline:  1300 30 1300

The Kids Helpline website has a dedicated section for parents that includes advice on how to start a conversation with a young person about their mental health. It also gives information on different forms of mental illness, signs, symptoms and support and treatment options.

Contact Kids Helpline: www.kidshelpline.com.au or 1800 55 1800

Life’s a Gamble

A small but worrying number of boys and girls start gambling before they turn 18, and some of them develop problems.

Between 0.2 and 4.4 per cent of Australian adolescents are already problem gamblers.

Research shows that problem gambling risk factors can be related to socio-demographic, personality, psychosocial, substance abuse, gambling, peer, school, and family factors.

Some of these common risk factors include being male, low socio-economic status, extraversion, non-conformity, impulsivity, sensation seeking, under controlled temperament, depressive symptoms, anxiety, impaired coping, life stress, ADHD, substance use, risk-taking, antisocial behaviour, violence, exposure to gambling, peer pressure, school difficulties and family problems.

Deakin University School of Psychology Lecturer Dr Stephanie Merkouris says parents and carers can reduce the risk by talking to young people, looking for problems, limiting internet use and thinking about family attitudes towards gambling and gambling-related activities.

Go to deakin.edu.au

Gamblers Help telephone line: 1800 858 858

Gamblers Help youth telephone line: 1800 262 376

Online support: www.gamblinghelponline.org.au 

Raising children: www.raisingchildren.net.au/articles/gambling.html

How Do I Spot Gambling Problems?

  • Sudden changes in the amount of money your child has
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Changes in mood
  • School absences or falling marks at school
  • Decreased social activities and friends (or complete withdrawal)
  • Preoccupation with: sports, internet, odds, video arcades, simulated gambling apps and games
  • Secrecy about gambling or denial

Protective Factors for Youth Gambling Problems

  • Female gender
  • Adaptive coping strategies
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Well-being
  • Self-monitoring
  • Personal competence
  • Resilience
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Social competence
  • Social support
  • Social bonding
  • School connnectedness
  • Understanding of randomness
  • Parental monitoring
  • Family cohesion

Young People & Gambling






Intelligent Gaming

Andrew Kinch is the founder of GameAware. He says video games – in the right measure – can help young people meet some important psychological needs.

“Gamers have been stigmatised over the years. There used to be a time when people wouldn’t admit to their friends that they played video games. Once an underground subculture, in 2017 these games were a $109 billion industry. 

“Gamers often feel the need to become defensive when they’re told that their passion is a waste of time. After that, anything that is true about the harms of excessive gaming is completely ignored. It’s a polarised debate between those who play and those who blame video games as the cause of gaming disorders. The truth lies somewhere in the middle and is often complex.

“Gaming is a great form of entertainment, but we must be on top of our self-regulation skills, especially when the motivation to play is to escape real life. When gaming becomes a coping mechanism to seek relief from pain, it can become excessive and problematic. People can choose gaming to attempt to meet their needs. When you combine this with easy access and the game mechanics that entice players to keep coming back, you can see how an individual might be motivated to live in the virtual world.

“In my experience, video games hit three motivational needs for young people: competence, autonomy and relatedness. 

“Competence is the feeling of mastery. Everyone wants to be good at something and video games allow you to become good at something quickly. If I want to be good at basketball it can take years – with video games, it takes months and you do it without breaking a sweat. 

“Secondly, teenagers and children don’t have a lot of autonomy in their lives. In a game, they have freedom over their own choices and can express themselves creatively. They can customise their characters and develop a second identity if they choose. 

“Every multi-player game meets the third need, which is relatedness or social connection. When you play with other people – in a competitive or collaborative way – you feel part of something bigger than yourself. You are part of a gamer community. Gaming can allow kids to build self-confidence because the community is accepting of people from all walks of life and any age.

“I’d argue that you can’t completely fulfill psychological needs through video games. Real life will always provide us with the opportunity to feel more fulfillment from competence, autonomy and social connection.”

3 Things You Can Try Now

1. Do a 10-day gaming challenge – go cold turkey and stay away from games and gaming culture.

But parents can’t just yank the Wi-Fi. It must be something the gamer decides to do to test the commonly spoken phrase – “I could stop if I wanted to, I just don’t want to”. The challenge is about helping a gamer help themselves. Even if they don’t reach 10 days, you get information as
to whether they can control themselves. However, three
or four days in to the challenge, gaming’s grip tends to
be loosened!

2. Parents need to play video games with their kids.

Get coached and get a better understanding of the nuance in the games your child plays. Be a spectator from time to time to show interest. If you take your child to soccer and watch them play, they feel valued and it’s the same if they see you are taking their gaming seriously. Take down defensive walls by getting involved. The conversation about gaming changes when parents are not considered the opposition.

3. Set up social gaming sessions to be shoulder-to-shoulder with friends.

When we game in the same room and play the same game, the dynamic is more exciting and provides a level of connection that online gaming isn’t quite able to provide.

The Psychologist

Paula Ross helps clients and their families with issues related to substance use, addiction or ‘substance-use disorder’.

In the field of drug and alcohol treatment and intervention there are lots of different terms – addiction, problematic drug use, or substance dependence. Addiction as a word has gone a little out of favour and from a psychology perspective we tend to now use ‘substance-use disorder’, but the criteria for substance use disorder are mostly the factors people consider when talking about addiction.

“Some young people use substances experimentally, some recreationally and some become substance-use dependent, but they are the minority. Substance use and therefore dependency can be related to internal and external factors. 

“External factors are things like peer-group behaviour and what might be going on in the young person’s family and circumstances at the time. Internal factors include the fact that some kids are more naturally risk takers, and there is a group of young people who start taking drugs as self-medication for depression, anxiety and because they don’t feel good about themselves. I think it’s possible we’ll discover that certain brain chemistry makes you more predisposed to addiction, too. 

“There are a complex number of factors that are involved here and so it’s not as simple as young people who develop substance-use disorders being from ‘bad’ families or from ‘bad’ parents. Parents and family members often feel they have failed or done something wrong and also need support. 

“The things that start heading into substance-use disorder territory are when young people start spending increasing amounts of time using, obtaining, planning or sorting out their drug use or recovering from drug use. 

“We are concerned if young people start not meeting their commitments in other areas of their life as a result of their drug use. So they don’t get homework done, they can’t get to school and they don’t do their normal social and family activities. So things start to ‘go’. 

“It can be helpful if parents and family members don’t jump to conclusions but instead start a conversation with their child about what might be happening – ‘I notice this, this and this, what is going on?’ Rather than ‘I’ve noticed this, this and this – I think you’re using drugs’. 

“Stay calm and don’t overwhelm your teenager. So don’t sit down with your whole family and talk at them. Think about who is the best person to talk to the young person, who has the best communication with them, who is most likely to not get angry or emotional? And approach the conversation with warm curiosity – ‘I’m interested in what is going on, how are you…’

“You won’t have one conversation and find that your young person says ‘you’re right, I’ll stop’.”

“Parents need to have realistic expectations. You won’t have one conversation and find that your young person says ‘you’re right, I’ll stop’. Approach each conversation with an aim to start a dialogue and to keep communication channels open.

“If the conversation starts to go badly and you or your child gets angry or emotional, stop it. Don’t pressure yourself to have the whole conversation in that one moment. Sometimes the first conversation is about flagging the issue and sending the message that your child can talk about anything with you and that they can come to you. It is an ongoing conversation.

“There is some debate around whether you disclose your own past (or present) drug use. Parents need to walk the line between disclosure with the aim of letting a child know that you understand versus how much of your disclosure will your child hear as permission giving. If you do disclose, don’t turn it into a speech about every drug you’ve taken in your life – disclose a certain amount. 

“Parents can talk to a professional to discuss what they are dealing with and to get advice on how they can support their child. Consistency in the family is important. Family members should talk among themselves about how they as a family are going to respond to this issue. So are you giving your child
money or not? Are you letting them stay out all night or not?
What do you tell your other children if they ask questions about what is happening? 

“Above all, as a starting point, stay calm, get help and keep focusing on having conversations.”

Respect Tips

Encouraging Respectful Behaviour in Teenagers

  • Take time to actively listen.
  • Set clear rules about behaviour.
  • Follow up broken rules calmly, firmly and consistently. 
  • Encourage self-reflection.
  • Try to be a positive role model.
  • Choose your battles.
  • Take your child seriously.
  • Let go of the wheel sometimes.
  • Tackle problems in a positive way.
  • Praise your child.
  • Plan ahead for difficult conversations.
  • Keep “topping up” your relationship with fun times and support.
  • Share your feelings and be honest.
  • Learn to live with mistakes.
  • Look for ways to stay connected
  • Respect your child’s need for privacy.
  • Encourage a sense of belonging.
  • Keep promises.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Look for the funny side of things.

For more  information visit raisingchildren.net.au, the Australian parenting website

Signs Someone is Being Cyber-Bullied

  • Abnormal withdrawal from social activities, friends and/or family
  • Sudden lack of interest in using their mobile phone, computer or other devices
  • Disinterest or avoidance in attending school, sports, or other recreational activities
  • Nervous or jumpy when a text message or email is received
  • Extreme sleeping behaviour (sleeping a lot more or staying awake all night)
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Moodiness and abnormal changes in behaviour

*Source: ‘Rosie’, a Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls national harm prevention initiative. www.rosie.org.au