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Social support is central to our psychological and physical wellbeing, and can buffer against the effects of stress and illness (Ozbay et al, 2007). When families, friends and communities reach out and offer support, it can have a profound impact on the lives of vulnerable people, including children and adolescents. A simple and effective way to offer that support to the people in your world is by asking, "are you OK?"

Thursday 14 September 2017 is R U OK? Day, a day which reminds us all that we have got what it takes to ask, "are you OK?", and support those struggling with life.

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Today’s high school students have grown up using smartphones and iPads, and most have had a digital footprint since birth.

In 2015, eighty-two per cent of teens were online, according to ACMA research, and 80 per cent used a smartphone. These figures rise every year. 

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A recent survey of 20,000 Australian school children found that one in four students have experienced bullying. Bullying is when people use words or actions to repeatedly, and intentionally harm another person and is often conducted by someone who has more power or influence than the victim. The bullying cycle perpetually disempowers the victim, who feels increasingly helpless.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics CensusAtSchool survey, longitudinal studies have consistently found strong links between school bullying and mental health problems, with victims at risk of developing depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Similarly, perpetrators of bullying are also at risk of developing depression, anti-social personality and substance use disorders[1].  

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This month, Brainstorm Productions were thrilled to be part of EduTECH Australia, an international conference and expo, which brings educational providers together to discuss, inspire and exchange ideas.  Attendees at EduTECH shared the latest in digital technology, e-learning, robotics, and virtual realities for an education environment.  There are exciting changes on the horizon, as the world of possibility opens up with ease of learning, access to new information and advance in IQ and skills.

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Loneliness is real and it affects people right across the country – in  fact a 2016 Lifeline survey found 60% of Australians often feel lonely. While loneliness for some is related to physical distance from people they can relate to, for many it’s the fact that they’re surrounded by people but feel a lack of connection and social support. The good news is there are ways of keeping loneliness and social isolation at bay for ourselves and others in our community. 

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