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Digital Health Tools Support Military Kids

Image of Two children sit on two service members' laps. With younger patients less hesitant to use digital health tools, providing them mobile applications may be a great solution to keep them healthy. (Photo: DHA Connected Health Branch)

Today’s youth – ages 8 to18 – have grown up with a technological advanced world.

From computers, tablets, and smartphones to videos games and other smart devices, the tech savvy generation gravitates to new and convenient technologies. This mentality pairs perfectly with the upward trend of usage of digital health tools, like mobile apps and podcasts. These tools are readily available and can support treatment plans for this age group.

“Today’s young generation is fully emerged in a digital world, and when appropriate it can make sense to deliver treatment in ways that resonate with them,” said Kelly Blasko, counseling psychologist and the lead for the Mobile Health Clinical Integration team at the Defense Health Agency Connected Health Branch.

“Mobile apps and other digital tools that teach fundamental coping skills may have been first developed for adults but may also be relevant for adolescents. In fact, digital health tools can assist youth in learning good self-care habits as they enter young adulthood and throughout their life.”

Mobile apps may be a great way to keep younger patients engaged with their treatment outside of the office. With younger patients less hesitant to use digital health tools, providing them mobile applications may be a great solution to keep them healthy.

Girl posing with her dog
Today's youth - ages 8 to 18 - spend roughly 7.5 hours in front of a screen.

Blasko recommends the following digital health tools produced by the DHA as a starting point to consider:

Breathe2Relax: Military children often experience life-changing events sooner than non-military kids. These events can result in stress at an early age. The Breathe2Relax app focuses on teaching the user the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. This breathing technique can help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.

One parent said, “I got this app to help my 10-year-old deal with anxiety and panic attacks.”

Military Meditation Coach: Adults might not realize that children are experiencing stress and pressure from school, sports, relationships, and even their own families. Some kids are balancing their first part-time job as well.

Just like adults, mindfulness practices can be a great way to improve overall mental health. The Military Meditation Coach podcast recently released a second season, after receiving positive feedback of the guided meditation.

Military Kids Connect: This website created specifically for military kids is meant to be a resource for children of all ages and parents. The site provides blogs on topics that military children experience like relationshipsmoving, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For younger military kids, the site has activity sheets that encourage open discussions on topics ranging from deployments to losing a parent.

These digital tools are available and compatible on both smart and web-connected devices.

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Last Updated: February 01, 2023
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