It has been a long while since I have written a blog but I have been inspired to do so this week following some research and an interesting BBC documentary: Reggie Yates' Extreme UK (which apparently ‘exploded Twitter in opposition to the sexist opinions held within the 'manosphere' [BT.Com]). My interest is on the issues of equality and the sense that men feel they are suffering but that they are not listened to as other groups are.
I do not endorse nor understand how people can become so distorted or callous when they have strong moral principles and was appalled at some of the things these men were saying on this documentary but I feel it is important to remember these are indeed extreme views – as Reggie Yates in fact calls this documentary series. It is important to remember this. The UK seem to love to hate and love to label. It is always my job to look beyond the hype and the trends to the roots of how people really feel hence the research I have been doing.
In February 2014 a report was published by the Office for National Statistics showing that between the years of 2001 – 2013 male suicide had reached its highest levels since the early 1980’s, rising in 2007 and hitting a high in 2013.
Now you might think each man who makes up these statistics was suffering mentally in one way or another but it is important to note that in fact 75% of people who commit suicide have in fact never been diagnosed with a mental health problem and only 5% of people with depression actually go on to commit suicide. We see the complexities further when we consider famous men, often who appear to have it all, who take their lives. So the issue here appears to be what’s going on inside.
As a parent of a teenage boy and having taught PSHE to many boys of all ages I see their concerns. They have the same emotions, fears and pressures as girls. But young men today have a tough, new dichotomy - the pressure to be ‘manly’ but also ‘sensitive’ too. Too much one way or the other can make them unattractive as friends or boyfriends – they don’t know who or what to focus on.
Men are told from an early age to ‘man up’ that they shouldn’t cry, need to ‘be strong’. UK Parents rarely talk to sons about how they feel about their lives, their worries and their inner selves because it is not something we, as a society, have been bought up to consider as important. In schools, boys rarely meet friends who they can express these deeper aspects of themselves to without being laughed at. I often talk to young men about this issue in my sessions and encourage them to begin a ‘revolution’ in their schools to start to really talk (and really listen) to each other but it is uncomfortable territory for many of them.
It seems society does not like to address this, but address it we must as more men between the ages of 20 and 49 die from suicide than from heart disease, driving accidents or cancer.
The solution for me always comes back to communicating, opening up and realising none of us are alone regardless of how we may feel. In my opinion the answer lies in focussing on our similarities, rather than our differences.
I do so much work about cyber safety these days so I am delighted to see this documantary is to be shown tonight. I hope it will make parents more aware of the dangers that lurk online and encourage them to talk to their children.
The first of two documentaries start tonight with an investigation led by CEOP into the online blackmail and sexual abuse of boys by offenders using fake social media profiles.
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Just a short one today: Anti-Bullying Week (coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance) is from the 16th - 20th November.
The key aims of the week are...
To empower children and young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online;
To help parents and carers have conversations with their children about bullying – both as a way of preventing bullying, and to help children who are worried about bullying;
To encourage ‘talking schools’ where all children and young people are given a safe space to discuss bullying and other issues that affect their lives, and are supported to report all forms of bullying;
To equip teachers to respond effectively when children tell them they’re being bullied;
To raise awareness of the impact of bullying on children’s lives if they don’t tell anyone it’s happening – or if they are not given appropriate support – with a focus on the impact on mental health.
If you would like to book me for Cyber Bullying or Respect and Bullying sessions with your schools, community groups or simply your family and friends please see my subject pages for more information and contact me as I have a few days and evenings still available.
Stress is all over the headlines and it saddens me so much that our children and young people are suffering from it too.
I don’t remember people discussing stress when I was growing up…Maybe I am wrong but it seems life was slower, easier and calmer back then. But now stress has become a huge issue - affecting people of all ages and all walks of life. I have and continue to teach stress management, meditation and mindfulness to people of all ages and have done since 2004.
Over this time I have noted the increase in stress levels: our children worrying about their academic levels and results, our young people aware of the pressures for jobs, us adults trying to juggle everything in our busy schedules.
But I don’t believe stress is the enemy… I think we are!
Stress is an important reaction and the body's way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength and stamina.
The events that provoke stress (stressors) make the body naturally react through a series of changes and these create the perfect response (a stress response). This ‘fight or flight’ response enhances and supports performance in a range of stressful situations, be they physical or mental.
So why are we the enemy?
Because our self-created modern world has now become a source of constant, low-level stress. Let me explain myself a little more…
So, let’s imagine you are in the wilds of Canada, you walk around a corner and you are confronted by a huge Bear (your stressor). Straight away your body will react (your stress response) - boosting your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, vision and more so your reactions are optimised. Luckily in this case, the bear doesn’t see you! Phew! Once the bear wanders off the stressor has gone, so our bodies once again relax.
This is a rather dramatic example but we are all familiar with those feelings. The problem with modern life is that we have filled each waking moment with small low-level stressors and the bear never wanders off – so to speak. Because we have constant low level stress it remains ever so slightly active over an extended period - not doing what it was designed to do. Eventually our bodies can’t keep up with this level of constant stress hormones every day so we become physically tired, mentally exhausted and maybe physically or mentally ill.
Now I am certainly not claiming to have cracked this one! I have a very busy life – I run my own business and have two kids for starters. But what I do know is how much better I feel when I remember to take time just to be.
I LOVE the saying ‘We are human beings, not human doings’ but I have to remind myself of this constantly! It seems our society is now in the throes of a pandemic of being busy – ‘I’m so busy’ this has become such a common saying – do we think we will be frowned upon if we were to say ‘I’m so relaxed’?
I have linked a 10 minute TED talk from a man called Andy Puddicombe at the end of this blog. He is an expert in Mindfulness and speaks a lot of sense. In the talk he mentions how Harvard have recently found that 47% of the time our minds are wandering, and not in a good way because according to them this type of thinking makes us unhappy. Let’s just stop and process that…that’s nearly half of our lives thinking unhelpful thoughts!
Mindfulness and meditation are often misunderstood as something a little bit ‘out there’ and thus it is often pushed aside but I want to try and do my little bit to amend this. I believe it is simply a term used to explain methods that are all about stopping and just being where you are right in the moment.
You don’t have to be a spiritual guru, a hippy, religious, sitting on the floor, cross legged, chanting, empty minded… you simply have to be a person who just stops and does nothing for a little bit of time.
I am a big analyser and thinker, this can be a good thing but can also be a very exhausting and negative thing because I never stop! I think about the past, the future, new ideas, my loved ones, memories, practicalities etc… occasionally I stop, breath, switch the incessant brain off and look around me, and when I do I feel so much better for it. In its simple form that’s mindfulness.
I would invite everyone to give it a try, no matter what age – if you don’t like it I won’t be offended. Me? Well, I’ll keep trying to find those pockets of quiet in my busy life because I know when I do I turn from robotic tendencies to human ones!
This time of year, for years before and years to come, is the time when many of our ‘kids’ go to Uni’. All over the country parents are going through the process of letting go as their children are going through the process of learning to be independent.
And so it is that a few weeks ago I too joined the ranks of those parents with cars bursting at the seams, hauling up the motorway with boxes brimming, only to return with a few unwanted items and a surreal realisation that the end of a major chapter has been thrust upon me with such a mixture of sadness, happiness and pride it was enough to send me into a torrent of strange emotions which is never a good thing on a motorway!
There are so many transitions in a child’s life – I deal with these regularly in my sessions with schools. The children worry that they won’t fit in, the work will be too hard, they will be bullied… As parents we learn to put our own worries aside and be strong to carry them through - if only they knew that each step is as scary for us as for them! Because of course each step is new for us too – we may be adults but we have never been adults before!
I realised on my long drive home that day that the process of being a parent – a mum - is all consuming. From the moment that child is born you worry and think about them – are they too hot? Too cold? Happy? Hungry? Thirsty? That’s just the physical stuff… there’s the emotional and health aspects too and then as they get older giving them the chance to be more independent whilst still keeping them safe…
So it was on this long journey home that I contemplated such things. That little girl that, along with her brother, has filled my waking moments is now embarking on her journey into adulthood. On the one hand I feel incredibly proud that I have helped get her to this place in her life, studying what she loves but on the other hand there is now a big gaping hole where my daughter’s daily needs were absorbed into my life.
I have come to love working with parents alongside their children. Doing sessions for them both ‘covers all angles’ within the PSHE subjects that I teach and this type of education for all is something I am very passionate about – it is so important not to forget parents!
The power of sharing and realising you are not alone on your journey, no matter what age or issue you are going through is a powerful tonic often forgotten.
I wonder, if we could somehow create a system where everyone with a problem was able to talk to at least one other person with the same problem, whether our mental health as a nation would reap the benefits? I suspect it would…big time.
So, I’ve told you how I feel…anyone out there feel the same?
Launch of independent PSHE teaching for children, young people and their parents
PSHE courses and sessions now available directly and 'out of hours' to parent groups and individual families
HR departments in companies and organisations encouraged to offer PSHE education to employees and their families[Kate Daniels. Director of PSHEeducation]
PSHE as a classroom subject is quickly climbing the political and educational agendas this year, with calls from parents and MPs for it to be given more attention and status. But few schools presently offer an adequate or comprehensive PSHE curriculum*. To fill that gap, PSHEeducation (http://www.psheeducation.co.uk/About ), an independent service in the south east of England, will be offering PSHE education directly to young people and their parents through parent groups and parents' employers, as well as privately to families, from October 1, 2015.'PSHE' is Personal, Social, Health & Economic education, designed to help children and young people through the complications of childhood and teenage years and prepare them for the adult world. It encompasses everything from self esteem, relationships and burgeoning sexuality to cyber safety, social media exposure and responsibility about drugs and alcohol. It is widely agreed that there has never been a greater need to equip children and young people with the knowledge they need to face the world.[Parents' sessions.]
PSHEeducation is run by Kate Daniels, for more than a decade a highly experienced upper payscale classroom teacher and PSHE lead before she left full-time teaching to found PSHEeducation. Kate is already providing PSHEeducation's services with great success to children of all ages (and often their parents) in primary, secondary and sixth form schools* but from next month will also offer them directly to 'end users'.
Kate says: "There are countless frustrated parents who want to know how to keep their kids safe, happy and better prepared for today's and tomorrow's world. They see schools still trying to sort out their PSHE programmes while their own children are growing up and in need today.
"So PSHEeducation now offers custom-designed courses and sessions that parents can book directly at a time and place to suit them, including evenings, weekends and holidays, whether at home, in a local hall or at the work place."
She continues: "It's time for families to get proactive. In the tabloids we read how young people are growing up in a world where there's huge competition and 'no jobs', a world of legal highs, ubiquitous phones and cameras connected directly to social media, where silly mistakes can go viral and be online forever, where naked selfies are 'normal' and sexual predators are grooming ... it can be very scary."
"PSHE provides the route map for this world and the new PSHEeducation service provides it now: parents don't have to wait until schools get their act together."
Parents can book the PSHEeducation service directly. HR departments in businesses and other organisations are also encouraged to contact PSHEeducation about offering the service as a vital employee benefit. Highly affordable, it is available across the south east, charged at an hourly rate, with initial consultations free of charge.
PSHEeducation also continues to provide its service to schools, that are equally welcome to ask about bespoke courses designed with each individual cohort in mind.
Kate Daniels has a long list of testimonials at http://www.psheeducation.co.uk/testimonials, she blogs on PSHE at http://www.psheeducation.co.uk/Blog and she has a topic-informative, regularly updated Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PSHEeducation
Kate concludes: "We continue to strive for compulsory PSHE education in schools but meanwhile we think we're probably the first service in the UK to offer it directly to those who need it."
Parents, employers and schools can call Kate on 07746 252774 or email email@example.com .
- ends -
Notes for editors
* "Learning in PSHE education required improvement or was inadequate in 40% of schools. The quality of PSHE education is not yet good enough in a sizeable proportion of schools in England." Ofsted report, 2012, Not yet good enough: personal, social, health and economic education in Schools. Personal, social and health education in English schools in 2012: http://bit.ly/1Ou4tT8
** PSHEeducation services provided to schools and now offered directly to parents include sex and relationships; cyber safety; pressures and stress management; drugs and alcohol; self awareness and self esteem; respect and bullying. PSHEeducation also offers sessions on mindfulness, meditation and social fitness.
PSHEeducation exists to help children to be equipped to deal with the modern world through high quality PSHE lessons. It offers professional, affordable, tailored and fresh ways to tackle tricky PSHE subjects.
Based near Lewes, South East, the service is run by Kate Daniels BSC Hons. QTS. Kate has more than ten years' experience as a qualified teacher (upper pay scale) and, since 2009, PSHE lead teacher, with a long list of other credentials and many teacher, parent and student testimonials.
On sifting through this research the big news shouts loudly, ‘Children in England scored 0.2 or more less than the average for the other 14 countries for the remaining six items in The Good Childhood Index – family life, school, appearance, health, time use and expectations of the future.’ On reflection of these I find, once again, I am ranting to my long suffering partner… what is this happiness that eludes not just our kids but us adults too? Where have we all gone so wrong?
I shall not be the first nor the last to notice that so called ‘poorer’, ‘underdeveloped’ countries often come higher than us in the happiness stakes, so where is this illusive happiness? What are the golden nuggets that will bring us to its promised kingdom?
I have read 2 books of late which have been both supportive of my own views along with being both educational and inspiring. The first, ‘Beyond Happiness’, by Anthony Seldon, a man dedicated to creative learning and founder of the national body ‘Action for Happiness’, and the well renowned comedian and advocate for Mindfulness, Ruby Wax’s book ‘Sane New World’.
They both speak of the need for the ‘Being’ part of our Human ‘Being-ness’ (my personal definition!) to become stronger.
I can remember as a teenager pondering the question ‘Who am I?’ to which someone replied ‘Well, who is asking?’ took me a few years to grasp that one!
What we think should/could make us happy actually often misses the mark or does make us happy but only for a short period of time before we demand something else for our insatiable ‘happiness appetite’.
My deep belief, through both my personal and professional life, is that nothing outside of ourselves can make us happy – it is an ‘inside job’ and we are getting it wrong if we think we can find it in the material world - full of enticing, sparkly promises.
We all know this, I am not telling you anything new here, but the trick is to learn how… the answer is simple – CHANGE!
In a nutshell, I believe the answer lies in a shift of our perspective, a determination and a reticent discipline, a re-wiring of our thought processes. As Ruby Wax says, ‘You CAN change your mind and how you think – thoughts are not your master, they are your servant.’
There are simple things you can do to take the pressure off yourself as results day approaches. Probably the easiest is simply to pause. You can do this anywhere, any time. All you have to do is imagine you have pressed the pause button - look around you, relax and breathe. Don’t get caught up in the ‘what if’s’, just be in the moment. No matter what your results are life will go on. Sometimes the worst days can re-route your life to a far better one than you could ever imagine.
So well written I had to share...
The government's hesitancy to firmly support campaigns to increase PSHE in schools is having alarming consequences. Reducing increasingly necessary conversations about the variety of challenges children might face later on in life to a frightfully bare minimum, the new curriculum focuses on scaremongering tactics to discourage students from fully addressing topics such as drugs, sex and alcohol. Over 100 organisations including mumsnet, Girlguiding UK, the National Union of Teachers and Stonewall have called upon the government to introduce mandatory PSHE lessons, arguing the effects could be permanent for the children who miss out on vital information in their early years. Without a comprehensive PSHE curriculum there to empower children, it makes you wonder how well we are equipping our children for life outside the classroom.
So why are the government so hesitant to put PSHE firmly into the curriculum? Aiming to save money, the government has cut funding across the board that would enable PSHE in schools to become more accessible and versatile. This has been done without paying proper attention to how these cuts might affect the ability of children to cope with challenges they might face throughout life. Funding cuts will make it even harder for children to learn about important and often life changing challenges such as drug misuse, sexual relationships and alcohol and the results are already telling in the statistics. Figures released by Public Health England (PHE) have shown a large increase in STIs among gay men, with a 46 per cent rise in syphilis and 32 per cent increase in gonorrhoea. Campaigners have responded to these figures by questioning why important discussions about topics such as LGBT+ sex education, consent, respect and equality are completely ignored by the curriculum in its current format.
Critics will argue that the responsibility for teaching children about consent, sex, drugs and lifestyle choices should remain firmly in the hands of parents or guardians. But if a child's parents and guardians have never had comprehensive sex education or addressed difficult topics how they can be depended upon to ensure their children are empowered for their own futures? Our children's understandings of the world are shaped not just by parental influences but increasingly by social media, television, news outlets and teachers. Children are the products of a variety of forms of influence and we cannot argue that only one should be depended upon to ensure our children are raised to know things such as: the importance of expecting and giving respect, the ability to say no when uncomfortable and how to go about reporting sexual harassment should they fall prey to it. Put simply by Natasha Devon MBE, "PSHE's aim isn't to take power or responsibility away from parents (or guardians); it is to support children & parents to face life's challenges".
Incorporating PSHE into the school curriculum is a small but invaluable step towards empowering our children and better protecting them against behaviours that are increasingly becoming the norm. The World Health Organisation reported that over half of 14 year olds believe that rape in some circumstances is acceptable. It would be a crime to suggest that this attitude has been shaped solely by parents. Cutting funding for support and educational services only means money will have to be found to deal with the damage the funding cuts will create in the next 20 to 30 years. In recent months the UK's largest domestic violence support charity for men has had its entire funding cut, making it more difficult for men and boys to get the support they need. Not only is this a problem for present generations but it will also become a problem 20 years down the line for the children who will be dependent upon services already pushed to breaking point.
Leaving the curriculum in its current format means that there will be an increasing demand for support services for a range of problems including alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence support services. Having shot themselves in the foot by cutting funding across the board for essential support and educational services, the clock is ticking before the damage will become permanent for the government and for the children who weren't empowered by invaluable information that could've empowered them.
Written by Olive Barton. Founder and Director of the Sexual Wellbeing Foundation.
I have lived with Vitiligo from the age of three. ‘Vitiligo is a long-term condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to the lack of a chemical called melanin.’ http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Vitiligo/Pages/Introduction.aspx
I hated the white patches on my dark skinned body. I hated getting changed for PE, swimming and the summer when the patches under my arms, knees and pubic area were so bold and obvious.
I hated the way people looked at me and was painfully aware of the comments and nudges of passers-by. I was bullied – called ‘Alien’ and laughed at by kids at school.
I was put on different diets, tried creams and potions but nothing eliminated the pure white patches of skin that made me feel ‘less than’ everyone else.
I realised as I got older that I was stuck with this condition. Was I going to hate myself and my body forever? Things had to change…for me it was an ‘inside job’. I had to work on feeling good and happy with myself – to change the way I thought and felt.
I began to recognise that other people had things they didn’t like about themselves, some had far worse problems and disfigurements to deal with then I did.
I made a decision to turn away from the cover up make up I was offered and to begin to love myself for who I was, so that’s what I did.
I now walk tall and I am happy in my own skin. It hasn’t stopped me having a gorgeous man and beautiful kids. It hasn’t stopped me speaking in front of hundreds of people.
Of course I would rather not have it, but I have and that’s that.
Self esteem isn’t about trying to be perfect – it is about self acceptance.
What an honour and a privilege it is to now be doing the work I do and helping others to find self esteem, no matter what they dislike about themselves.
It is only recently that I got around to watching The Imitation Game and was so moved by the story of Alan Turing that my other half and I went up to visit Bletchley Park last weekend - the place where Alan and other incredibly clever people managed to crack the Enigma Code, helping to bring World War Two to an end.
Turing was an incredible mathematician and war hero yet was prosecuted for homosexual acts, and two years later, took his own life.
At Bletchley Park I found a letter, written in 2009, by the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown granting Turing a posthumous pardon.
This got me thinking about how much things have changed since then and reminded me of a recent conversation with my 18 year old daughter in which she told me about a conversation she had with a rather gorgeous gay friend of hers.
They were talking about how his parents still did not seem to realise he was gay despite the fact that he said it was pretty obvious from a young age! He feels sadly that if his parents do find out he will be thrown out the house and pretty much disowned.
My daughter asked him why he hadn't 'come out' to them and his reply was perfect. He said 'did you have to 'come out' that you were heterosexual to your parents?'
This statement alone is why I believe we still have some way to go...
I am so utterly delighted today to get home, after an afternoon teaching Year 3 children Sex and Relationships sessions, to hear that Caroline Lucas, the Green party's only MP, has had a breakthrough for her bid to make PSHE statutory. Today she requested that the Government introduce statutory PSHE lessons to children in England and Wales and she was supported by 183 MP's across parliament who voted in favour (44 voted against).
I am obviously so excited about this and shall explain why...
PSHE at the moment is a non-statutory subject. This basically means that it is not compulsory for schools to teach it. However it is acknowledged during an OFSTED inspection. In 2013, OFSTED in fact said that PSHE was inadequate in 40% of schools. That's a huge amount of children who are growing up without the basic knowledge about themselves and how to keep themselves safe in this digital and highly sexualised time.
Having been a class teacher for over a decade I know, with teachers so hard pressed to tick sheets and achieve levels in academic subjects, that in most year groups I have seen PSHE lessons brushed aside for more 'important' subjects, week in week out. But what could be more important than our children and young people's health and wellbeing - both physical and emotional?
I commend Caroline Lucas for standing up for our children and young people and support her and the PSHE Association wholeheartedly in their campaigns.
Now my new website is live I have decided that each week I shall write a blog rather than just adding interesting news (although I shall still continue to do this when I spot anything of importance to keep you up to date with issues related to health and wellbeing).
My thoughts this week are on the 'given' in our educational world that we use age as the criteria to group and teach children and young people in our educational system. Why do we do this?
I first saw another method whilst on a visit to an African School a few years back. Here children of all ages were being taught in the same class and on talking to the teachers, they were putting children in classes depending on their needs. Obviously they have to accomodate a whole host of issues we do not, but it did get me thinking.
In my years as a classroom teacher I have met many children who do not conform to this educational 'pigeon-holing'. They may be incredibly bright in one aspect of their lives but not so in others, yet still it is seen as mandatory that they stay with children who were born in the same year as them. Why do we do this?
Wouldn't dropping the stigma of going 'up' or 'down' and establishing a more fluid system where children's natural abilities and skills are the first place to decide which class they should attend, for which lessons, be far more beneficial to the individual child? Wouldn't this enable children to recognise the value in the skills they possess rather than the ones they are told they should have? Couldn't this then ripple through to create a highly skilled, confident society? Why are we still following a Victorian outdated method of educating the next generation when we have made such incredible steps forward in other areas of our lives?
With the mental health of our young people becoming a major issue in rich and poor, younger and older children... surely this is the time to get brave and try something new?
"...It increasingly appears that the goal of education is to prepare students for more education. We seem to think that students will learn to practice wellbeing at some mythical point later in life. In modern education wellbeing is commonly sacrificed in the name of standardized test scores, college admissions, and resume building. Why aren't we teaching students how to practice wellbeing now? If we believe they will learn it at some point in the future, who do we think will teach them?"
Read more in this eloquent, and in my opinion, spot on piece about the relationship between education and wellbeing.
More young women are inquiring about egg freezing procedures in Britain than ever before. Professor Geeta Nargund calls on the government to start teaching our schoolgirls (and boys) about fertility in the classroom.
By Professor Geeta Nargund, Medical director of Create Fertility
Britain is facing a fertility time bomb. Around one in six couples now have trouble conceiving.
Infertility can be distressing for all affected – but particularly the woman. It can be made all the more agonising by the knowledge that, had they been armed with more information at an earlier stage, any problems might have been avoided.
Through my work at St George’s Hospital and at my own IVF clinic, I have witnessed the shock and agony on the faces of women who realise they have left it too late to start a family.
For many of them the news comes as a genuine surprise and the sense of devastation and regret can be overwhelming.
These experiences are a world away from the everyday concerns of secondary school pupils. But in my opinion educating our young people about their fertility is the first step towards preventing infertility.
The heartache I have seen has made me determined to do what I can to push for changes in education that will help young women take control of their fertility.
We have been successful in reducing teenage pregnancies through education on contraception – conception rates in England and Wales are now at their lowest since records began (although there’s still a need for well-rounded ‘relationships education’ for the internet age).
We must give girls the option to plan fertility like their careers (Alamy)
But conception and contraception are two sides of the same coin.
We need to empower our young people by providing them with fertility education, so they can plan when to have a family, just as they might plan their career path.
Addressing fertility can give young women the power to ‘have it all.’ This is only possible when women have accurate information about their fertility health, giving them the chance to think ahead.
At the most basic level young women (and men) need to understand the fundamental facts about their fertility.
Facts that seem familiar to us – such as the decline of female fertility from the age of 35 - are little known among secondary school children.
In my role as a school governor, I’ve seen that there is even less awareness that issues such body weight, smoking, alcohol, drugs, STDs and thyroid problems can have a direct effect on fertility.
I would advise young women to find out more about their own family history. I’d urge them to speak to their mothers openly: knowing her age of menopause can give a broad indication of your own likely fertility window.
Egg freezing inquiries have risen by 400 per cent
The next generation deserves better. They have a right to up to date, accurate, unbiased information on the technology available.
This should cover modern fertility testing – where results are now available much faster in a ‘one-stop’ test; safer 'mild IVF' that uses lower doses of fertility drugs; and new egg freezing techniques.
Soaring numbers of young women are now inquiring about putting their eggs on ice – interest has risen by 400 per cent over the past year.
We owe it to girls to educate them in the option of preserving their fertility and tell them what it involves, whether they want to delay motherhood for medical or social reasons.
Above all else, this is an issue of gender equality.
It’s a debate that rightly focuses on equal pay and job opportunities. But for women to thrive in the workplace, health equality is also essential. It’s something that companies such as Apple and Facebook have recognised – offering their female employees egg freezing as a benefit.
New technology means women are a step closer to achieving equality, by being able to preserve their fertility for a later stage in their lives. But such technology is only useful if girls and young are educated about their options. We need to prepare them for happier and healthier lives across the board.
This is something which touches on us all. The cost burden to the NHS of providing IVF treatment stands at some £400 million, and is only set to rise. Some of this could be avoided by early education.
To this end I am a calling on the government to add fertility - as part of sex education or 'life lesson' classes - to the secondary school curriculum.
I believe that complete reproductive education, including fertility issues, is the right of all our young people.
We need to shift the conversation from treatment to prevention in fertility as a matter of urgency. It's something that could take up to a generation to achieve. We must start now. [The Telegraph
*Professor Geeta Nargund is founder and medical director of Create Fertility, and Senior Consultant Gynaecologist and Lead Consultant for Reproductive Medicine services at St George’s Hospital, London.
EXAMS! Too much pressure. SATs this week and children as young as 10 worry that doing badly in their school SATs tests could set them up for failure in their lives, new research shows.
Pupil stress: in numbers:
55% of pupils were worried exam failure would hurt their future
68% of pupils said they felt pressured at exam time
74% of parents said their children were under more pressure than they were at that age [The Independent. 11.5.15]
Interested in mindfulness? Suitable courses available:
1. Stress Management sessions (Meditation and mindfulness)
2. Self-Awareness sessions
Taught by Kate Daniels. BSc Hons, QTS
Qualified class teacher of 10 years
Long term PSHE Lead Teacher
Post-graduate qualification in PSHE provision
Adult Education meditation teacher from 2002
Work with adults, educational centres, primary and secondary schools
Cover all aspects of health and wellbeing
Teach all age ranges
Go to my other website pages for more information about me, my work and what people think of me.
Fact: Anxiety is a condition that can affect anyone. Recent research suggests that as many as 1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety condition at some point in their lives. [Anxiety UK]
A plea - to make mental health a subject that is openly discussed and acknowledged with the children and young people in your life every day of the year not just this week.
Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems yet 1 in 10 children between the ages of 5-16 have a clinically diagnosed mental illness.
Chronic conditions such as childhood obesity, asthma, and attention-deficit disorder have all increased over the past few decades.
· The UK has the highest rate of child obesity in Western Europe, which is estimated to cost the NHS about £4.2bn a year.
(National Child Measurement Statistics, 2012-2013)
· Outdoor activity in the natural environment has taken a back seat to television, video games, the computer, and a demanding
schoolwork and extracurricular schedule.
· 7 – 16 year olds using the Internet do so on average for almost two hours a day, and access it more than five days a week.
Children also watch an average of 2.5 hours of TV a day with the under 5s spending an average of two hours a day watching
(Childwise Monitor 2012/13)
· Children are spending less time in their local neighbourhoods and have less friends that they can play with (Play England)
· Children’s ability to play outside has been greatly reduced due to safety concerns
· Children’s decreasing connection to nature means that they are less likely to feel the need to protect it
A 2013 National Children’s Bureau Report showed that children growing up in poverty are nine times less likely to have access to green space. They have far fewer places to play and tend to live in environments with poor air quality. Boys living in deprived areas are three times more likely to be obese than boys growing up in wealthy areas and girls are twice as likely, which has serious consequences for their long-term health as they are more vulnerable to diseases such as diabetes.
(Great Expectations, NCB, 2013)
Sexualised images of women in advertising and social media are leading to an increase in emotional problems among young girls, new figures suggest.
Girls aged between 11 and 13 are now more likely to worry, lack confidence or feel nervous than they were five years ago because they feel under pressure.
The rise in girls suffering from emotional problems may be linked to stress brought on by seeing images of women portrayed as sex objects on Facebook, Twitter and other websites, researchers from University College London believe.
Their survey of 1,600 pupils in Years 7 and 8 showed that an increase in time spent on social media and the pressure to perform academically could have contributed to the rise.
The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, compared the mental health of schoolchildren in 2014 with a sample from 2009.
The girls and boys were asked to identify how often they worry, feel unhappy, get nervous, lose confidence, feel scared or suffer from headaches and sickness.
It found that there are now an average of three girls in every 2014 class feeling sad or nervous, compared to just one or two in a 2009 class.
The number of schoolgirls likely to suffer emotional problems also rose from 13 per cent in the 2009 study to 20 per cent – one in five – in 2014.
Lead author Dr Elian Fink said: ‘Five years is a relatively short period of time, so we were surprised to see such a sharp spike in emotional problems among girls.’
Co-author Dr Miranda Wolpert said: ‘This study highlights the significant and growing emotional problems reported by young girls today.
‘We can’t say for sure why problems are increasing, but there are many factors that could contribute.
‘These include increasing stresses on girls and young women, ranging from academic pressure to their increasing sexualisation and objectification amplified by social media.’
The classes sampled in the research were not nationally representative, as 38 per cent of the children in the study were from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared with a national average of 20 per cent.
But the study is the latest of many that shows anxiety is increasing among schoolgirls.
Official figures released last month showed that one in five girls of primary school age has been on a diet.
Research by the Government Equalities Office found that as young girls progress through school, their body image deteriorates rapidly.
The Body Confidence Progress Report 2015 states that poor body image is a ‘public health problem’ and an ‘equalities issue’ that can limit the opportunities available to women and girls. [Daily Mail. 20.4.15]
...We go through trials every day, and it doesn't take surviving a hurricane or personal tragedy to incorporate gratitude into your day-to-day routine. The characteristics that define one who can handle adversity are the same characteristics that define who will have a happy, healthy and productive life.
Faith: The belief in something bigger than you are, whether it's family, a higher power. a God or a cause.
Hope: The knowledge that no matter how bleak things are at the present, there's a belief it will get better: “The Power of Hope”.
Love: Whether an individual, family or group, feelings of love towards and from others can enrich your life in countless ways.
Gratitude: Being thankful for the things you have, rather than being bitter about what you don’t have.
...Gratitude is something that can be learned, practiced and developed, yielding a sense of well-being, optimism and happiness. What's more, when children see a thankful parent, they are more likely to become thankful children.
Starting today, implement these suggestions into your daily life:
• Each morning before you get out of bed, think of the things within your life that you're grateful for -- it could be the spouse by your side, the child in the next room, the pet in the kitchen. It could be the sun shining through the window, the legs you stand on or the eyes you use to view the world. Do this every single morning, making it a ritual. I guarantee, if you do this you will start your morning off on a positive note and this sets the standard for a positive day.
• We all have bad days because life is not perfect. Bad things happen all the time. When life gives you a blow, rather than ruminating on your bad luck, take the time to write down the current things you're grateful for. Seeing these in writing, and even the act of writing, can be calming and cathartic.
• Be grateful for life's challenges because it's those very challenges that serve as lessons and allow us to grow. View each challenge as a way to learn and build a better life.
• Be thankful for what you have. Envy will suck the life out of you. Instead of wishing you had the mansion, the hired help, the fancy sports car or the designer clothes, give thanks for what you do have. Consumerism is not the path to happiness. There will always be those who have more, just like there will always be others who have less. Be grateful that you have enough.
• Finally, help others. Every time you see someone less fortunate lend a hand, even if it’s only a smile and a word of encouragement.
...Life is a gift. Freedom is a gift. Employment is a gift. Friends and loved ones are gifts. Your very breath at this moment is a gift. Viewing life with grateful eyes gives insight that life owes you nothing...
• In 2013, 80,000 children and young people in the UK were clinically depressed; 10% of these were under 10 years of age.*
• They also found that 290,000 children and young people in the UK had a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and one in three of these was under 10.
The Department for Education recognises that ‘in order to help their pupils succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy…. Ofsted has highlighted that children and young people themselves say that they want to learn how to keep themselves emotionally healthy. Moreover schools have a duty to promote the wellbeing of their students.**
…time to defuse the ticking bomb?
Evening sessions on young people’s pressures for your parents and stress management sessions for your children/young people doing SATS, GCSE’s and A-Levels.
PSHEeducation is my business. It is all about children and young people being equipped to deal with the modern world.
What can I offer you?
• Experience: qualified class teacher of 10 years (QTS), long term PSHE lead teacher, post-graduate qualification in PSHE provision
• Bespoke Sessions: for your children, young people, staff and parents – whole school packages to small groups
• Value for money: free initial consultation, no hidden extra’s
• Quality: consistently positive feedback on all aspects of my work (see my testimonials)
• A wide range of subjects: Stress Management, Cyber Safety, Sex and Relationships, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Drugs and Alcohol, Self-Awareness.
Where can you find out more?
Feel free to email, call me or book a meeting to discuss your needs. Go to my other pages to learn more about me, my work and what people think of me.
*Source: Nuffield Foundation (2013) Social trends and mental health: Introducing the main findings. London: Nuffield Foundation.
**Source: Public Health England and the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing
Today there is a report out about loneliness suggesting loneliness contributes to health problems and affects mortality. The report says there is an increasing problem of loneliness and that it should be tackled by creating maps to show where older people are more likely to be at risk. This BBC News report out today once again highlights the problems of loneliness and is closely linked to their report on 2.4.15 discussing the implications of loneliness on emotional health across all ages.
"The emotional problems associated with loneliness have long been acknowledged, but now there is evidence that being lonely has an impact on overall health. Researchers found that lonely people are more likely to be heavy drinkers, smokers and overweight."[For the full reports go to BBC News]
Sir Anthony Seldon, whose school Wellington College was the first in Britain to introduce timetabled ‘happiness lessons’, says that governments must realise that a focus on mental health, well-being and good character goes hand in hand with top academic results.
His comments this morning come ahead of the launch tomorrow of a major report by Professor Lord Darzi, a former Health Minister, and Prof Lord Layard, an economist and former Government advisor.
The report will say that young people should have weekly ‘happiness lessons’ to counteract the effect of schools being ‘exams factories’. It is being presented at the World Innovation Summit in Health in Doha.
Wellington College has seen a transformation of its academic results since it introduced such lessons in 2006.
Sir Anthony Seldon said: “Governments in Britain and across the world are labouring under a pernicious falsehood, that you either promote student health and well-being in school or you have academic results.
“The truth is that good schools have both. Indeed, schools across the world will be far more likely to achieve top academic results if they teach their young people about their mental health, happiness, well-being and good character. At Wellington College, we have improved from 256th to 21st in the Sunday Times A level league table from 2006-2014, the very years when we have been teaching well-being and happiness.” Wellington is not aware of any school in Britain that has improved so dramatically.
Sir Anthony has long campaigned for this kind of fundamental change in the way that children are educated. He has written ‘An end to factory schools: An education manifesto 2010-2020’, in which he makes 20 recommendations which would help bring about such change.
One in ten young people in Britain now suffer from clinical anxiety and depression and Childline have reported a tripling in the numbers of children receiving stress counselling in the last year.
“All the main political parties should place well-being and character at the heart of their manifestos for education. The Duchess of Cambridge is quite right in calling today for much greater attention to be given to helping young people with mental health problems, and helping to prevent such problems occurring. This is exactly what this emphasis on happiness and well-being will achieve.”
Under the Darzi and Layard proposals, school pupils from the age of five would spend at least one hour a week discussing their emotions, setting positive life goals, and learning how to cope with everyday pressures and social media. [Wellington College. 17.2.2015]
Thousands of teachers across the country are to be given training and support to help them tackle homophobic bullying in schools, it was announced today.
The government has pledged £2 million to help eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The money will be used to finance teacher training, as well as projects to help pupils understand the dangers of prejudice.
Some 86 per cent of secondary teachers and 45 per cent of primary teachers say that pupils at their school have experienced homophobic bullying, according to a survey carried out by gay-rights organisation Stonewall last year. And the vast majority – 89 per cent in secondaries and 70 per cent in primaries – have heard homophobic language used in school.
The aim of the new funding is to give teachers the knowledge necessary to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying immediately and effectively.
Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities, said: “The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life. Teachers need specialist support and training to help them stamp out homophobic bullying.” [For the full story go to TES. 24.3.15]
"The Government’s aspirations are that by 2020 we would wish to see: Number 10: Professionals who work with children and young people are trained in child development and mental health, and understand what can be done to provide help and support for those who need it." Future in Mind. Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health
and wellbeing. Department of Health. 17 March 2015
For the full Taskforce report go to:
Schools call in therapists as stress soars among pupils
...TOP schools are turning to psychiatrists and counsellors to help deal with a rising tide of self-harm, eating disorders, depression and suicide among pupils weighed down by exam pressure, social media and family breakdown.
Head teachers said this weekend that, as well as hiring counsellors and holding mindfulness and meditation lessons, they were working with psychiatrists and therapists at private hospitals such as the Priory clinics.
One said parents, concerned at lengthy NHS queues for mental health treatment, were paying up to £750 a day for children to be seen as inpatients at private hospitals or finding their own therapists who charge up to £100 an hour.
Bernard Trafford, headmaster of the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne, said he employed two full time counsellors and mental health problems were affecting nearly every school. Sunday Times. 15.3.15
...They also call in PSHE consultants! Parents' sessions on teenager's pressures rolling out across schools in the SE now alongside stress management sessions for the kids as they edge closer to their exams. Contact me for more info'.
"We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea, and you don't believe in miracles?"
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own small worlds. I love this quote because it reminds me of the magnificence of life and the huge miracles that are all around each of us if we look for them. Just what's needed for a Monday morning!
“If it’s not better, it’s not the end” − Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups: One year on.
...There is encouraging evidence that many of the Inquiry recommendations are being taken seriously. We are pleased to see that there are areas and agencies across the country where progress is being made. The strong leadership from the Home Office is also welcome.
At the same time, much remains to be done. There are still too many places where those who have responsibility for the protection of children are failing to face up to the realities of CSE. In other areas, while strategic leaders are committed and determined, the messages have not filtered to the frontline so good intentions are not yet leading to better practice.
In addition, the Government’s promised revision of the definition of sexual exploitation and a myth busting guide on information sharing have not been delivered. Limited understanding of sexual exploitation and failure to share information means children are still slipping through the net. Despite calls from young people and experts, the Department for Education (DfE) has failed to make relationships and sex education compulsory in all schools.
[Sue Berelowitz. Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England Visiting Professor, Bedfordshire University] 17.2.15]
Posting "revenge porn" images and videos on the internet is becoming a criminal offence in England and Wales.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which has a specific amendment dealing with such actions, will receive Royal Assent and become law later. Offenders face up to two years in jail.
The amendment covers images sent on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and those sent by text.
Both Scotland and Northern Ireland are considering similar laws.
The new English and Welsh law classes revenge porn as "photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public".
It covers images shared on and offline without the subject's permission and with the intent to cause harm. Physical distribution of images will also be covered.
The Scottish Government told BBC Newsbeat there were plans to consult on making revenge porn a specific offence.
Northern Ireland's Department for Justice said there were existing laws to prosecute revenge porn offenders, but ministers would consider the case for a new offence.
Revenge porn concept image The law covers images sent on social networks and those sent by text message
Victims of revenge porn have found it difficult to have pictures removed from the internet.
Many sites where the images are hosted are based outside the UK, and requests to remove content are often ignored.
In some cases, asking for removal results in more attention being brought to the images.
According to information from eight police forces in England and Wales that kept data on this issue, there were 149 allegations of revenge porn made between 1 January 2012 and 1 July 2014.
The vast majority of victims were women. Six incidents resulted in police action.
Without specific legislation, some have sought legal workarounds to have images taken down - most commonly the use of copyright law, since if an intimate picture has been taken as a "selfie", the image's copyright belongs to the taker.
Former culture secretary Maria Miller told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the law needed to change.
She said: "By putting this in place the government has given young women the opportunity to protect themselves from their lives being blighted.
"When you speak to the victims of these crimes, many say that it feels as if you've been virtually raped.
"You can't underestimate the impact of having an image distributed to many people around the world."
Barbora Bukovska, from the organisation Article 19, which defends freedom of expression, said criminal legislation would not solve this problem.
She said: "There is probably no need to introduce a new law as there is already enough legislation prohibiting this conduct." [BBC News. 12.2.15]
A poll shows many children bully others online in order to fit in with a social group or to avoid being targeted themselves.
One in seven children say they have bullied somebody online, with many admitting they do so to avoid being targeted themselves.
The poll commissioned by the charity Action for Children reveals how widespread bullying has become online, with stress and low self-esteem cited as reasons some children target others.
The survey found 15% of the 2,000 eight to 17-year-olds polled said they have bulled somebody on the internet.
Some 59% said they bullied others to fit in with a social group, while 43% said they did so to prevent themselves being targeted.
A quarter of respondents said they became a bully due to peer pressure and 12% said they bullied others because they were unhappy.
The results of the poll have been published to mark Safer Internet Day.
Deanna Neilson, head of child protection at Action for Children, said the results are "shocking".
But she cautioned that many children bully others because of "something going wrong in their own lives" or through fear.
"Low self-esteem, stress at school or being victimised themselves by peers or adults are all reasons a child might act out on others," she said.
"It's important for parents to ask children about the day they've had online, just as they ask about the day they've had at school - whether your child is being bullied or bullying others, the problem, and any potentially more severe issues surrounding it, must be addressed."
It comes as a separate survey found half of secondary school pupils and more than a quarter of those at primary school have communicated with a stranger on social media.
The research by the charity Tablets for Schools found using tablet computers at school increased the likelihood of a young person telling someone after seeing something upsetting online.
The survey of 7,000 youngsters also found around 70% of secondary-age pupils and half of primary-age pupils take an internet-based device to bed with them. [Sky News. 10.2.15]
PSHEeducation are proud to be part of the campaign for making the Internet a safer place. Today is 'Safer Internet Day' and I would like to take this opportunity to say what a privilege it is to support schools in educating their children, young people and parents and I am looking forward to working with clients both old and new over the coming months to keep our young generation happy and safe online.
Fired up this morning following a meeting with Sam Gyimah the Childcare and Education Minister. Great discussion on mental health and how to tackle this issue effectively in schools. Looking forward to working on this further with Sam and his colleagues and good to see the Govenment are taking this issue seriously.
The majority of teenagers are turning to porn to fill the gaps left by their sex-education lessons, a new survey suggests.
Almost two-thirds of young people have used pornography to find out more about sex, and two-fifths say that it has helped them to understand sex.
The survey of more than 2,500 young people, carried out by the National Union of Students, asked them to rate the quality of the sex and relationship education (SRE) they received in school. More than half said that the issues they needed to know about were not covered in these lessons.
Two-thirds considered their SRE lessons to have been “fair, poor or terrible”, and only a third said that they could practically apply the information covered to their real lives.
For the majority, these lessons simply focused on the biology and mechanics of sex: puberty, contraception, sexual health and anatomy are the subjects most commonly covered in schools.
Fewer than half of survey respondents said that the subject of relationships had been covered during their SRE lessons. And two-thirds said that the issue of consent was never discussed.
Colum McGuire, the vice-president of the NUS, said: “Sex is not a science lesson. People are being left with gaps in their education. SRE is failing millions.”
Jane Lees, the chair of the Sex Education Forum, said: “Consent and relationship safety are real issues affecting students, and sadly they are leaving school with little or no discussion of these topics.”
Fewer than a fifth were taught about lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender relationships in school. “In a country where we passed an equal-marriage bill, this is the height of hypocrisy,” Mr McGuire said.
Though three-quarters admitted that online pornography created “unrealistic expectations” about sex and sexuality, most said that it was nonetheless a standard part of young people’s lives.
New guidelines for sex-education education, drawn up last year by a number of sexual-health organisations, said that teachers should acknowledge ubiquity of pornography, but should teach pupils to understand the differences between “distorted images of sex” and real-life relationships.
The document, which was the first update to official advice regarding SRT, was backed by the Department for Education.
In response to the NUS survey, a DfE spokesman said that SRE is now compulsory in all secondary schools. “Good-quality relationship education is an important part of preparing young people for life in modern Britain,” he said. “
He added that a new PSHE expert subject group had been set up to support and advise teachers, and to provide new resources where necessary. [TES connect. 29.1.15]
...Multiple researchers conclude that hugging and cuddling can cure depression, stress, tension, anxiety and loneliness.
A proper hug where you heart touches the other person's heart can aid you with the following health benefits: Hugging leads to release of love hormones called Oxytocin, which fights feeling of depressions, loneliness and also fits of anger. It promotes a sense of safety, trust and honesty in a person. A long hug results in an increase in serotonin levels, which elevates your mood and makes your happy.
...Hugging is a way improves one's self esteem and helps in nurturing the ability to love oneself. As they boost blood circulation to the softer tissues hugs can ease your pains, relax your muscles and can also relax your body.
Hugs are similar to meditation or even laughter. You're mind stops thinking and you live in the moment. So you get out of your circular thinking patterns and unite with your heart, emotions and breathing simultaneously.
According to Virginia Satir, an American author and psychotherapist, "We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth."
[The Times Of India. 26.1.2015]
More than 5,900 people killed themselves in the UK in 2012, according to the Samaritans, most of them men. It is the leading cause of death among some age groups, according to the Office for National Statistics...
The Mental Health Taskforce report, commissioned by Mr Miliband in 2012, recommended early action to prevent problems escalating and increasing the burden on the NHS.
Mr Miliband said: "It cannot be right that when three-quarters of adult mental illness begins in childhood, children's mental health services get just six per cent of the mental health budget - nor that these vital services have been stripped back in recent years while £3bn has been wasted on an NHS reorganisation... [For the full report go to Sky News. 19.1.2015]
This tragic case is one I have followed closely as I have run Cyber Safety sessions at Breck's local schools to both the pupils and parents following this tragic, tragic story. I hope this sends a strong message to all parents/carers/teachers to educate their children on the dangers of the online world and I highly admire his mother - Lorin Lafave for being so selfless and bringing this hugely important issue into the public eye.
Breck Bednar murder: Lewis Daynes sentenced to life in prison
A teenager has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a 14-year-old boy he met through online gaming.
Computer engineer Lewis Daynes, 19, will serve a minimum term of 25 years for fatally stabbing Breck Bednar in February 2014.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard he lured the teenager, who lived in Surrey, to his flat in Grays, Essex, after months of talking online.
The murder had a sexual motive, the court heard.
Sentencing Daynes, of Rosebery Road, Grays, Mrs Justice Cox said: "Having lured the young victim to your flat, you murdered him.
"You had befriended Breck and a number of other adolescent friends through an online community.
"I'm sure that this murder was driven by sadistic or sexual motivation."
Speaking outside court, Lynn Harvey from the Crown Prosecution service described Daynes as a "controlling and manipulative individual".
After the sentencing, Breck's mother, Lorin LaFave, described her son's killer as a "vile menace".
"No amount of years behind bars will ever change the poisonous attitude and actions of a psychotic animal who can behave this way," she said.
"No amount of years will bring back the lovely boy taken from us."
A post-mortem examination found Daynes had slashed his victim's throat.
Lewis Daynes' 999 call has been released by Essex police
There was evidence of sexual activity between the two shortly before Breck was killed, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told the court.
Shortly before the killing, Daynes bought duct tape, condoms and syringes online.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard Daynes had promised Breck "great wealth" through a fictional computer business.
They started talking on a gaming website in 2013, but friends and Breck's family suspected he was being controlled and manipulated by Daynes.
The pair exchanged a number of messages on social media and gaming conference call software "TeamSpeak".
The teenagers met face-to-face for the first time on 16 February, the evening before Breck was stabbed.
The next morning, Daynes called police and told them Breck had tried to take his own life, and in the struggle to save him, he had stabbed the schoolboy.
The nature of Breck's injuries meant death would have been "very rapid", Mr Whittam said... [BBC News Essex. 12.1.2015]
On a conference call in July, Facebook founder Zuckerberg estimated the average user spends 40 minutes each day on the social networking site...Forty minutes daily adds up to 280 minutes, or over 6½ hours, each week and 20 hours every month. If you cut your daily consumption of Facebook to 10 minutes, you would free up 30 minutes each day to spend on a workout or with family.
It would give you 15 additional hours every month to use on cooking meals, getting fit and participating in other activities that could garner far healthier results than scrolling and “liking.”
Paired with the fact that research shows your mood worsens with every additional minute spent on Facebook, your health could be a good motivator for logging off now and then.
PSHEeducation is the part of the curriculum in which pupils learn how to stay healthy and safe and prepare for life and work in modern Britain. Yet despite its importance and the evidence of its potential, the subject isn’t statutory, meaning that millions of pupils miss out on the high-quality learning they need and deserve.
Who supports statutory status? Leading organisations such as the UK Youth Parliament, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Public Health England and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, recent inquiries into abuse in Birmingham, Rochdale, Rotherham and Manchester as well as 87% of parents, 88% of teachers and 85% of business leaders.
For further information, to sign up your support or to read more about the case for PSHE go to PSHE Association.
It was a pleasure to work with so many fantastic people in 2014 and I am fired up and ready to work my socks off to reach as many young people as I can this year.
Could this be the year PSHE is fully given the recognition it needs? Fingers crossed!
My aims remain the same: To give every young person in England a wealth of opportunities to understand themselves and those around them, through top quality PSHEeducation, and thus to make informed choices which will enable them to live happy and healthy lives.