Underage Drinking Prevention Project Unveils New iPad Application to Facilitate Positive Interactions between Parents and Children

URC’s Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives (UADPEI) project, funded by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and led by prime contractor ICF Macro, unveiled a new iPad application titled Me, You, and Wally Bear: Building Blocks for a Healthy Future, at the Digital Health Communication Extravaganza (DHCX) conference this week. The application is designed to facilitate positive interactions between children ages three- to six-years old and their parents/caregivers.

Research has shown that a solid foundation of positive communication habits, health behaviors, and social skills can help children live healthy lifestyles and avoid alcohol and other drug use as they grow older. Available for free through the Apple iTunes Store, Me, You, and Wally Bear incorporates six topic areas – My Self, My Body, My Feelings, My Family, My Friends, and My World – which provide a holistic and developmental approach to helping children grow up drug free. This is SAMHSA's first venture into mobile applications, which may lay the groundwork for future tablet and smart phone information sharing.

The UADPEI project provides state-of-the-art health communications support to SAMHSA by strategically developing targeted and innovative products, such as the mobile application. The project also developed and maintains three websites:

  • Building Blocks for a Healthy Future, which helps parents, caregivers, and educators promote the healthy social and emotional development of young children in order to prevent future substance abuse;
  • Too Smart to Start, which educates youth and teens about the risks of alcohol use; and
  • Stop Alcohol Abuse.gov, which serves as a gateway to comprehensive research and resources on the prevention of underage drinking.

The project has also coordinated over 6,000 town hall meetings, developed a museum exhibit, and created a public service announcement to prevent underage drinking.

About the Conference

DHCX is a three-day conference that gives health care professionals an opportunity to network and collaborate on new methods of using digital resources to obtain optimal behavior changes and health outcomes. DHCX, led by University of Florida’s Dr. Jay Bernhardt and Dr. J. Don Chaney, held its first conference in Orlando, Florida in 2012. The conference returned to Orlando this year with the theme “Converging Networks.”

Date 
February 22, 2013
Authors 
Dr. Matthew Walker, UADPEI Deputy Project Director
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