The Science

Chill Panda is not a medical device but techniques used in the app draw on a broad spectrum of scientific studies and evidence. There are plenty of apps on the market that address the issue of anxiety in adults but very few are designed to help children under 8 learn to recognise and manage their feelings of anxiety.

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Child stress

We know children are experiencing more anxiety from a younger age, Mental health charity Place2Be says two thirds of 10/11 year olds worry all the time. There’s plenty for them to worry about in the modern world, from school tests to Coronavirus and the environment. It’s hard enough for adults to manage their anxiety but at least we have technological tools to help us cope like apps, online forums and counselling. TV, Social media and a more connected world, make it harder for children to distance themselves from issues that make them worried and anxious. Onteca created Chill Panda to help remove stigma around child anxiety and to help families and children talk about things that worry them before they become a bigger issue. The app teaches children simple techniques for recognising and managing anxiety.

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What do kids learn about managing anxiety from Chill Panda?

Chill Panda uses tried and tested methods of helping children recognise and manage anxiety, all have been recommended by our resident child psychologist, who co-developed the app with our developers, Dr Caroline Belcher. So why Chill Panda? By working closely with Dr Caroline Belcher, Onteca has been able to identify four pillars of relaxation, known to help relax and refocus anxious children. We’ve incorporated these into activities in our app; children can learn skills they’ll take with them through life. Chill Panda isn’t just a tool to help children overcome anxiety though, it’s a really fun game too! Onteca’s games developers have years of experience creating successful mobile apps and games under our belt. We’ve worked for some of the big boys like Sony and at our smaller but perfectly formed studio in Liverpool we’ve made some really successful games like Pub Quiz, Santa Tracker, over the years.

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Harnessing technology

People use technology every day, in fact over half of children under the age of 10 have mobile phones. But how often are children using the technology they have at their fingertips to improve their well being? An article in The British Journal of Psychiatry state that the benefits of using health care apps include greater engagement in well being and earlier detection of problems. Also a pediatric study notes that certain cartoons may have a positive effect on children, some noted by Psychology today include Dora the Explorer and Curios George. ChillPanda is a great animation for your child to use to understand their emotions and work on ways to improve them.

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Get ahead of the game when it comes to worry and well being

The four pillars of relaxation and their benefits;

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Heart Rate

It has been shown that there are ways to decrease stress and in turn heart rate in order to lead a healthier happier life. A study by Dr Nada showed that increased heart rate could be an psychological indicator of either your emotional state or stress level. In his study he dealt with five groups of common mental health problems in school children including anxious-phobic. These results were compared with healthy children of the same age. After completing 15 sessions of training nearly all the children had improved heart rate variablity. The most improved scores were among children with anxiety disorder. Demonstrating the possibilities available to improve the psychological and physical effects of anxiety in children.

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Breathing

Children can’t avoid all aspects of stress in their lives but they can develop healthier ways to respond to them. One way of doing this is to invoke the relaxation response developed by Dr Herbert Benson which is a state of rest. According to Harvard Health deep breathing is one of the best ways to do this. When you breathe deeply, a message is sent to your brain to calm down and relax. This message is then sent to your body. Therefore things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax. ChillPanda is a simple yet effective way to get your child to practice breathing techniques that could be beneficial to their health.

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Distraction

One of the simplest psychological techniques to stress is finding ways to distract yourself from what is bothering you. NHS UK says distraction could be helpful for young children, for example if a child is anxious about going to nursery, playing games on the way could help them keep their mind distracted. Furthermore a study by Michigan State University showed that after participants had completed a simple video game identifying shapes, they were able to stay more focused and also showed less anxiety. ChillPanda can act as a great distraction tool for children as it features calming games.

Exercise

Being active is not only great for your fitness but it can also improve your mental well-being. NHS UK state that physical activity can can bring about greater self esteem and increase peoples ability to be able to rise to challenges. According to Anxiety UK physical activity produces endorphin's in the brain that act as a natural painkiller which in turn reduces stress. Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout, as it can quickly elevate moods in many people. ChillPanda is a good starting block to get children involved in physical activity to combat stress.

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