Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders among children and adolescents. In the United States, 7% of children 3-17 years old have a diagnosed anxiety disorder at any given time,1 and nearly one out of every three adolescents meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18.2 While some children with anxiety disorders experience general anxiety and worry about broad aspects of their everyday lives, others have anxiety about more specific situations, such as socializing with peers or separation from caregivers.
At Mightier, we do not collect diagnosis information about children and families using our product, families do sometimes share symptom information. Through this data, we can see that many children with anxiety-related challenges use and find success with Mightier.
Do kids with anxiety use Mightier?
Of approximately 10,000 players who joined Mightier between Spring 2018 and Fall 2019, 66% of their parents or caregivers reported that they struggled with anxiety. Rates of anxiety challenges were similar between boys and girls, and were higher for players ages 9 and older than for players 8 and younger.
Will my child with anxiety be willing to play Mightier?
Parents frequently worry that their child’s anxiety may get in the way of enjoyment of Mightier. Mightier contains controlled moments of frustration, and for children who tend to avoid overstimulation, there is a fear that they may refuse to engage with Mightier or that Mightier will exacerbate their anxieties. Fortunately, we have found that not to be the case.
Of players with anxiety symptoms, over 70% of players who started playing Mightier in the past 18 months have played for at least an hour. The percentage of players struggling with anxiety who have played Mightier for at least one hour is about the same as the percentage with more than an hour of play in the overall player population.
What skills will my child with anxiety learn from Mightier?
We have also heard from parents that Mightier is helping children manage their anxiety. Parents tell us stories about seeing their Mightier kids take deep breaths to lower their heart rate and manage their anxiety about homework, athletic events, major storms, adjusting to big changes in school or at home … the list goes on. Three-quarters of parents (75%) who have answered our player follow-up surveys have reported that they are seeing improvements in their Mightier players’ overall emotional regulation. Among players with anxiety, the rates of parent-observed improvement are similar, with over 76% of parents whose children struggled with anxiety at the start of Mightier reporting emotional regulation improvement.
How do I make the most out of Mightier with a kid with anxiety?
We have found that talking about Mightier and making connections between Mightier and real-world situations are two ways that parents can help their kids get the most out of Mightier. For parents of kids who experience anxiety-related challenges, this would include conversations about how anxiety works in our bodies to raise our heart rate and physiologically activate us (fight or flight response), and how Mightier helps us lower our heart rate using deep breathing and other calming skills.
Parents of Mightier players who struggle with anxiety have found it helpful to work with their kids on identifying anxiety triggers and pairing Mightier play to triggering situations when possible. For example, some parents have their kids play Mightier before doing homework and find that it makes homework less anxiety-provoking. Some have their kids play before bedtime, because that is when their anxiety is at its worst. Some parents have their kids play Mightier before school to ease anxieties relating to leaving home &/or going to school.