JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. –
The Defense Department launched a new website today for children experiencing the challenges of military deployments.
The highly interactive website, http://www.MilitaryKidsConnect.org, was created by psychologists at DOD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology here. It helps children of deployed parents cope with the stress, changing responsibilities, and concern for the safety of their parents, officials said.
The center, known as T2, developed the website with informative videos, educational tools, and engaging games and activities for three age groups: 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 17. The site features monitored online social network forums for the groups to safely share their experiences with deployments.
MilitaryKidsConnect.org is the first DOD website to connect children in the widely separated active, reserve, and National Guard military communities, officials said.
"Since 2001, an estimated 2 million children have said goodbye to a parent headed to deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, other places around the globe, and on ships at sea," explained Kelly Blasko, a T2 psychologist. "Military children are deeply affected by the separation of their parent's deployment. We've seen that in their hearts, kids deploy too."
The website has features that will help children, parents, and educators navigate the wide range of practical and emotional challenges military families must live with throughout the deployment cycle, Blasko said.
"While military children are very adaptable given the constant changes and stressful nature of military life," she added, "deployment puts a unique stress on family relationships at home, which can also affect the deployed service member. The DOD now has a website to help the youngest members of the military community."
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology serves as the primary DOD office for cutting-edge approaches in applying technology to psychological health.