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Manulife reveals change in family dynamics in ‘new normal’

The study, “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring family dynamics and digitalization in the new normal,” showed notable differences in the impact of the pandemic and digitalization within families, with some embracing new passions and hobbies, while others, particularly younger Filipinos, expressing digital fatigue.

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Filipino parents have thrived while children still struggle in the digital-by-default life of today’s new normal, according to the results of a recent survey by Manulife Philippines.

The study, “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring family dynamics and digitalization in the new normal,” showed notable differences in the impact of the pandemic and digitalization within families, with some embracing new passions and hobbies, while others, particularly younger Filipinos, expressing digital fatigue.

“This study has helped us to better understand how family dynamics have evolved during the pandemic, and how technology has impacted behaviors at home and influenced everyday decisions. Identifying these shifts in behavior has been vital in helping us to better serve our customers,” said Melissa Henson, Chief Marketing Officer, Manulife Philippines.

Parents respond that while their well-being improved, their children experience struggle

In a survey run by Manulife in May 2022, reflecting on the worst period of the pandemic,1 38% of Generation X and Millennial parents and 40% of Generation Z children said their well-being had suffered, as they struggled with the restrictions imposed by quarantines and lockdowns. Across generations, they identified as the top negative pandemic effects: isolation from family or friends; financial difficulties; increased occurrence of negative emotions such as stress, fatigue, and depression; and a decline in physical activities.

The survey also revealed that, as restrictions eased and the country began its shift to the new normal, more than half of Generation X and Millennial parents (54%), and Generation Z children (51%) said their well-being has improved compared to the peak of the pandemic. Stress levels also decreased for 57% of the parents and 42% of the children.

Gens X and Y Filipino parents attributed their improved well-being to better work-life balance and “more hands-on, more present” parenting. Eighty-two (82%) of parents said they bonded more with their families, while 89% said their family ties got stronger. As for fulfilling responsibilities, 72% of those surveyed said they are able to take care of their kids more, and 74% can manage household chores.

Filipino parents also discovered new hobbies and passions to pursue. Top interests are watching online content (41%) and health and fitness (29%). They also delved more into finance (28%), diversifying their portfolio to include traditional and non-traditional investment products, and exploring sustainable investing. Parents have also become more conscious of their health, with 31% going online to buy life and medical insurance. 

As Filipinos discovered new passions and interests, Manulife Philippines launched its Every Day Better digital content series to provide practical tips and insights to support their evolving needs while looking after their financial future, in collaboration with some of the country’s most influential content creators.

For Gen Z children, however, they remain under a lot of pressure and feel more stressed despite the improving pandemic situation. Specifically, 54% shared that they are sleep-deprived; 68% experience stress, fatigue, and depression, while 55% are increasingly irritable. Thirty-two percent (32%) have also developed unhealthy eating habits.

About 24% of Gen Z children also shared that they are stressed due to increased family conflicts, usually triggered by financial challenges, household chores and obligations, and work and school demands. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Gen Z children surveyed also said they are concerned with the return of face-to-face classes, while 46% of them shared social media and keeping up with online image put pressure on their looks. To help them cope, they actively sought more opportunities to take a respite from the digital world, as 65% have expressed digital fatigue, prompting them to seek more offline interactions with friends and family.

Henson shared: “As Filipinos across generations become more settled in their new routines and digital lifestyles, whether as families or as empowered individuals, Manulife remains committed to serving their evolving life and health protection needs.”

Responsible use of personal data in a hyper-digital world

The Filipino home has become an all-in-one hub of digital activities for families. Among those surveyed, 95% go online for leisure and entertainment, including streaming videos, playing mobile games, and listening to music; while 92% communicate with family and friends through social media, instant messaging, and video and voice calls.  

To purchase food and products, 90% of respondents use e-commerce apps, while 82% use finance apps for cashless payments or to buy insurance. Sixty-four percent of Filipinos surveyed also access health and fitness apps, while 45% use remote work apps as they embrace hybrid work setups.

Amid a hyper-digitalized lifestyle, data privacy remains a key consideration. However, across generations, they expressed that use of their personal data is acceptable when it is used to improve and personalize their experiences. Filipinos surveyed are open to personal data collection when it is used to: develop better products and services (80%); to serve them better (78%); and to show advertisements for relevant products and services (68%).

As one of the country’s most trusted insurers, Manulife Philippines continues to offer best-in-class financial products and services, while fostering trust and confidence among its customers and stakeholders through its strong commitment to protect personal data, in adherence to the Philippine Data Privacy Act.  

Increasing interest in digital financial products for insurance and investments

Filipinos’ positive experiences with online transactions have influenced excitement and optimism for digitalization, transcending into greater interest in purchasing insurance and investment products. Most Filipinos recognize the convenience (45%), sense of security (22%), and protection (17%) that buying insurance online offers.  In the past 12 months, 25% of Generation X and 33% of Millennials bought insurance products online, while 41% of Generation Z intend to purchase insurance products in the next 12 months. Top insurance products purchased in the last 12 months were life insurance (28%); medical/health/accident insurance (28%) and investment-linked insurance (10%).

“Driving our efforts toward becoming the industry’s digital customer leader, Manulife will continue offering seamless and intuitive end-to-end digital experiences. We will also provide Filipinos with best-in-class protection plans and investment opportunities to help them achieve financial security and make their every day better,” Henson said.

Manulife’s study, conducted in partnership with InSites Consulting via online self-completed questionnaires, surveyed 500 Filipinos, aged 18 to 55, in May 2022 across the country. This included insurance and non-insurance owners. To download the full report, visit manulife.pub/TheModernFilipinoFamily.  

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NewsMakers

How to help children build a growth mindset

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset.

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A new year is a perfect time to consider the habits you want to keep and the ones you’d like to develop. One resolution to consider is helping your children develop a growth mindset this year.

“We know one of the greatest boosts to parents’ confidence over the past year came from knowing their children’s whole selves are being nurtured, and we want to see that trend continue,” said Carter Peters from KinderCare Learning Center’s education team. “A growth mindset helps children try new things despite fear of failure. It’s the kind of thinking that allows inventors and creative thinkers to get excited about trying something new and ensures they have the cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills to work through hurdles.”

Adults can often easily spot when children are engaged in creative thinking and prideful of their work, but that confidence may be lost as failures turn into insecurities. By nurturing a growth mindset and showing children they can learn and develop new skills in any area, it better sets them up for long-term success.

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset:

Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash.com

1. Praise effort

It’s easy to fall into the habit of praising successes. However, praising effort encourages children to try new things without the fear of failing. It also teaches children personal growth and achievement are possible, even if their overall effort wasn’t a success.

“Young children often get excited to try something new,” Peters said. “By praising effort and showing children they’ll still be loved and valued despite the outcome, you can reframe how they approach challenges and teach them that difficult doesn’t mean impossible.”

2. Encourage the process

People often withhold praise until there’s a result, which leads children to hurriedly scribble a picture to hold up for a “good job” instead of taking time to focus on their efforts. When children know adults will encourage them during the process, instead of only upon the achievement, they’re more likely to try new things or master a new skill. For example, try providing encouragement such as, “I can see you’re focused on drawing that tree. It looks so lifelike because you’re putting so much thought into what you’re doing.” Once their project is finished, continue the encouragement by hanging up their artwork or school projects in a prominent place.

3. Model a growth mindset

You can model a growth mindset for children by narrating your actions when you are facing a challenge: “I am having a difficult time putting this shelf together, but it’s OK. I’ll take a break then read the instructions again.” Remove negative words from your vocabulary, such as “I can’t” or “I’m stupid.” Even when you are joking, children may not be able to tell the difference. You can also ask your children to join you in problem-solving. Take time to hear their ideas and try them even if you think they won’t work. This not only supports the development of their growth mindset, but the quality time and encouragement reinforces their sense of self-worth and builds confidence.

For more tips to help children develop a growth mindset, visit kindercare.com.

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NewsMakers

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

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A healthy marriage is built on trust, respect, and communication. Couples with these qualities in their relationship tend to be more satisfied with their marriage and overall life. They also report feeling closer to their partner and having stronger well-being. With 2.3 out of every 1000 people in the US experiencing divorce in 2022, it is important to frequently check in on the health of your marriage.

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

A healthy marriage is built on trust, communication, and mutual respect. If you and your partner can effectively communicate and share a mutual level of respect, then your relationship is off to a good start. Trust is also important in a healthy marriage, as it allows you and your partner to feel secure in your relationship and rely on each other.

Many other signs can indicate whether or not a marriage is healthy. For example, couples who can spend quality time together and enjoy shared activities usually do well. Couples who can openly discuss their relationship with each other and work through difficulties together are also more likely to have a happy and healthy marriage. Finally, marriages, where both partners feel like they can be themselves without judgment from their spouse tend to be the strongest and most lasting.

Freedom to be yourself

In a healthy marriage, partners feel free to be themselves. They don’t have to put on a facade or pretend to be someone they’re not. They can be open and honest with each other and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Both partners should pursue their interests and hobbies without compromising or sacrificing for the sake of the relationship. There’s no need to agree on everything – in fact, it’s healthy to have some separate interests – but overall, both partners should feel like they’re able to be true to themselves within the relationship.

Lots of good communication

In a healthy marriage, partners can communicate effectively. It means expressing needs and wants and listening and responding to what the other person is saying. There are mutual respect’s opinions, even if there are disagreements. Couples in a healthy marriage feel comfortable communicating with each other about both the good and the bad.

Good sex life

A good sex life can be a major sign of a healthy marriage. A lack of sexual activity can be an early warning sign that something is wrong in the relationship. Often, couples who have a good sex life are more connected emotionally and physically. They are also more likely to trust each other and communicate openly.

Trust in each other

In any relationship, trust is essential. Without trust, there is no foundation for the relationship to grow. In a marriage, trust is even more important. Trusting your spouse means you feel confident in their ability to support you emotionally and financially. It also means that you feel safe sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them.

When you trust your spouse, you know they have your best interests. You feel comfortable being yourselves around each other and sharing your hopes, dreams, and fears. Openness and honesty in your relationship allow you to be vulnerable with each other. This vulnerable honesty creates a deeper level of intimacy in your marriage.

When you trust each other, you can be more forgiving when mistakes are made. You know that everyone makes mistakes and that nobody is perfect. You also understand that your spouse is human and capable of making mistakes like anyone else. If they make a mistake, you are more likely to forgive them because you know they are sorry and will try not to make the same mistake again.

Trust is one of the most important foundations of a healthy marriage. If you want your marriage to thrive, build trust in each other.

A successful, strong marriage takes work, but with communication, trust, respect, vulnerability, and affection as its core components, you can together create a partnership that will be long-lasting.

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NewsMakers

Obesity linked to macular degeneration

Immune cells are also activated when the body is exposed to stressors such as excess fat in obesity, making being overweight the number one non-genetic risk factor for developing AMD, after smoking.

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A Canadian study published in the prestigious journal Science elucidates a new molecular mechanism that may cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The research at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosement, in Montreal, shows how life stressors such as obesity reprogram immune system cells and make them destructive to the eye as it ages.

“We wanted to know why some people with a genetic predisposition develop AMD while others are spared,” said Université de Montréal ophtalmology professor Przemyslaw (Mike) Sapieha, who led the study by his postdoctoral fellow Dr. Masayuki Hata.

“Although considerable effort has been invested in understanding the genes responsible for AMD, variations and mutations in susceptibility genes only increase the risk of developing the disease, but do not cause it,” Sapieha explained.

“This observation suggests that we must gain a better understanding of how other factors such as environment and lifestyle contribute to disease development.”

AMD is a major cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and affected approximately 196 million people in 2020. It comes in two forms:

  • dry AMD, characterized by the accumulation of fatty deposits at the back of the eye and the death of nerve cells in the eye,
  • and wet AMD, which is characterized by diseased blood vessels that develop in the most sensitive part of the sight-generating tissue, called the macula.

Contact with pathogens

It is already known that the immune system in the eye of a person with AMD becomes dysregulated and aggressive. Normally, immune cells keep the eye healthy, but contact with pathogens such as bacteria and viruses can make them go awry.

At the same time, immune cells are also activated when the body is exposed to stressors such as excess fat in obesity, making being overweight the number one non-genetic risk factor for developing AMD, after smoking.

In their study, Sapieha and Hata used obesity as a model to accelerate and exaggerate the stressors experienced by the body throughout life.

They found that transient obesity or a history of obesity leads to persistent changes in the DNA architecture within immune cells, making them more susceptible to producing inflammatory molecules.

“Our findings provide important information about the biology of the immune cells that cause AMD and will allow for the development of more tailored treatments in the future,” said Hata, now an ophthalmology professor at Kyoto University, in Japan.

The researchers hope their discovery will lead other scientists to broaden their interest beyond obesity-related diseases to other diseases characterized by increased neuroinflammation, including Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

About this study

“Past history of obesity triggers persistent epigenetic changes in innate immunity and exacerbates neuroinflammation,” by Mike Sapieha and Masayuki Hata, was published in Science.

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