Lakeland Regional Health knows that raising a responsible, respectful and confident tween can be both rewarding and challenging, and they are committed to providing parents with the tools to navigate preteen and teen years.

Parents and preteens are invited to the Safeguarding Your Preteen event on Thursday, July 26, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lakeland Regional Health. The event will feature Polk Sheriff Grady Judd and nationally known anti-bullying proponent Jaylen Arnold.

At this free community event, you can discover how to determine if your child:

  • Is mature enough for social media, staying home alone, earning more responsibility.
  • Is being bullied, in person or digitally
  • Is displaying bullying behaviors
  • Understands responsible texting
  • Has low self-esteem or is depressed

Parents will hear from Sheriff Grady Judd and Dr. Aarti Patel, LRH Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, on social media use among preteens and teens, and how to navigate their preteen’s requests for access to video games, social media, cell phones and other electronic devices. Preteens who attend will have a separate, more personal, inspiring discussion with Jaylen Arnold. This event is designed for ages 9 – 15.

The event is free and open to the community, and a light dinner will be served. Advance reservations are required. The event will take place in the new Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children on the south side of the Medical Center Campus, 1324 Lakeland Hills Blvd.

For more details visit the Lakeland Regional Health event website.

RSVPs are required by July 23, please call 863.687.1400.

Jaylen Arnold

Sheriff Grady Judd

Sheriff Judd is a staunch advocate for raising awareness among parents and youth over the dangers of cyberbullying. He will offer advice and insight on how texting and social media have changed the way preteens and teens communicate with each other – and not always in a positive way. Sometimes, as in the case with social media threats of school shootings and suicides, his law enforcement officers must step in to ensure lives are not endangered.

Jaylen Arnold

Jaylen Arnold

Jaylen Arnold, recipient of the 2017 Princess Diana Legacy Award, is a Lakeland teenager who founded Jaylen’s Challenge Foundation nine years ago to combat bullying. Now 17 years old, Jaylen speaks about bullying from firsthand experience. His symptoms of Tourette syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder unfortunately made him a target for being picked on by other children. He now goes around the country as part of his Bullying No Way mission, which is “The more we understand each other, the more we will love the differences we have and the similarities we share.” For more information about Jaylen, please visit

Jaylen Arnold

Dr. Aarti Patel

Lakeland Regional Health Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Aarti Patel, MD, will share with parents how to handle their preteen’s requests for access to video games, social media, cell phones and other electronic devices – and any ensuing discussions about privacy, responsible communications and unhealthy behaviors.