Posts in Health
Do your preteens or teen have cellphones in their bedrooms?

A major study  recently showed without question the negative effect cellphones have on the quantity and quality of children’s sleep. It’s a major sleep public health issue: 75% of teens do not get the recommended 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Why public health experts care is because things like accidents, obesity, mental health problems all go up with sleep deprivation – and grades go down.

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4 Key rules for reducing screen time

My obsession with helping families parent around screen time is emotion-laden (this is about our kids so of course, it’s emotional) but also data-driven. Before I went to medical school, I was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. After my medical training I did more research in communications and ethics. I love good data. We need good data. That said, we recently conducted a small survey of people from our Screenagers email list and I will be the first to say this is a biased sample. Respondents were not chosen at random but were found through their interest in Screenagers. But, the good thing is we can still glean insights from this data about family rules.  

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Mental health issues on social media, who is talking?

The other day I was on a plane sitting next to a YouTube employee and we discussed that we both noticed that teens and young adults are posting more often about mental health issues. The woman told me that many famous YouTubers are talking about their own mental health challenges. For instance, YouTuber Lacie Green, talked about her own depression in this courageous video. The site The Mighty is also great resource.

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Is your teen clinically addicted to screen time?

Many people use the word “addiction” casually to describe something they do often and somewhat compulsively. We hear people say things like, “I’m addicted to chocolate or I’m addicted to my cell phone.”  Clinical addiction is a different matter. A clinical diagnosis is defined by...

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SMART Tips for Real Life Change

With 2017 on the horizon, the last few days of 2016 are resolution season. Are you considering making some positive life changes? Great, me too. But how can we make the changes stick…for real this time?In my twenty years as a physician I have witnessed and experienced how hard it is to actually make a behavior change, no matter how compelling the reason. Even in the face of chronic obstructive lung disease, patients with years of tobacco use try to to quit and don’t always succeed. A person with diabetes can find it so hard to control eating habits, even though it’s a life and death matter.

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Do you know how much time parents spend playing video games?

How much time do you, the adult, spend on screens?  This week Common Sense Media (CSM) released the results of a survey of 1800 parents that found that parents spend 7.5 hours a day of non-work time on screens, and 1.5 hours a day of work related screen time.  (Of note, if a respondent reported doing two screen things at once, such as watching TV while texting, the study counted that as two hours). Seven and a half hours is a lot, but if you include all the time parents are watching TV shows, *playing video games, doing social media, or on their phones while eating breakfast, while walking down the street, sitting on subways ... you can see how this adds up. 

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Sleep: Is this one time you can separate from your phone?

Tech Talk Tuesday #39
Does your teen sleep next to his/her phone?

A new meta analysis published in Jama Pediatrics confirmed how portable devices like cellphones and tablets are seriously affecting our children's sleep.  Sleep is one of the biggest pediatric public health issues of our time. I hear this firsthand when I ask groups in the post screening discussions "who sleeps with their cellphones their room?" Most hands in the room go up.

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Pediatricians have new screen time guidelines... what are yours?

Tech Talk Tuesday #38
What are your rules when it comes to your kid's screen use?

This week the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations on screen time.  

They now recommend that children younger than 18 months “avoid digital media use (except video-chatting),” but kids 18 months and older can use digital media. They also say that children 2 to 5 years should limit their time to one hour a day and for youth 5 years and older they now don't really have a recommended cap on screen time.


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Pokémon: what's all the hype?

Tech Talk Tuesday #24
How is this game different than all the other games you do?

Pokémon GO is has taken the country by storm, and it's not just kids, adults are playing too. According SurveyMonkey, Pokémon Go has become the biggest mobile game in the history of the US. The app now has more than 21 million daily active users, which surpassed the very popular game Candy Crush when it was at its height in 2013.

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Mindful tech: bringing balance to your digital life

Tech Talk Tuesday #8
How to stay mindful?

This week I want to talk about mindfulness and bringing it to our technology use. In Screenagers, there's a scene where I consult with a mindfulness coach, David Levy, who specializes in mindful tech. I reached out to him after my daughter Tessa said to me, "I'm really distracted by my computer at night." 

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