Children who use smartphones, tablets, and video games for more than seven hours a day are more likely to experience premature thinning of the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain that processes thought and action, a 2018 study found. https://t.co/OJe6ZTBVkx
Early data from the study, analyzed by another group of researchers from the CHEO Research Institute’s Healthy Active Living and Obesity also showed that kids who spend less than two hours a day on screens, participated in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, and received nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep had higher cognitive abilities.Cognition was measured by language abilities, episodic memory, executive function, attention, working memory, and processing speed.
The relationship between teens, screens and mental health is complex and multidirectional
Abby’s mom has sent her articles about research linking teen depression and suicide to screen use. A 2017 article in The Atlantic magazine — “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” — drew a link between negative trends in teens’ mental health and the rise of smartphones and social media.
The negative relationship between teens’ mental health and technology use is real — but tiny, the researchers found. “A teenager’s technology use can only predict less than 1% of variation in well-being. It’s so small that it’s surpassed by whether a teenager wears glasses to school.”
How to strike a balance? To start, try mentoring, not monitoring
Heitner’s work emphasizes a concept that’s also put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics in its guidelines for parents: media mentoring.
Look for the good in your kids’ media interests
For Benji, Minecraft is a social space where he plays with other kids and pulls pranks. He says he wishes his parents understood more about his screen use — “why it’s entertaining and why we want to do it. And also, for YouTube, why I watch other people playing games. When you watch sports, you’re watching another person playing a game! Why is it so different when you’re watching a person play a video game?”
The survey, released by the American Federation of Teachers and the advocacy group Badass Teachers Association on Monday, included responses from about 5,000 educators. It follows a 2015 survey on educator stress—and finds that stress levels have grown and mental health has declined for this group in the past two years.
Yoga therapy is now recognized as a clinically viable treatment, with established programs at major health care centers, such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, and many others. In 2003, there were just five yoga-therapy training programs in the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) database. Today, there are more than 130 worldwide, including 24 rigorous multi-year programs newly accredited by IAYT, with 20 more under review. According to a 2015 survey, most IAYT members work in hospital settings, while others work in outpatient clinics or physical therapy, oncology, or rehabilitation departments (and in private practice).
The health care world’s increased acceptance of yoga therapy is partly due to a significant body of clinical research that now documents yoga’s proven benefits for a range of health conditions, including back pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as its ability to help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Yoga has even been documented as a way to alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this idea of joint media engagement, basically engaging alongside your kids, as you suggest, whether with games, videos or social media. But isn’t there such a thing as too much screen time?
When people talk about addiction, I think it’s weird we want to blame the digital media because you can form unhealthy relationships with lots of things — food, sex, work, money.
We’re using screens as a babysitter.
There’s an interesting study that recently came out that looked at how parents and young children were interacting around devices. It showed that this joint media engagement is not happening.
I feel like part of the problem is that parents are getting essentially abstinence-only education, like in sex education. The research on that says, if all you hear is, “Just say no,” it has no positive effects.
Nobody actually thinks we’re going to have a world without [tech]. They’re aiming for that healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is you being able to have the autonomy to make good decisions.