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‘Screenagers Documentary Looks at Youths’ Digital Device Usage

 

Young people spend an average of 6.5 hours a day on cell phones, computers and other devices. That doesn’t include the time they use screens for school and homework. ‘Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age?’ is a documentary that explores how much screen time healthy. Physician and mother of two Dr. Delaney Ruston became interested in this issue when her preteen started begging for a smart phone. Dr. Ruston saw other parents equally confused on how to balance technology with a young developing mind.  She decided to delve deep into the science behind screen time to understand how it affects young people’s minds and development.

Through personal stories and input from leading researchers, SCREENAGERS sheds light on the impact this screen time is having on kids. The documentary explores how learning, playing and socializing online affects teens’ developing attention span, fragile self-esteem and moral instincts. SCREENAGERS examines the real risks of failing in school, social isolation and digital addiction. Ultimately, the film explores solutions to handle screen time and provides parents with tools to help young people develop self-control and find balance in their digital lives.

Click here to learn more, including the opportunity to book a screening

Click here for an interview with Dr. Delaney Ruston, the director of “Screenagers” about her own family’s messy struggles with digital distractions, and about the surprising insights she learned making this film.

Teenagers Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise at School, or Anywhere

teenagers legsTeenagers can be a notoriously sedentary group. Now a new study showed that school may be a big part of the problem.

The study, which used GPS devices to track when and where teenagers were getting physical activity, found that, on average, they were physically active only 23 minutes a day while at school. Meager as that figure is, it made up over half the 39.4 minutes of physical activity the average teenager got every day.

To continue reading this article, visit The New York Times

Teenagers Aren't Getting Enough Exercise at School, or Anywhere

teenagers legsTeenagers can be a notoriously sedentary group. Now a new study showed that school may be a big part of the problem.

The study, which used GPS devices to track when and where teenagers were getting physical activity, found that, on average, they were physically active only 23 minutes a day while at school. Meager as that figure is, it made up over half the 39.4 minutes of physical activity the average teenager got every day.

To continue reading this article, visit The New York Times

Keeping Teens Safe When Babysitting

babysittingIs your teenager babysitting over the holidays to make extra money?  The American Academy of Pediatrics advises the following to keep your teenager safe while babysitting:

  • You should always know where your teen is babysitting and how to reach them.
  • Parents should also know what time your teenager will be home, and how your teen will get to their babysitting job. Consider developing a code word with your teen in case of emergency.
  • Instruct your teen to never allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol or using drugs to drive them home.
  • Make sure there is always someone to escort your teenager home from a babysitting job at night.
  • Encourage your teen to explain to the parents of the children they are babysitting that your teenager has a mandatory curfew. Tell your teen to encourage the parents to call if they are running late.
  • Encourage your teenager to find out how to use the home’s security system, if it has one.
  • Your teenager should always call the child’s parents if the child won’t stop crying or seems sick, or if your teenager doesn’t feel safe.

Talking With Your Teen – 3 Mistakes To Avoid

Parent Listening to Child 1Talking to your teenager can be an uphill battle.  Whether it is just to ask him/her how their day was or to have a serious talk, getting your teenager to talk with you can be hard.  Dr. Atilla Ceranoglu, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, uses a great metaphor to describe child development.  Infants and toddlers are like puppies. You can cuddle them all you want, kiss them, and hug them endlessly — they cannot get enough of you. But teenagers are like cats: They tend to avoid you most of the time, and once in a blue moon they will seek out your attention. The moment you try to touch them, however, they run away.

As parents it is important of us to figure out how to not make our kids run away from us when we are trying to talk to them.  Just like you know not to run head first at a skittish cat, there are wrong ways to approach teens.  Our friends at Great Schools came up with three things to avoid doing when trying to talk to your teens.

  • Waiting for a crisis.  When tensions are high, your child is not going to be in a position to open up to you. Engage early and often, before there is a problem. This way you will develop a rapport with your child that will be very important when an actual crisis arises. “Remember, it’s impossible to build a bridge in the middle of a quake, but a bridge built earlier may be flexible and sturdy enough to ward off a quake when it comes,” says Ceranoglu. “A relationship is just like that. Its foundation and flexible nature are important ingredients of happiness.”
  • Taking the too-direct approach.  You’re probably not going to get a lot out of your child if you say, “Let’s sit down and talk.” Instead, do something together your child likes and let the conversation happen. Spending more time with him now will help build the bridges you’ll need later. “Your consistent presence in your child’s life will help your child feel comfortable with talking to you if something bothers him,” says Ceranoglu.
  • Letting the opportunity pass.  Your child may seem to be always pushing you away, but that doesn’t mean he really wants you to disappear! Be vigilant about observing his mood, and approach him when you see a chance to talk or do something together.

Even if you avoid all of these mistakes, your teen might not be much into talking.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Don’t try to force them to have a sit down talk.  What is most important is that you let them know you are there to talk or just listen whenever they need you.