The Guardian – Anya Kamenetz
“Seymour Papert, a pioneer in educational technology and personal computing, fought hard for laptops to be used in schools. Why should children have their own devices? “Well, the simple answer is that I have one,” he once said. “It’s the prime instrument for our days for intellectual work.” Parents who smile on a child playing with Lego, colouring with crayons or reading a comic book, sometimes feel uneasy when she or he is busy with the digital equivalent. The quality of the media they are using matters, of course. But the mere fact that it is electronic media shouldn’t automatically discount its value.” (more)
NPR – Anya Kamenetz
“After another round of holidays, it’s safe to assume, a lot of children have been diving into more media use than usual. Some may now have new electronic toys and gadgets, or have downloaded new apps and games. Managing all that bleeping and buzzing activity causes anxiety in many parents. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest research, combined with some of our previous reporting, to help guide your decision-making around family screen use.”(more)
The Mercury News – Larry Magid
“In 2011, Consumer Reports released research saying that 7.5 million children under 13 were using Facebook in violation of the company’s terms of service that require all users to be 13 or older. Later that year, a research team led by danah boyd (she spells her name all lowercase) found that 95 percent of the parents whose 10-year-olds were on Facebook knew about it, and 78 percent of them helped their kids sign up. I haven’t seen recent research showing how many pre-teens are using Instagram, Snapcat, Facebook Messenger, Kik and other apps aimed at teens and adults, but I suspect the numbers are into the millions.”(more)
NPR – Eric Westervelt
“In many households, screens are omnipresent. That reality has some big implications for children. Researchers, for example, have found language delays in those who watch more television. So what are parents and caregivers to do? That question can be tricky to answer, says Amanda Lenhart, who studies how families use technology at The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. “The thing about parenting today with digital technology is that you don’t have your own experience to go back to and look at,” Lenhart recently told NPR’s All Things Considered. “When you were 10, there probably weren’t cellphones. Parents think it’s kind of a brave new world, and it changes so fast.” For guidance on screen time, parents often turn to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2016, the group pulled back from its longstanding recommendation of no screen time for children under 2 years.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin
While there may be some debate about the “wealthy” claim, recent research suggests Franklin was correct about the “healthy and wise” assertions.
Lack of sleep can lead to problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition, researchers now believe that the quantity and quality of sleep impacts memory and learning. It is well known that a sleep-deprived person cannot focus well and therefore cannot absorb and process information efficiently. The new finding is that information must be consolidated into a memory during sleep.
Scientists break learning and memory into three basic components: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. Acquisition is the introduction of new information into the brain. Consolidation is the process of making a memory stable and recall is the ability to access the information later. Acquisition and recall occur during waking hours and memory consolidation takes place during periods of sleep.
Although we do not know for sure how sleep makes consolidation possible, researchers believe that the brainwaves of different types that occur during sleep are what form lasting memories.
Since consolidation is imperative for memory, one of the most important things a parent can do for his/her child is make sure he/she gets adequate sleep.
Here are a few things that can be done to increase the odds your child is getting adequate sleep:
- Reduce screen time – Some research suggests that the light emitted from electronic devices increases alertness and keeps children from sleeping well. Establish a device free period before bed.
- Offer the right food – Whole foods that combine protein and complex carbohydrates are the best before bed snacks.
- Encourage exercise – At least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week improves sleep.
- Control the environment – Consistent temperature and a clean environment support high quality sleep.
- Unplug electronic devices – Electrical fields given off by appliances (TVs, cellphones, etc.) can interfere with melatonin secretion. Even if devices are off they emit electrical fields, so it is best to unplug them.
- Eliminate light – Light can affect immune system function and sleep, so it is best to reduce light in the bedroom.
- Establish a routine – Establish a pre-bed routine so your child is in bed on time.
Perhaps a few extra hours of sleep each night is a better way to ensure amazing childhood memories than a camera.
Science Daily – Staff Writer
“The Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card 2016 has found that children’s physical activity levels are continuing to fall well short of recommended levels…The researchers have proposed that strategies to promote physical activity and reduce screen time should place a higher emphasis on playing actively outdoors, something children could potentially do 365 days a year…Professor John Reilly, of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences and Health, led the study. He said: “The amount of time children spend in front of screens has had an impact on their wellbeing for many years. The popularity of computer games and the emergence of the internet, smartphones, and social media have contributed further to this problem…Play benefits children in helping them to develop socially and emotionally, so promoting active outdoor play would have many benefits in addition to improving physical activity, improving academic attainment, and reducing obesity.””(more)