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Many teens have trouble spotting fake news, but it’s not as bad as it sounds

The Christian Science Monitor – Gretel Kauffman

A study by researchers at Stanford University suggests that while teenagers have a knack for interpreting their friends’ tweets and Instagram photos, they may not be as skilled when it comes to analyzing the news. Eighty-two percent of middle school students surveyed couldn’t tell the difference between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a legitimate news story, according to the study. Additionally, many teens judged the credibility of news-related tweets based on how much detail the tweet contained or whether it included a photo, rather than on the source of the post.”(more)

Sleep Well, Learn Well

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.


Kids And TV: Walking The Fine Line Of Down Time

The Huffington Post Australia – Emily Blatchford

“There’s a lot of hype in the parenting world when it comes to children and screen interaction. On one hand, technology is very much a part of modern day society and no amount of sticking your head in the sand is going to change that. On the other, there are very valid concerns regarding the potential effects too much screen time has on developing minds and behaviours. But while many parents will try to limit or regulate their child’s screen time (which by all accounts is a good thing), did you know something as seemingly harmless as having the television on in the background could also have an impact on a child’s development?…”One of the main problems we see with screen time and children is an impact on language development,” Dr Trina Hinkley from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University…According to Hinkley, the background distraction takes away from potential interactions with others, thus restricting some areas of development. “Background television quells the opportunity for interaction with parents and other people in the home, which in turn means the child doesn’t have as much access to everyday language and practice,” Hinkley said.”(more)

UK’s interest in China boosted by latest BBC TV series

China Daily USA – Samantha Vadas

“A new six-part television series celebrating stories of China’s ancient history has begun showing on the UK’s public broadcasting service, BBC Two. Written and presented by British historian, Professor Michael Wood, ‘The Story of China’ explores the development of Chinese civilization over more than four thousand years. “China is the country we all want to know about today, and if you want to understand China you have to know about its history,” Wood told China Daily. “People have such set ideas about China, all you see on the news is high rise, mass industry, Gucci and Armani and yet what you don’t realize is the amazing vitality, energy and diversity of the culture, and our job is to try and unfold that.”…’The Story of China’ series debuted just six months after a ground-breaking three-part documentary on Chinese education which sparked a heated debate in China and the UK…It also created a three-week long social media frenzy about varying education systems in both Britain and China.”(more)

Does TV Rot Your Brain?

Scientific American – R. Douglas Fields

“We all heard the warning as kids: “That TV will rot your brain!”…The parental scolding dates back to the black-and-white days of I Love Lucy, and today concern is growing amid a flood of video streaming on portable devices. But are young minds really being harmed? With brain imaging, the effects of regular TV viewing on a child’s neural circuits are plain to see. Studies suggest watching television for prolonged periods changes the anatomical structure of a child’s brain and lowers verbal abilities. Behaviorally, even more detrimental effects may exist…Now a new study hits the pause button on this line of thinking.”(more)

Too Much TV, Too Little Exercise May Affect Cognitive Function Later On

Education News – Grace Smith

“A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found that young adults who spent hours in front of the television and who are not getting enough physical activity time had a tendency to have lower cognitive function as measured by standardized tests when they became middle aged…Many studies have shown that those who are living sedentary lives can be hurting their bodies. Now, the increasing evidence from this research, partially funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, shows that being a TV watcher for many hours a day earlier in your life may result in brain impairment as well…The study’s author, Tina D. Hoang of the Northern California Institute for Research and Education at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, said: “Being physically active at any time in your life is good for your brain.””(more)