Dr. Dimitri Christakis says not all screen time is bad for children, but it’s important to be familiar with the content and manage the time kids spend on screen toys.
The American Academy of Pediatrics announced it is revising recommended screen time guidelines for kids. Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, offers parents advice on how to manage screen time and what to consider when shopping for children this holiday season.
Q: What should parents make of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) decision to revise screen time guidelines?
A: This is an acknowledgement that for kids growing up today, screen time is a constant part of their lives: At home, at school, when visiting friends, on the airplane, in cars. Digital products have permeated every part of kids’ days, so the revised guidelines ought to help families manage digital engagement.
The good news is that not all screen time is bad. But it’s important for parents to understand that kids are going through critical cognitive, social and emotional developmental phases, and screen time influences that development. Read full post »
Researchers found that drinking-related posts on Facebook increased among students studying abroad, especially for those who went to Europe.
Studying abroad is a formative educational opportunity for many young adults, myself included. My time in French Polynesia last summer as a junior in college changed my outlook on the world and made me a better student, friend and daughter. But I also know from experience that studying abroad can also be problematic for some who might take the newfound freedom a little too far.
Underage and excessive drinking was something I witnessed, and according to new data from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, where I volunteer with the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), underage and excessive drinking is often a key part of the study abroad experience, especially for those who went to Europe.
Researchers found that drinking-related posts on Facebook increased among students studying abroad, especially for those who went to Europe. Read full post »
The attendees of the summer scholars program visiting Pike Place Market.
Most teens aren’t keen on spending summer days in camp; they’ve outgrown sleeping bags and roasting s’mores. That’s why the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is hosting this week a summer scholars program designed to help teens create their own research projects on teen health and media.
Led by Dr. Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the SMAHRT team, the summer scholars program will ask 25 teens ages 16-18, mostly from the Kent and Highline school districts, to help design and answer their own research questions such as:
- How does Instagram affect adolescents’ well-being?
- Can you be addicted to the Internet?
- Does Facebook influence health behaviors for college students?
The students will also learn about different types of research that seek to improve child and adolescent health while experiencing different paths to a career in research or healthcare. Read full post »
Dr. Megan Moreno (top) and Dr. Annika Hofstetter (bottom)
Seattle Children’s has the honor of having over 100 doctors and researchers slated to present at the 2015 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting. This is the largest international meeting focused on children’s health research and clinical implications.
On the Pulse is highlighting two Seattle Children’s researchers who will be presenting their exciting new research: Dr. Megan Moreno and Dr. Annika Hofstetter.
Using media to understand mechanisms of behavior change
Dr. Megan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Center for Child Health and Behavioral Development is leading the way in adolescent social media (SM) use research. In her PAS presentation she will highlight key adolescent health issues pertaining to the SM landscape.
Over 90 percent of adolescents use SM, where they may display risky behaviors and describe their health attitudes, intentions and behaviors in ways that can be measured, Moreno said. Read full post »
A Seattle Children’s researcher is chasing an elusive goal: finding a way to know when adolescents and young adults who contemplate suicide might actually try to harm themselves.
“Suicide risk rises and falls but it’s really hard to tell when it’s rising, even when you’re regularly seeing a patient,” said Dr. Molly Adrian, a psychologist at Seattle Children’s and investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development.
Now, Adrian is pursuing an innovative solution – a computerized system that would search adolescents’ social media posts for signs of crisis and alert a medical specialist or family member when someone needs immediate help. Read full post »
A student examines DNA in the Science Adventure Lab.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Science Adventure Lab has been inspiring future scientists at schools across Washington state since 2009. When the 45-foot mobile lab rolls onto campus, students in grades 4 through 12 put on safety aprons and gloves and perform science experiments using real laboratory and medical equipment. While learning about nutrition, infectious diseases and the respiratory system, students begin to imagine career possibilities in health science.
“It’s amazing to watch their eyes light up when they first discover how fun and exciting science can be,” said Dr. Rebecca Howsmon, lead instructor on the Science Adventure Lab. “Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere all of the time, so we decided to make our curriculum available online.”
The Science Adventure Lab has launched a new website designed to provide innovative, educational experiences that ignite new passions for science and enhance science education in schools and at home. The new site features links to online games like Guts and Bolts – which allows users to progress through 12 interactive levels while learning about the interplay of human body systems – and Genome Cache, an app that allows users to explore the human genome through clues, fun facts and trivia questions. There are also animated videos created by the Science Adventure Lab team that introduce students to science concepts and vocabulary.
Read full post »
Dr. Megan Moreno, investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development and adolescent medicine expert at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Today’s teens are the first “digital natives” who have grown up with the internet. So much of what they learn about online safety comes from their peers, but what lessons are they teaching one another? To find out, Dr. Megan Moreno, an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development and adolescent medicine expert at Seattle Children’s Hospital, led a study to discover what teens felt were key safety issues and what messages they could be sharing with their peers. She shares her findings here:
Most teens today, including those I see in clinic each week, spend time on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While these sites provide adolescents with numerous benefits, including social support and exposure to new ideas, there are also risks of internet use, such as cyberbullying and invasion of privacy. Educating adolescents about how to protect their privacy and use the internet safely may prevent many risks. However, there aren’t any widespread, tested and comprehensive resources available to teach these skills to teens because the internet is still a relatively new phenomenon. Most teens say they learn about internet safety from their peers, but it’s unclear what lessons they may be learning in this way. Our research team led a study to discover what teens felt were key safety issues and what messages they could be sharing with their peers. Read full post »
As new technologies have emerged, Seattle Children’s Research Institute has kept pace, studying various social media channels and considering how these impact adolescent health.
To share their exciting work with the community, the research institute’s Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) is hosting its first annual conference July 31 through Aug. 2. The conference, titled “Using Social Media To Improve Health, Catalyze Research and Empower Communities,” will address how social media can lead to both problematic behaviors – like overuse of the internet – or positive actions, like increased fitness.
“We know social media has some risk but we also know there are some benefits to using these tools,” said Dr. Megan Moreno, principal investigator of SMAHRT within the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s. “We want to figure out how to make online experiences more positive.”
The conference will include panel discussions as well as an “Appy Hour” in which attendees will have a chance to use Fitbit activity trackers, experience iPad health screenings and try an app used to help patients decide on birth control methods. It is intended for teachers, educators, families, health care providers, researchers, child health advocates, public health practitioners, and members of the legal, business, technology, and journalism communities. Read full post »
“You study Facebook?”
Megan Moreno, MD, MPH, often hears a surprised response like this when she describes her work researching adolescent’s use of social media at Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development. But, Moreno no longer has to tell people about her research – she can show it to them. Her team is participating in a video contest and hoping to take their work all the way to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Moreno leads the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) in its efforts to use social media to reduce health risk behaviors and promote positive lifestyles to adolescents. Read full post »
It is fascinating to watch an infant, who cannot yet talk or walk, play games on a tablet computer. But many parents wonder, should children so young be playing with these devices? Despite previous recommendations that children under age 2 should not use any media, a Seattle Children’s Research Institute expert now says children may benefit from playing with age-appropriate apps for 30 to 60 minutes each day.
In 2011, Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, was part of a panel of experts who supported a statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discouraging the use of media by children under 2 years old. But in a new opinion essay, Christakis says that statement should be updated to address new technologies – specifically, the iPad and other tablet computers.
“The AAP statement was in press before iPads existed,” Christakis says. “It treats all screens the same, but there are a lot of theoretical reasons to believe tablet computers are quite different and prior research on traditional media doesn’t apply.”
While he still believes young children should not watch television, Christakis says tablets may be harmless, or even beneficial to infants. Given most parents are ignoring the AAP’s recommendation and 90 percent of children under age 2 watch video screens regularly, Christakis says tablets with interactive apps could be a better alternative. Read full post »