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Children's Health Council

News related to: media and Internet use

Report: More Students Are Being Bullied Online

Online bullying is on the rise among middle and high school students, even as overall rates of bullying in schools have remained steady, according to a federal report released on July 16. Read more ›

CHC in the Press: The Complicated Relationship Between Screen Time and Depression

Some experts think that the rise in mental health problems in youth can be tied to an event in 2007: The introduction of the iPhone. Psychologist and author Jean M. Twenge wants us to believe that the “iGen”, the generation shaped by smartphones and social media use, born between 1995 and 2012 is “on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.” Read more ›

June is National Internet Safety Month

June is National Internet Safety Month. The goal is to raise awareness about online safety, in particular, for children and teens.

Adults can help reduce the risks by talking to kids about making safe and responsible decisions.  These free resources from the FTC can help you talk to your kids and teens about cyberbullying, sexting and texting, online privacy, social media, virtual environments, and more. Read more ›

New WHO Guidelines on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep for Children Under 5 Years of Age

Children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 24. Read more ›

Social Media Linked to Rise in Mental Health Disorders in Teens, Survey Finds

Mental health issues have risen significantly over the last decade and the rise of digital media may be one reason why, according to a national survey released on March 14. Read more ›

Only 5 Percent of Adolescents Meet Sleep, Exercise, Screen Time Guidelines

A study published in February 2019 in JAMA Pediatrics discovered that only 1 in 20 adolescents are meeting the guidelines and that a discrepancy exists between the sexes. Only three percent of girls get enough sleep and exercise and don’t exceed screen time recommendations, compared to seven percent of boys. Read more ›

Heavy Screen Time May Cause Premature Changes In Brain Structure Among Kids

Children who spend more than seven hours a day of screen time may experience premature thinning of the part of the brain that processes sensory information.

The data comes from a $300 million research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will follow more than 11,000 kids aged 9 to 10 years old. Read more ›

With Depression and Suicide Rates on the Rise, National Survey Reveals Complex Relationship Between Social Media Use and Mental Well-Being

A national survey of 14- to 22-year-olds provides new evidence on the growing mental health crisis affecting young people. The survey, sponsored by Hopelab and Well Being Trust (WBT), finds that large numbers of teens and young adults experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of depression are turning to the internet for help, including researching mental health issues online (90 percent), accessing other people’s health stories through blogs, podcasts, and videos (75 percent), using mobile apps related to well-being (38 percent), and connecting with health providers through digital tools such as texting and video chat (32 percent).  Read more ›

More Screen Time for Teens Linked to ADHD Symptoms

Most teens today own a smartphone and go online every day, and about a quarter of them use the internet “almost constantly,” according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center.

A study published on July 17, 2018 in JAMA suggests that such frequent use of digital media by adolescents might increase their odds of developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Read more ›

Screen-Addicted Teens are Unhappy

Researchers found that teens who spent a lot of time in front of screen devices — playing computer games, using more social media, texting and video chatting — were less happy than those who invested time in non-screen activities like sports, reading newspapers and magazines, and face-to-face social interaction. The happiest teens used digital media for less than an hour per day. But after a daily hour of screen time, unhappiness rises steadily along with increasing screen time. Read more ›

Research Roundup: 5 Things To Know About Screen Time Right Now

After another round of holidays, it’s safe to assume, a lot of children have been diving into media more than usual. They may have received new electronic toys and gadgets or downloaded new apps and games. Managing all that bleeping and buzzing activity causes anxiety in many parents. Here’s a roundup from NPR of some of the latest research. Read more ›

Study Finds Digital Dating Abuse Worse for Girls

A new study by the University of Michigan and the University of California Santa Barbara found that girls are more negatively affected by digital dating abuse.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and University of California-Santa Barbara examined the impact of gender on high schoolers’ experience of digital dating abuse behaviors, which include use of cell phones or internet to harass, control, pressure or threaten a dating partner. Read more ›

Facebook’s High-Stakes Dilemma Over Suicide Videos

Social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter’s Periscope have made videos simpler for people to share online, but now these companies are in a race against time to respond quickly to posts depicting self-harm — before they go viral.

Balancing the risks of suicide contagion with free speech, newsworthiness and other factors, these companies’ complex decisions to leave a video up or pull it down can mean the difference between life and death for people attempting suicide. Read more ›

Google Creates Online Safety Computer Game for Kids

In celebration of Internet Safety Month, Google has released a classroom curriculum and computer game to teach children about online safety and security.

The overarching program, called “Be Internet Awesome,” is part of Google’s effort to instill the youth with digital savvy and to encourage people to be good Internet citizens and includes educational materials aimed at students in the third to fifth grades. Read more ›

Kids Are Being Kept Awake by Their Phones Even When They’re Not Using Them

Cell phones, tablets and computers are keeping children and teenagers awake at night—even when they’re not being used, new research has found.

The paper, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that media devices are contributing to reduced sleep quality and quantity, as well as trouble staying awake the next day. According to the study, 72% of all children and 89% of adolescents have at least one device in their sleep environment, with most of them used near bedtime. Read more ›

New Study Analyzes How Parents Contribute to the Teen and Tween Media Landscape

Parents report spending large portions of their day watching television, playing video games, and trawling through social media—while still mostly expressing confidence that they are setting good examples for their children, according to a new study by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based nonprofit and advocacy group.

The study, The Common Sense Census: Plugged-In Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016, aims to analyze how parents contribute to the teen and “tween” media use landscape. Read more ›

Pediatricians Set New Guidelines on Electronic Media Use by Young Children

In a marked shift from recommendations first adopted in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics has lifted its recommendation discouraging all electronic media use in children under the age of 2.

The new recommendations for children’s media use acknowledge that some media exposure can have educational value for children as young as 18 months, but it should be high-quality programming—the AAP specifically referenced “Sesame Street” and children’s programming provided by PBS.

The academy also has recommendations for e-book use. Many of those books come with interactive elements that distract a child and make the book harder for a child to comprehend. Therefore, parents should read e-books along with their children, just as they would with a regular book.  Read more ›

Report on Media Use By Tweens and Teens

On average, tweens (age 8 to 12) and teens (age 13 to 18) use many different devices and consume tremendous amounts of media. A new Common Sense Media report, Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Tweens,  uncovers patterns that could spark improvements in content, access, and learning.

The report, based on a nationally representative survey of 2,658 8- to 18-year-olds, identifies distinct types of media users with different patterns of use: Heavy Viewers, Light Users, Social Networkers, Video Gamers, Mobile Gamers, Gamers/Computer Users, and Readers. The recognition of these new user profiles can help parents understand that there’s no such thing as an “average media user” and that kids’ media use may actually be a reflection of deeper needs (for example, to connect with others or learn a new skill). Read more ›