Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Study Shows Weaknesses in Research About Screens and Teens

Amy Orben at Cambridge University has conducted an exhaustive analysis and meta-analysis of studies looking into the effects of adolescent use of digital media and screen time. Her conclusion is that the research overall is far from definitive and often flawed. Her study concludes with suggestions for improving the methodology. Here’s the link:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-019-01825-4

This is an open-source site and you may download a PDF of the study.


Social Media and Eating Disorders

Well, here’s an interesting Medium article by a pediatrician discussing a link between social media use and eating disorders in young people.

https://elemental.medium.com/does-social-media-cause-eating-disorders-622a2c1e9f3f

A more direct source for the study is here:

https://www.healio.com/psychiatry/eating-disorders/news/online/%7B909b5c53-b22c-4f66-aaef-622dfdffc44e%7D/social-media-use-associated-with-disordered-eating-among-young-adolescents

And apparently, it’s not just the female gender that is affected. Lead investigator Wilksch found 45% of male adolescents in the study were affected.


Can Scary Movies Be Good for You?

It seems that scary movies may have therapeutic effects by way of relieving anxiety. It may seem counterintuitive, but some recent research is now weighing in on the subject:

https://elemental.medium.com/horror-movies-can-be-good-for-anxiety-b542ac8dbed7

 


Do Screens Really Stunt Kids’ Brains?

Apparently, time spent viewing screens can stunt development of white matter in the brains of 3- to 5-year-olds, according to recent research by John Hutton, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the study leader.

On the other hand, the article points out that:

Daniel Anderson, a professor emeritus in psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who was not involved in the study, says that while it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that screen time is bad for kids, there are alternative explanations for the result. “We know that real-time interactions with adult caretakers are really important for language development in young children, and we know that screens can’t fill that gap,” he says. “What they may have found simply is that screens are a proxy for minimal parent-child interactions.”

The article goes on to say that Hutton agrees with Anderson’s interpretation. Here is the link to the piece from Elemental Medium:

https://elemental.medium.com/do-screens-really-stunt-kids-brains-b491d62e9ed3


New Research Says Screen Time for Youngsters May Actually Be a Good Thing

A study by Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute has found that screen time for children may actually be beneficial, in contrast to other studies that have nearly universally concluded that screen time is bad. Przybylski takes issue with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which are:

  • children between 2 and 5 should be limited to “one hour a day of high-quality programming”
  • infants between 18 and 24 months can have screen time so long as it’s high quality and with a caregiver
  • babies shouldn’t be exposed to screens other than video chat

Przybylski and his colleagues used the same data set from the National Survey of Children’s Health via the US Census Bureau between June 2016 and February 2017 to come to different conclusions than those reached by, among others, Jean Twenge,  “one of the most prominent critics of letting children have screen time and the author of the book iGen, which argues that technology is making kids less happy.”

The two researchers disagree with each other, needless to say. Here’s the link to the article in MIT Technology Review about the new study.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614619/screen-time-is-good-for-youmaybe/?utm_source=newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_download.unpaid.engagement

 


A Historian’s Perspective on Networks

Niall Ferguson, a British ex-pat now living in the USA and a member of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, has given a very engaging interview about the relationship between ideas and the networks that propagate them. It’s an insightful piece and one I recommend highly.

“One should never decouple ideas from the network structures that propagate them.”

 


Great Video on Social Media Engineering

This video was uploaded by Donna Roberts in another blog and I was so impressed by it that I decided it needed more exposure. This video reinforces the very critical book about Facebook by former Zuckerberg early-stage mentor/supporter Roger McNamee, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.

It reveals the neurological science being exploited by social media programmers to hack our brains, hence the segment’s title, “Brain Hacking.”


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