Study: Healthy Eating May Help Children with ADHD
There’s limited evidence that any particular diet or supplement helps kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but at least some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may help while fatty “Western-style” diets do these children no favors.
Seeing Social Media More as Portal Than as Pitfall
Though there are certainly real dangers, and though some adolescents appear to be particularly vulnerable, scientists are now turning to a more nuanced understanding of this new world. Many have started to approach social media as an integral, if risky, part of adolescence, perhaps not unlike driving.
Many moms love using Facebook to keep faraway friends and family members up-to-date on their children. Statuses such as “Johnny is getting his first tooth!” and “Susie took her first steps today!” are common in many news feeds. But what if, while scrolling through your Facebook friends’ updates, you read “[Friend] is expecting a child?”
Thanks to Facebook’s newest feature, it will probably only be a matter of time before you will. Expectant parents can now add their unborn child to the list of their relationships on their profile. Parents-to-be can choose to include the name, due date and even an ultrasound picture of their unborn child.
Adding your unborn baby to your relationships on Facebook isn’t all that different than posting a status that you’re expecting, except a status is fleeting. Old statuses are quickly hidden below the “Older Posts” link on your profile as you write new updates. With Facebook’s new feature, your unborn baby is always prominently displayed on your profile.
Most parents love to write about and to post pictures of their children on Twitter and Facebook. According to a study conducted by AVG last fall, 92% of U.S. toddlers have an online presence by the time they reach the age of 2. If parents are already writing about their kids online, is writing as their kids the next trend?
Gary Shirley, a dad featured on MTV’s reality show Teen Mom, is one parent jumping on this trend. On Tuesday he created a Twitter page for his 2-year-old daughter, Leah, and began tweeting in “her” voice. Shirley immediately received harsh feedback, forcing him to tweet again: “You guys, it should be obvious that Leah has no contact w Twitter. This is just a fun concept that will in no way affect Leah herself.”
Keeping up with your own social media sites can be time-consuming enough, so should you be making accounts for your kids? Judging from the negative comments Shirley has received, the answer is “no.” Most people who responded to Shirley thought that pretending to be your child is creepy, not cute. Still, more than 5,000 people seem to think otherwise — because that’s the amount of followers little Leah has amassed in just a few days.
Would you make a Twitter or Facebook account for your child?
When Deborah Copaken Kogan snapped a photo of her 4-year-old son, Leo, in the pediatrician’s office on Mother’s Day and uploaded it to Facebook, she was looking for a few laughs (and probably some sympathy). The photo’s caption was, “Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day quite like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician’s.”
According to Slate.com, Kogan brought Leo to the doctor because he had a rash and a fever, and she feared strep. Leo was sent home with antibiotics, but the next day he was sicker and Kogan was back at the doctor. His new diagnosis was scarlet fever. Kogan continued posting pictures of Leo on Facebook to share with friends.
On the third day, Leo woke up so swollen and puffy that he was almost unrecognizable. Kogan sent pictures of her son to the doctor and posted one on Facebook. Before she heard from the doctor, Kogan got a call from Stephanie, a former neighbor and actress. Stephanie urged Kogan to bring Leo to the hospital; her own son had similar symptoms a few years earlier and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a rare and sometimes fatal auto-immune disorder.
After receiving more comments and messages on Facebook from friends with the same suspicions, including a pediatrician and a pediatric cardiologist, Kogan brought Leo to the hospital. They were right: Leo had Kawasaki disease.
He will need tests on his heart every year for the rest of his life, but he is recovering and doing well.
Kogan, who originally joined Facebook to monitor the cyber-bullying of her oldest child, is grateful for how being part of a larger network of friends helped “diagnose” her son in a timely matter and also offered support during a difficult time. She recently wrote, “Thanks to my Facebook friends and their continuing support, I do not feel so alone.”
How do young kids consume digital media in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites?
A study conducted by the Sesame Workshop and other scholars, foundations, and market researchers resulted in an enlightening new report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center titled, “Always Connected: The New Digital Media Habits of Young Children.” The report distilled data from seven other studies between 2006-2010 that focused on preschool and elementary school kids (ages 0-11) . The seven studies tracked how children absorbed digital, mobile, and online media in the form of television, smart phones, and online games.
An overview of the report’s findings reveal:
Children now have more access to digital media, so they spend more time during the day consuming it.
Television is still the number one way children consume media.
Children expand their media consumption beyond television around age 8.
Mobile media continues to be a rising trend in the way children consume media, such as handheld video games, portable music players, and cell phones.
Due to family economic situations, some children still don’t have access to the latest technology.
During the 1990s, children around 2 years old watched over 3 hours of television and children between 8-18 were exposed to media for over 7.5 hours a day. Now, over ten years later, children under 1 watch 49 minutes of television while children 2-3 years old spend 1 hour and 51 minutes and children between 8-18 are now exposed to media for over 10 hours a day. In addition to the cable television, music players, VCRs, home computers, portable handheld video games, internet, and cell phones from available during the 1990s, other ways children now consume media are through DVDs, DVRs, MP3 players, electronic interactive toys, smart phones, and tablet computers.
According to the study, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 should not watch television and older children should only watch a maximum of 2 hours a day. New guidelines about the best practices for how your kids consume technology will also be released this year by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
How to soothe baby’s colic? Pour a cup of tea
A new Pediatrics study reviewed 15 randomized clinical trials of alternative treatments for infantile colic, which included various types of treatment and found the most encouraging results came from treatments using herbal remedies and sugar solutions, while the least effective results came from treatments involving manipulation and probiotic supplements. But parents shouldn’t get their hopes up too high. All of the trials reviewed had “major limitations,” such as having too few patients, relying on parental reports of symptoms, or the study design (such as not being double-blinded). (MSN)
FDA to weigh if food dyes make kids hyperactive
A consumer group has petitioned the government to ban blue, green, orange, red and yellow food colorings. The synthetic dyes are common in food and drinks ranging from PepsiCo’s Gatorade, Cheetos and Doritos to Kellogg’s Eggo waffles and Kraft’s Jell-O desserts. Manufacturers say reviews by regulators around the world confirm that food dyes are safe. The Center for Science in the Public Interest argues that there is plenty of data showing the dyes trigger hyperactivity in kids who are predisposed to it. (MSNBC)
Kids With Asthma Needs More Help With Inhalers
According to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, fewer than one in 10 children with asthma use traditional inhalers correctly. While children have more success with newer inhaler designs, at best only one child in four gets it completely right, according to the findings published online March 28, 2011, in the journal Pediatrics. (Medical News Today)
With the increase in cyberbullying, parents are worried about how to protect their children from harmful messages on computers, cell phones, and smart phones.
To help parents understand the basics of the electronic world, the Federal Trade Commission has an amazing resource called “Net Cetera,” an online community toolkit with resources in both the English and Spanish languages.
For kids, the toolkit includes a “Heads Up: Stop Click Think” pamphlet that helps them understand the importance of safeguarding their online privacy. A DVD is also available to help kids stand up to cyberbullying and protect themselves.