News/Blog

Simplifying Science

HAS VAPING OPENED UP A NEW GATEWAY?

This story reports on a study of 2688 high school students in 10 public high schools across LA. These kids answered questions about smoking, vaping, and pot use as 9th graders and then again as 11th graders. The bottom line: a 9th grader who had used e-cigs (Juuling wasn't a thing then, but think cousin-of-Juul) or hookah was three times more likely to use marijuana in some form as an 11th grader. There are lots of possible reasons why, ranging from social stratification around risk taking behavior to addiction. Almost regardless of the why, it's important to know these numbers and to share them with your kids. Talk about this stuff. Don't put your head in the sand and think it's not happening at your school or even under your roof. If it is, opening the lines of communication is the best first step.

Teens who used e-cigarettes and hookah were up to four times more likely to use marijuana later, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California surveyed 2,668 students at 10 public high schools in Los Angeles beginning in fall 2013, when they were 14 years old and in ninth grade.

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Disruptive Tech Doesn't Have To Disrupt Safety

A few months ago, I wrote about the then brand-spanking-new Bird scooters that had recently hit the streets of Santa Monica. Actually, I gave the Bird the bird. But I wasn’t aiming to hate on their last-mile revolution. Rather, I was attempting to shine a light on some serious safety issues, hoping to make my own little dent of impact before the flock migrated. Well, migrate it has! Bird scooters are now scattered across the U.S., having landed in 22 cities and counting. READ MORE

Let it Go!

They do as we do, not as we say. So put down the phone!! It's hard - really hard. But here are some ways to get that device out of your hands while you are carting around precious cargo... or even when you are alone in your car and other people are carting around their precious cargo: 

* Throw your phone on the passenger side floor, the back seat, the deep recesses of your purse, or anywhere else that's out of your reach
* Turn on settings that disable in-coming texts while you drive
* Stop pressing "It's okay, I'm the passenger"-type prompts when you are actually the driver
* Find a good radio station to listen to
* That can be hard, so download a podcast or an audiobook to listen to (bonus point: download BEFORE you are actually driving)
* Put your kids in charge of your phone while you are driving - if you need to make a call or send a text, they can do it for you
* Make a pact with your kids that you will never glance at a screen while driving, even of they neeeeeed to show you a really funny video or a crazy pic - wait until you have arrived at your destination because checking at a red light is still a version of engaging with screens while driving
* My grandfather used to say that getting a speeding ticket really slows you down - ditto getting into an accident because you are trying to finish that one last text or email

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There has been a historic surge in U.S. traffic fatalities over the last four years as more drivers use their phones to respond to texts or scroll through Instagram feeds. Even parents can’t keep keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, new research shows. 

Half of all parents use their cellphones while driving with young...READ MORE

Sugar Cube Challenge?

I totally would have underestimated sugar content if I was a parent in this study! Maybe someone should start a social media campaign where we take pictures of sugar cubes (approx 3 grams of sugar apiece) next to various foods to represent sugar content. Maybe I should start that ball rolling?! Would be a great visual tool to teach others - myself included! - about hidden sugar content.

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More than 18 percent of elementary-school-age students in the United States are obese, and no one really knows why. The causes are numerous and tangled. But consuming too much sugar is widely accepted as an important factor. In 2015, the World Health Organization issued a recommendation: Everyone, regardless of age, should restrict his or her sugar intake to less than 10 percent of all calories consumed daily. For young children, that would... READ MORE

Consent is Gender Neutral

Such an important article from Lisa Damour! I cannot state loudly enough how important I think it is to flip the conversation and think about it through the lens of our boys. Consent is gender neutral. And affirmative consent - the idea that every single physical move is mutually acceptable and agreed upon - sets a nearly impossible standard with complicated ramifications. Lisa, I love your last line in this article: "We owe it to our adolescents to remind them that healthy intimate relationships are about a lot more than securing agreement in bed."

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When adults talk to young people about sex, the standard speech includes the warning that they must obtain consent before stepping up intimacy to the next level. Here’s the problem: guidance that centers on the term “consent” suggests that a legal standard for permissible sexual interactions is also a decent or desirable one.

Which it isn’t.

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Exergaming Is A Thing

Exergaming is a thing... and apparently it works. This is a really small study, but an important one. Twenty-three overweight and obese tweens who increased their daily exercise through gaming had improvements in BMI, cholesterol and self-efficacy/belief about personal control. There are bright sides to screens - here's one! 

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A new study from LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center showed for the first time that video games, in combination with fitness coaching and a step tracker, helped overweight children lose weight, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol and increase their physical activity.The results of the GameSquad trial are available online and will be published in an upcoming Special Issue of the journal Pediatric Obesity in a scientific paper titled... READ MORE

Virtual Worlds

These days, the word “friend” doesn’t just mean someone you hand out with face-to-face. “Friend” also refers to a person you know (or sort of know) virtually through social media. That means a “friend” can be a total stranger.

Many of the popular social media sites don’t allow kids under the age of 13. That’s because it takes maturity and smarts to understand how powerful social media is. It’s also about your personal data and privacy. What’s the big deal?READ MORE