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Doctors Debate a New Study That Puts Kids’ Screen TIme in a Positive Light

Kelly Taylor

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Is Screen Time A Common Sense Issue, Or Is There More To Learn From A Recent Study?

Children glued to their phones and tablets may give parents a break, but is the overall, long-term effect of “screen time” actually positive? On TV, the show “The Doctors” took on this question in response to a controversial study that seemed to claim that kids benefit from screen time more than they are harmed. Ironically, parents can go online and spend some screen time of their own catching up on this segment of “The Doctors” along with videos from well-known medical sources such as Kaiser Permanente and even the U.S. Government‘s NIH. Why did these doctors get heated about the results of the study?

The Potential Dangers of Children Spending Significant Screen Time

Mental development of children involves diverse sensory inputs, problem-solving, interaction with others and managing of emotions. Screen time may help educate and entertain kids, but overall the brain and personality development of the child could be at risk if they spend too much time face-to-screen.

Is Erosion of Family Life Another Concern?

While studies often focus on screen time as a negative factor in children’s school and developmental progress, the effect on family life as a whole is sometimes omitted. Kids who spend so many hours alone, not interacting with their families when they are at home, would in the past have been cause for concern. They might be depressed, have a developmental issue, or be holding in feelings about some difficult issue in their lives. Screen time is a distraction that could serve to mask these and other concerns. When kids participate in the family, physicians note, they not only grow but they have better access to interactive parenting.

Dr. Judy Ho And Her Analysis Of A Controversial “Study”

On “The Doctors,” the team considered the positive spin on kids and screen time of a new but controversial study. Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho, who had strong opinions on the subject, played the “bad guy” and asked tough questions, offering her own well-developed views. She noted that the study they were discussing was missing several key elements of a well-designed piece of research, and so the conclusions were unlikely to be useful as information for parents. The data simply served as an informal survey of interested parents, and the results were a compilation of general comments about kids’ characteristics. There wasn’t really any direct and scientific way to see cause and effect.

Boiling Down The Issue Of Screen Time For Kids

Parents may use decisions about gadget use as a teachable moment in their children’s lives, but as always peer pressure is going to be a powerful force. Kids who aren’t connected tend to miss out, as previous generations of TV-watching kids did, on social interactions with other kids which revolve around common media experiences.

Teaching Your Children to Grow into Adulthood

Parents have to weigh social “coolness” against developmental, family, and educational concerns. In the end, though it may be difficult for some parents, Dr. Patty’s suggestions are a great starting point: have no-screen zones like the dining room with a basket by the door, have concrete limits for screen time — typically less than two hours a day — and try to make screen time a parent-child experience rather than a media consumption moment. Talk about screen-based experiences, think about them together, laugh at the funny stuff and ask questions about the serious stuff. Use screen time to help your child’s mind grow.

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Beautiful Story Goes Viral as Educator Meets Two Wonderful Children at a New Orleans Saints Game.

Renee Yates

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When Danielle and Dustin Trahan bought tickets for the Saints/Panthers game this season, they had no idea what they were getting into. In a world where we hear so much about how poorly people have behaved, it can be nice to have a little bit of a silver lining to admire. Danielle Trahan attended the New Orleans Saints versus the Carolina Panthers which was played in New Orleans. When she sat down at her seat beside her husband, she soon realized that she was seated next to a pair of young children. Quickly realizing that the two boys were without their parents, the Trahan’s began to look out for the kids. What happened next was as delightful as it was inspiring!

First and foremost, let’s introduce you to Jairen Fisher and Terrion Shaffer, two brothers aged 8 and 14. Jairen and Terrion had been gifted a pair of tickets to the game by their father, Jonathan Shaffer. Unfortunately, the family could not afford to purchase enough tickets for everyone to attend. Knowing how much the game meant to Jairen and Terrion, their father decided to drop them off at the secured entry so that they could be escorted to their seats by the arena guards. Jonathan would wait at the gate after the game for his kids to be escorted back. Jonathan said, “When I sent them in and decided to send them by themselves, I was worried a little bit.” Shaffer went on to expound, “But I wasn’t worried a lot, because I know my kids. They can handle themselves, and I know they’re respectable.” As it turns out, Jonathan was more right than even he could have guessed!

During the game, Danielle and Dustin quickly struck up a friendship with the boys. Danielle noticed that Terrion would lift his brother onto his shoulders whenever the boy wanted a better view. The two kids would high five when the Saints made big plays, and they would groan in concert when something bad happened on the field. Through it all, both kids were respectful, polite, and utterly beaming with joy at the sight of the game going on below them. Trahan struck up a conversation with the kids and soon came to learn that they were from Baton Rouge and that young Jairen was only in 3rd grade and that this was the first football game that either boy had ever seen in person.

After the game ended with a Saints victory, the Trahan’s made sure that the children made it back to their father who was waiting at the gate. Without thinking too much about it, Trahan would go home and share her story online. Danielle is a special ed paraeducator as well as a mother of four, and she was just blown away by how well-behaved and kind the children were. Danielle decided to share the photo they had taken with the boys just to share their stories. In the blink of an eye, Danielle’s story was going viral. Thankfully this already sweet story has an even sweeter ending. After the story went viral, Jonathan and his sons were gifted tickets to a Monday Night Football game featuring the Saints and Colts. Guess what else? The boys wanted to see the game with Danielle! The two families managed to reconnect via the internet and have since become close friends. 

In a world of anger and cynicism, isn’t it nice to hear about two lovely families coming together to do something nice?

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Culture

How Pregnancy Will Change Your Body

Renee Yates

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Becoming pregnant and bringing a new child into the world will do a lot more than just create a temporary belly bump and related large waistline. It will also trigger a number of changes to a woman’s body, some remaining permanent. And they are not the predictable ones that women typically learn in high school or from science books. Instead, many of the changes are going to be things that only women know and pass on from person to person verbally. And when one woman talks about them, those in the know will smile and nod agreeing. But to outsiders, motherhood remains a “joy” to look forward too.

Let’s Talk about Those Tootsies

There are some parts of the body that get bigger with pregnancy, but don’t expect feet to be on the typical expectation list from the doctor or generic pregnancy preparation pamphlets. The fact is, women’s feet get slightly longer as their foot arch decreases. This change, often assumed caused by the baby weight and the body hormonally preparing muscles and ligaments to stretch, ends up triggering the need for new shoes.  So no, it’s not just about needing to shop for the sake of shopping alone.

Redefining the Term “Exhausted”

Because a woman’s body has now become the creation system for a whole new life, it consumes a lot of energy, including what that mother-to-be would normally need to get through the day. The result is a regular and ongoing feeling of being wiped out most of the day. This sensation happens off and on from trimester to trimester, skipping the second one and returning again on the tail end.

Getting a Healthy Glow

Hormones being the culprits they are, will trigger a significant production of facial oil. That in turn will give you a very Roman healthy look which also makes a pregnant woman look a bit younger too. You’re going to feel like your face is greasy more than not, but everyone is going admire how beautiful you look. Go with it; the facial changes are one of the up sides of the body changes.

Be a Lot More Careful

Pregnant women trip, stumble and fall a lot more than normal. The same hormone affecting the feet is affect all the other joints too, causing ligaments to stretch. Unfortunately, this benefit for allowing a woman to give birth will also affect all her other ligaments, making ankles and knees in particularly a lot more wobbly. No surprise, women tend to wear flats a lot during the second and third trimester for better traction and less falling risk.

Mommy Brain

Yep, you’re not suddenly going stupid after years of being a genius; you have mommy brain when pregnant. Pregnancy is often associated with mentally feeling cloudy or forgetting a lot of things. When you have a being inside of you taking up some of that oxygen in your circulatory system, it’s going to have an effect, and this one cuts down on the oxygen going to your brain. That will affect your ability to maintain concentration or use short-term memory in a normal fashion. Plan on writing things down a lot to remember what you need 30 minutes later.

Yes, having a child is a beautiful thing, and yes, you will get a bigger belly and breasts as part of the change to make a pregnancy happen. But there’s a lot of other changes in the package that can be a bit of a surprise. It’s up to you if you want to share them after your pregnancy, but it does make being pregnant a bit easier knowing more of what to expect than always being surprised.

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Culture

Being a Community Means Everyone In It

Kevin Wells

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People with significant autism tend to realize a lot of support from family, school, support programs and community when they are minors. However, the world dramatically changes when adulthood is reached, and the ability to be self-functional with what many take for granted, i.e. having a job and livelihood to support living, can seem almost impossible to achieve. The fact is, many employers don’t want to deal with an autistic employee, which makes it very hard for such folks to find work that can support their independent living, even if entirely trained and proven to be capable of doing the work.

Things Change After 21

Michael Coyne was just such an individual as an autistic minor who now faced adulthood at 21 trying to find his own career path. Originally proven to be highly competitive, even ranking a spot as a Special Olympics Athlete when younger, now his autism was becoming a stumbling block in his success. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Coyne easily classified as a protected disability employee candidate, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. No one would hire him. But he didn’t give up.

Breaking the Paradigm

Instead, Coyne took advantage of business classes and training provided by the Rhode Island’s Developmental Disabilities Council to improve his employable skillset. He then finally found work through a partnership program and a coffee shop that specifically employed workers with disabilities. And that’s where Coyne became part of an experiment proving people with disabilities are just as viable in the employment world as anyone else.

Red, White & Brew and a related craft store, Budding Violet, are part of a venture to provide inclusive work opportunities for those with disabilities. In doing so, both operations show the community what is possible versus assumption. Many have been moved by example and others have been motivated. Many parents who take care of their own children with disabilities get emotional at realizing there is a venture locally that will give their children work at adulthood.

Community Means Integrated With Everyone

As for Michael Coyne, his opinion is that the next step is to combine folks. Don’t just hire workers with disabilities, hire all kinds of workers so that regular people can work, interact and learn to accept those with disabilities even more in everyday life. For a man who could justifiably be bitter about how he has been treated so far prior to Red, White & Brew, that’s a pretty admirable position to take on the high road. In the end, Coyne knows it takes people experiencing the truth to change minds. And that’s why he shows up every day for work. He wants those opportunities to not just exist but to increase for folks like him. It’s about integration and being a complete community, not just a community of people and then those with disabilities on the side.

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Culture

Take a Look at This Touching Hallmark Display Created By Mr. Rogers!

Kevin Wells

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In the era of online trolling, it can be hard to find consistently positive news stories. The world seems rife with strife and there is always some negative headline or another trending around the world. In order to buck the trend of cynicism that seems to have become so popular, we are going to highlight a sugar-sweet story about one of the most beloved figures in entertainment history, Mr. Fred Rogers.

With the recent release of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the world seems to have gone slightly Mr. Rogers crazy. The majority of people reading this right now probably grew up watching Mr. Rogers on television. From how he took off his sweater to the way he laced his shoes before bringing us to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, we were all captivated and enthralled. As it turns out, Mr. Rogers wasn’t just a sweetheart on television, he also stood by his lifestyle when the cameras quit rolling. What do we mean by that? Well, that’s a great question!

According to a recent Washington Post story, Mr. Fred Rogers had been asked to help decorate one of Hallmark’s flagship locations in Manhattan for the Holidays. With Mr. Rogers an absolute sensation among children and families at the time, the collaboration made a ton of sense. After visiting the store, Mr. Rogers saw that the Hallmark shop had been decked out with ornate, elaborate, and luxurious decorations. This was never Mr. Roger’s style, so he decided to do something different. The Mister Roger’s Neighborhood star would decide to flip the fashion trend on its head by introducing his own unique display. What did the humble Mr. Rogers decide on for his decoration? Imagine standing before a small glass case that is completely clear and see-through. Within the tree, you can see a single growing Norfolk Island pine with roots and all bared for the world. At the bottom of the display was a small plaque that read, “I like you just the way you are.” Pretty on-brand for Mr. Rogers, right?

In recent years, Fred Rogers has reached an almost mythological level in the world of pop-culture. With a squeaky clean history and an understanding of children that has never been matched by kid’s television, Fred Rogers was a special and unique individual. Through his program, he taught children about community, being a good neighbor, treating others with kindness, and most importantly, treating yourself with kindness and compassion. Thanks to his gentle nature and depth of compassion, Fred Rogers was an instrumental figure in the lives of millions of boys and girls all around the world. Even 16 years after his passing, Mister Rogers Neighborhood continues to inform, guide, and educate children and adults alike.

To hear more about Mister Roger’s incredible story, fans of the man can see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks.  While not an exhaustive biopic, the Tom Hanks-led vehicle was released to rave reviews and adoration from his fans and family.

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Culture

The World Needs More Social Impact Heroes

Kevin Wells

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A person who is a real success is one who makes a positive difference in someone else’s life. Many people believe that they can’t make a difference, or they just don’t know how to make a difference. But in fact anyone can make a difference, and make the world a better place. That is why it is so important to know the stories of these women who have made such a difference in their communities.

L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth is a program that recognizes women who have made a difference in their communities. Anyone can be nominated, as long as they live in the U.S., are at least 18 years of age, and consent to the nomination. The focus is on women who have volunteered in their own communities, and the volunteer work should be ongoing for at least 6 months before the nomination.

Here are just a few of the women who have been nominated for the program:

Shandra Woworuntu is a 2017 honoree who received a $25,000 grant for her chosen organization, Mentari. A survivor herself, Shandra formed the nonprofit organization to help other survivors of human trafficking at no cost, providing much-needed support to an often overlooked group.

Cassandra Lin was only 19 years old when she started Project Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF). TGIF is still run by students and allows businesses and individuals to recycle their cooking oil and turn it into biodiesel so that it can be used to heat the homes of people in need. Not only does the project recycle materials that would not otherwise be used, it brings awareness to issues of global warming and sustainability.

Valerie Weisler started The Validation Project after she experienced bullying herself. The Validation Project is currently working with 6,000 students in over 100 countries to give them support after they have experienced bullying. Not only that, the project helps its members engage in social justice projects so they can learn the power they have to help.

Deborah Jiang-Stein started the unPrison Project to help women who have been incarcerated so they can be successful after release. Too often, women are set up to fail, and the relationships with their children are destroyed. 2.7 million children under the age of 18 have a parent in prison, so it is important for them to find support before they end up in a vicious cycle.

More recently, Brittany Schiavone was honored for starting Brittany’s Baskets of Hope. She has Down’s Syndrome herself, and her organization helps provide much-needed support and resources for other parents who are welcoming a Down’s child into their families.

Judy Winter started Ricstar’s Camp because she noticed how much music helped her son with cerebral palsy. She helped her son deal with many challenges, and he got to attend music therapy classes before passing away at the tender age of 12. Ricstar’s Camp provides life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities to focus instead on their abilities.

Social activism is empowering women and giving them their own place in the community. Instead of living up to societal expectations, women are now finding their own passions and dealing with issues like homelessness, social injustice, and poverty on their own time. They are an inspiration for others now and for generations to come.

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