Why Warning Labels on Social Media Won’t Teach Kids to Make Smarter Choices


Digital literacy, not fear-based restrictions, is needed to help kids build safe and healthy relationships with technology. KEY POINTS Social media is here to stay; let’s prepare kids to handle the digital world, not shield them from it. Kids need guidance, skills, and a chance to practice so they can develop healthy relationships with technology. Hyperfocusing on social media diverts resources needed to address the scarcity of mental health professionals needed to help teens struggling now. Surgeon General Murthy's call for warning labels on social media has ignited heated discussions all over the Internet. In the face of all this [...]

Why Warning Labels on Social Media Won’t Teach Kids to Make Smarter Choices2024-07-01T12:22:22-07:00

How to Protect Your Brain from Election Stress


Eight strategies to build resilience and keep your cool during the elections. KEY POINTS Political conflict keeps stress hormones high with adverse psychological and physical consequences. Social media encourages partisanship and undermines the motivation to discern fact from fiction. Fear of social rejection can increase political group compliance and support for misinformation. Limiting exposure and seeking balanced information sources can reduce stress during election season. Political polarization has worsened to the point where 40 percent of Americans describe politics as a chronic stressor, blaming it for increased depression and anxiety, loss of sleep, greater impulsivity, such as posting social media comments they later regret, and damage to [...]

How to Protect Your Brain from Election Stress2024-06-05T07:09:58-07:00

How to Protect Your Child’s Digital Reputation


Our online behaviors shape how others see us and impact future opportunities. KEY POINTS A digital reputation reflects all your online activity, not just the good stuff. Young people can be especially vulnerable to digital missteps. Hitting the “pause” button before the “send” button can short-circuit online behaviors fueled by emotions. A big part of our world is online and will continue to be so, whether it’s social connection, entertainment, inspiration, professional pursuits, or problem-solving. The first impression we make on others (and vice versa) is often online. We live in a search engine culture with information about people, things, and events [...]

How to Protect Your Child’s Digital Reputation2024-05-14T11:30:52-07:00

How Granfluencers are Breaking Stereotypes on TikTok


Senior TikTok stars are captivating viewers by being funny, smart, and real. KEY POINTS Although it still skews young, there has been a 57% rise in Boomers on TikTok since 2021. Granfluencers' warmth, authenticity, and refusal to "act their age" attracts followers from all generations. Virtual eye contact on TikTok fosters trust, comfort, and emotional ties. Granfluencers break stereotypes, modeling healthy aging, body positivity, and vitality. Now that I’m "Gamma," I am gaining a new perspective on aging. Between professional pressures, social norms, stereotypes, and those sticky, internalized beliefs, it isn’t easy being totally comfortable with aging. But, just as [...]

How Granfluencers are Breaking Stereotypes on TikTok2024-03-28T10:28:09-07:00

AI Doesn’t Change Why Kids Should Learn to Code


Coding prepares kids to be better problem-solvers in the real world. KEY POINTS Coding nurtures problem-solving and creativity in kids. Young coders gain early math and literacy foundations through non-tech play. Middle-childhood coding bolsters logical thinking, spatial reasoning, and team skills. Is coding a necessary competency that kids need to learn? Or does the large specter of AI on the horizon and some grim prognostications have you questioning if signing your kid up for summer coding camp is even relevant? The doomsayers argue that since AI can code better than a human, human coders won’t be needed. That’s a baby-and-bath-water [...]

AI Doesn’t Change Why Kids Should Learn to Code2024-03-22T10:32:13-07:00

Beyond Bans: How Can Teachers Tackle Social Media at School?


Turning digital challenges into educational opportunities through empowerment. KEY POINTS Restricting devices in schools doesn't solve the broader issue of teaching kids to use technology responsibly. Engaging students in conversations about social media encourages critical thinking and safe online behaviors. Collaboratively developed rules and consequences about device use can improve student compliance. Educators are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to technology in the classroom—especially smartphones and social media. They are under pressure to use educational technology to make assignments and materials readily available, communicate with parents, distribute information, create engaging content for students, provide support, and [...]

Beyond Bans: How Can Teachers Tackle Social Media at School?2024-02-29T06:08:36-08:00

The Super Bowl Ad Game: What Makes a Brand Fumble?


Emotions and mental models drive viewer engagement and brand recall. KEY POINTS Audience heuristics, mental models, and expectations determine a commercial's success. Celebrity collaborations can boost brand trust, but they risk the vampire effect without attention to balance. Popularity isn't the same as message effectiveness or behavioral intention. Visual content that conflicts with the brand message undermines the intended impact. Nielson reported that Super Bowl LVIII had 120.3 million viewers, putting it second on the list of most-viewed American television events behind the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. Emotions ran high with the excitement over a halftime show by Usher [...]

The Super Bowl Ad Game: What Makes a Brand Fumble?2024-02-21T06:34:11-08:00

How Holiday Sharenting Can Put Your Kids at Risk


Online personas crafted by parents can hinder a child's identity development. KEY POINTS Sharenting, even with the best intentions, can violate a child's privacy and disclose personal information. Social media providers have the right to use all content you post to target ads and train algorithms. Sharenting creates a public image that may conflict with a teen's self-image and hinder identity development. The holiday season is in full swing. Parties and family gatherings mean lots of Instagram photo ops. It's easy to get swept up in the fun, but here's a reminder: put down the eggnog and take a breath [...]

How Holiday Sharenting Can Put Your Kids at Risk2023-12-21T10:40:51-08:00

Why Holiday Movies Can Combat Loneliness and Stress


Holiday movies boost our positive emotions and sense of social connection. KEY POINTS Holiday films can elevate spirits and provide an escape from stress. Nostalgia from rewatching favorites kindles warmth and feelings of social support. Family watch parties strengthen bonds, link generations, and create traditions. Holiday movies are here, reminding us that it’s time for the Christmas holidays. Americans rank watching holiday movies as one of their favorite traditions, above tree decorating and cookie baking. I like to check out the lists of "most popular" Christmas movies each year as an ersatz "needs" barometer. Much less scientific than the Belonging [...]

Why Holiday Movies Can Combat Loneliness and Stress2023-12-06T09:13:52-08:00

Leveling Up: Developmental Psych for Setting Video Game Controls


Here's how to set developmentally appropriate video game controls for tweens and teens that support the dynamic nature of a child's growth. KEY POINTS Effective digital parenting adapts to children's maturing needs over time. Tweens benefit from structures that balance gameplay with diverse developmental activities. Young teens need a combination of independence and supportive parental guidance. Teach older teens to self-regulate through discussions and collaborative boundary-setting If you have considered setting parental controls for your kids' video games and gaming systems, the dizzying complexity of today's gaming platforms can be overwhelming, making you hesitant to allow much video gameplay. Yet, [...]

Leveling Up: Developmental Psych for Setting Video Game Controls2023-11-13T15:04:12-08:00
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