Saturday, January 14, 2017

This week's update

Delegate Arentz's classroom screen safety bill has been submitted to Legislative Services; a draft should be available this coming week.
Many thanks to those who have followed the Twitter account (@screensandkids). Thank you for retweeting the research that supports the need for medically sound classroom screen safety regulations to protect Maryland students from harm. Nearly every day, new scientific evidence is uncovered that illustrates the need for clinicians to protect students who are now required to use a digital device for classwork and homework.

University of MD revealed worldwide screen addiction among students 6 years ago
The Philip Merrill College of Journalism's  International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA): "Students around the world repeatedly used the term ‘addiction’ to speak about their dependence on media. “Media is my drug; without it I was lost,” said one student from the UK. “I am an addict. How could I survive 24 hours without it?”" 

JAMA Pediatrics: Latest study on digital devices and sleeplessness
" A systematic review and meta-analysis showed strong and consistent evidence of an association between access to or the use of devices and reduced sleep quantity and quality, as well as increased daytime sleepiness... An integrated approach among teachers, health care professionals, and parents is needed to improve sleep hygiene."

Another good reason for DHMH classroom safety guidelines: 
volume levels on headphones and earbuds
"Despite claims that kids headphones limit volume to 85 decibels (the level the World Health Organization considers “safer”), up to one-third of the kids headphones we tested exceeded that level when measured with pink noise, allowing higher volumes—sometimes much higher. " ... "Bigger kids (4 years and up) have different requirements than little ones." - The Wirecutter (New York Times affiliate)

Mont. Co. Students are asking for help with mental illness issues
"Students Organize Mental Health Week at Maryland High School: Call for more awareness surrounding mental illness"

Support from Montgomery County
A mom from Montgomery County urges parents to get involved in protecting students during the General Assembly session
 "What can we do to protect our kids? 
• Buy blue light filters for all your child’s devices. They are easy to affix and are relatively affordable. Be sure to look for those that block 100% of blue light.
• Encourage kids to look away or walk away every 20 minutes or so. 
• Educate your child about the risks.
• Support legislation that determines medical guidelines for safe use of digital devices in Maryland classrooms. Contact your elected officials to share your concern and support."

More pediatric research on sleep deprivation and digital devices
Remember that online classwork means online homework, sometimes late in the evening, because of after-school activities:

"Access to and night-time use of electronic media has been associated  with  shortened  sleep  duration  and  excess  body  weight  (Chahal  et  al.,  2013).  Children  with  increasingly  more  electronic  media  devices  in  their  bedrooms  reported  shorter  sleep  durations,  and  students  who  used  electronic  devices  on  most  or  all  nights  reported  sleeping  less  and  having  more  sleep  difficulties."

New York Times health columnist warns about addiction: 
Hooked on our Smartphones
"The near-universal access to digital technology, starting at ever younger ages, is transforming modern society in ways that can have negative effects on physical and mental health, neurological development and personal relationships..."

Education Week: Warning Sounded on Tech Interrupting Student Sleep
"A recent meta-analysis by British researchers has brought renewed attention to the issue, calling increased use of mobile devices at bedtime a "major public-health concern" for children and teenagers."

Please share this information on your Facebook pages, and follow this effort on Twitter: @screensandkids.