Sunday, January 22, 2017

Getting Ready for the MD General Assembly

If you are not already familiar with your legislative representatives, here is a link that will help you identify and contact them regarding classroom screen safety in Maryland classrooms:

As soon as the bill is filed, the bill number and sponsors will be listed here, and made known through Twitter.

The bill will travel to a House committee for a hearing.  The hearing schedule will also be listed here with links to the committee members. It's important to contact your legislators to make sure that they support this effort, and that they also reach out to committee members to vote for it.

It is anticipated that Delegate Arentz's bill will be cross-filed in the Senate, so please be sure to contact your Senator(s) as well as your Delgate(s).

Thanks to all who are following on Twitter and sharing this information through your own Facebook pages. Here are this week's research links:

A new Johns Hopkins study finds digital device use linked to rise in depression among teens, especially girls. Researchers "speculate that greater exposure to known depression risk factors such as problematic cell phone use, including cyberbullying, may play a role."

Screen time has long been associated with the rise in obesity. UCLA reports that over 12.7 million children and adolescents are overweight or obese. "And it’s not just a cosmetic issue: obesity increases the risk of health problems such as asthma, heart disease and type 2 diabetes."

The University of Maryland's Dr. Michael Brody examines some of the psychological impacts of screen time in his book, Seductive Screens:   "Is children’s media entertaining and educational, or a Trojan  horse  bearing  hyper-consumerism, violence, and poor health? "

Primary Care Optometry News (PCON) explains how children are more seriously impacted by the damaging blue light from screens: "An iPad held at 8 inches by a child actually has about four times the intensity than if the device were held at 16 inches by an adult ... this is a critical point to consider regarding the dangers of blue light exposure."

As mentioned last week, the University of Maryland revealed worldwide screen addiction among students six years ago. Read their report, entitled "the world UNPLUGGED," here, and then contact the directer, Susan Moeller, on Twitter @sdmoeller. Let's hope the University of Maryland will weigh in on this critical subject and support MD classroom screen safety.