Phone Addiction In Kids

Is Your Child a Phone ‘Addict’?

CreditiStock

By Ana Homayoun70

On the heels of two large Apple investors urging the company to address kids’ phone addiction, many parents may be wondering: How do I know if my child is addicted to his or her smartphone? And how can I prevent problematic overuse?

There are reasons for concern. A 2016 survey from Common Sense Mediafound that half of teenagers felt addicted to their devices, and 78 percent checked their devices at least hourly. Seventy-two percent of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging. A 2015 Pew Research report found that 73 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds had their own smartphones or had access to one, and 24 percent said they were online “almost constantly.”

I have spent the past 15 years helping teens with organization and time management. Many parents of kids I work with are conflicted about their teens’ smartphone use. They appreciate the convenience of having access to their children and the potential safety benefits. And, in an age of social media socialization, teenagers use messaging apps to stay in touch with friends and make social plans, some of which can be positive.

When a high school student I work with broke his neck playing football this past fall, his smartphone became a crucial link not just to friends, but also to others dealing with similar injuries. After watching videos of others documenting their recovery on YouTube, he connected with some via Facebook Messenger and began conversations he found “incredibly helpful.”

Instead of becoming overly fixated on teens’ smartphone use in general, it is important to think about “what are the applications on the smartphone and how is your particular child using the applications on that smartphone,” said Katie Davis, assistant professor at the University of Washington and co-director of the UW Digital Youth Lab, whose research explores the role of new media technologies in young people’s personal, social and academic lives. Parents trying to monitor use can have difficulty distinguishing abusive behavior from appropriate use, especially since teens use their devices for both schoolwork and free time, often simultaneously.

For some teens, the constant potential feedback loop from notifications and messaging might create a fear of missing out, or FOMO. And although there is currently no official medical recognition of “smartphone addiction” as a disease or disorder, the term refers to obsessive behaviors that disturb the course of daily activities in a way that mirrors patterns similar to substance abuse.

Here are some questions to ask: Does your teenager’s mood suddenly change and become intensely anxious, irritable, angry or even violent when the phone is taken away or unavailable for use? Does your teen skip or not participate in social events because of time spent on the phone? Another red flag is spending so much time on a smartphone that it affects personal hygiene and normal daily activities (most notably, sleep). Lying, hiding and breaking family rules to spend more time on a smartphone can be cause for alarm, said Hilarie Cash, a psychotherapist and the chief clinical officer at reSTART, an internet addiction rehabilitation program outside of Seattle.

In my work with students, I’ve found that even teenagers who want to curb their phone use may find it difficult to self-regulate without parental guidance. Creating daily and weekly offline time as part of the family routine is helpful, and finding a way to have a once- or twice-yearly extended period of time off — at a summer camp or outdoor expedition without Wi-Fi, or on a family trip — may provide the reset teens need to break negative habits.

South Korean researchers developed and tested a 10-item questionnaire to determine adolescent smartphone addiction. The brief questionnaire, published in the journal PLOS One in December 2013, asks users to answer statements like whether they have missed work because of smartphone use, have had a hard time concentrating in class because they were thinking about their phones and whether they became impatient when not using a smartphone.

Just as kids learn to ride bikes with training wheels or get junior licenses when they learn to drive, kids shouldn’t be expected to manage their first smartphones all by themselves. Fortunately, there are ways to manage use and help kids develop better tendencies, and much of it requires a delicate balance of parental modeling and involvement.

Make a Plan

Taking the time to discuss appropriate use, establish guidelines and come up with a family agreement before kids get a phone is ideal, because it can be harder to put rules in place afterward. Family agreements can include rules about when and how the phone may be used, and potential consequences for broken rules. Agreements are more likely to be successful if they are followed consistently and revisited frequently as kids grow older and new apps become available.

Monitor Use

For parents of teens who have smartphones, making the effort to understand how, where and why kids are spending time on their phone is critical.

It can be helpful to think about imbalances over a span of time rather than on a single evening or weekend. After all, binge-watching a television series on a smartphone while feeling sick or heartbroken isn’t the same as lying about phone use over an extended period of time. An app like Moment can help track usage and display the time spent in each app.

Take a Time Out

Apple’s Family Sharing and Google Play have settings to help parents monitor use, and most phone carriers have their own parental control options. Devices like Circle and apps like OurPact give parents the ability to automate access, disable access to certain apps after a certain hour and build in structured time off to promote rest. The psychologist Larry Rosen, who has researched technology and the brain and is a co-author of “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World,” said one of the most important steps is to remove the phone from the bedroom at night.

Be a Role Model

Of course, parents trying to set healthy guidelines for smartphone use may themselves be struggling with similar issues: The 2015 Pew survey found that 46 percent of American adults believed they could not live without their smartphones. Teens aren’t the only ones we need to worry about when it comes to smartphone addiction — adults should consider their habits as well.

Exercising in College

Exercise Plans for College Students

BY  KRISTA SHEEHAN 

Exercise Plans for College Students

As a college student, your schedule probably includes classes, homework, studying, exams, extracurricular activities, social obligations and perhaps even a part-time job. With such a hectic lifestyle, it’s sometimes difficult to find time for a workout. But finding time to exercise can improve your focus and concentration, keep you healthy and prevent the pounds from packing on.

Types of Exercise

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Moderate intensity exercises include brisk walking, while vigorous intensity exercises include jogging, cycling or playing sports. Along with aerobic exercise, squeeze in at least two strength-training sessions per week. Your strengthening sessions should include exercises for all major muscle groups including the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest and arms. Aerobic exercises protect your heart, while strength training keeps your muscles and bones strong. Be sure to stretch gently before and after every workout to avoid injury and improve flexibility.

Options

Most colleges have a fitness center, indoor track and swimming pool available directly on campus. Membership is generally free or discounted for students and the schedule often has extended hours to accommodate students’ hectic schedules. Also, review your school’s class schedule to see the types of group fitness classes offered. As with any other academic class, these fitness classes meet at specific times and you will likely be graded on participation. If you prefer a less formal workout, join an intramural sports team. Whether you choose basketball, softball, disc golf or swimming, you’ll benefit from the exercise and friendly competition. Along with regular exercise sessions, try to incorporate more activity into your daily college life. Walk or bike to classes and around campus. During a hardcore study session, take a break every 30 minutes to walk a few laps around the library or climb a set of stairs in your building.

Dorm Room Workouts

If your schedule just won’t allow you to join a team sport or visit the gym, look no further than your dorm room. Although it currently serves as your bedroom, kitchen, living room and office, that tiny space can also function as your personal gym. Clear a spot on the floor for jogging in place, jumping jacks, kickboxing and skipping rope, even if your ceilings aren’t high enough to use an actual rope. On strength-training days, perform chair dips, pushups, crunches, squats and lunges. If you don’t like the idea of developing your own workout routine, simply turn on an exercise video and follow along.

Staying Motivated

With social obligations, television, school work and your cozy bed all vying for your attention, it’s easy to lose your motivation for exercising. To help you stay on track, gather a group of friends to help you stay accountable. Make a pact to work out for 30 minutes every day. If possible, work out together to increase motivation. You could also involve all the residents in your hallway or building. Post signs in the lobby announcing that your group will meet every day at a certain time for a 30-minute jog around campus.

Tips for College Students During Summer Break

3 Ways College Students Can Make the Most of Summer Break

You have time off, now use it well.

After a long school year full of studying, tests, and other school work, it’s tempting to want to take the summer off. Unfortunately, that would be a huge mistake. For a college student, summer break is a huge opportunity that can make life after college easier.It’s OK to take some days at the beach or even to take a few weeks off. Unless you go into teaching, you won’t be getting summers off after you graduate, so take a little time for fun.In addition to doing that, however, you also should use the time to invest in your future. Lay the groundwork needed to meet people and gain experiences that will ultimately get you a job.

A couple relaxes on the beach.

IT’S FINE TO TAKE SOME TIME TO RELAX, BUT YOU ALSO NEED TO BE PRODUCTIVE. IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Get job experience

Maurie Backman: I never took a summer off during college, nor did I ever take an easy job that allowed me to work a light schedule and spend the rest of my time on the beach. Rather, I pushed myself to spend my summers earning money and getting solid office experience that would put me in a better position to get hired after college.

One summer, I worked as a customer service rep. It was horrible, but my coworkers were great and the money was better than what my friends were making waiting tables. Another summer, I held down an 80-hour-a-week schedule that not only paid for my entire senior year of college but taught me some valuable skills that would eventually lead to full-time employment once I graduated.

Tempting as it may be to kick back and relax during the summer, if you have an extended break ahead of you, there’s a real opportunity to set yourself up financially and career-wise. It doesn’t really matter what sort of job you do as long as you gain some nice experience to put on your resume. You’ll be more than grateful for it down the line — especially when your friends who didn’t work are struggling through their post-college job searches and you’re getting offers left and right.

Explore careers

Selena Maranjian: Sure, when the year’s last semester ends, you can just get a summer job. But consider spending the summer focused on exploring possible careers. You can certainly combine those two missions if you can nab a summer job in a field where you think you’d want to work after school. But if not, and if you can do without the income, consider volunteering in your field of interest. Or tack on a volunteer gig on top of a regular money-earning summer job.

If you’re interested in medicine, for example, you might volunteer at a hospital, where you canlearn about various professions in the field and how things work. If you’re interested in law, maybe you can offer your services, pro bono, to a local law firm, in order to gain some insights and experience. Want a career in business? You might snag an internship at a local company or if need, offer to volunteer there, perhaps, for example, doing research for the marketing department.

For best results, start thinking about how you’ll spend your summer early. In the spring, makethe most of your college‘s career planning or job placement office. Work your school’s alumni network, seeking out alums who are in your field of interest or who live near you. Talk to lots ofpeople — even your friends’ parents and your parents’ friends, gathering information about all their various careers. You might stumble upon a career that you never thought of that sounds particularly appealing. You might even end up with a mentor — or at least some connections that could be handy later.

Do research and reading into various possible careers in the summer, too, when you’re not bogged down with your regular academic studies. It’s easy to forget when you’re in college that you’re not just taking courses and socializing, you’re there in large part to prepare for your working life.

Build your network

Daniel B. Kline: In many fields, it’s not about your grade point average or even what you learned. Instead, you need connections to get started and it’s never too early to start making those.

You can and should spend some of your summer building a network. That sounds difficult, but it can be easy if you take a measured approach.

First, identify companies you would like to work at. Once you have done that reach out to people who work there explaining that you are a college student looking to enter the field. It’s OK to contact human resources or to email specific people if you can find that information.

Work every angle you can. Use social media to let people know what your chosen profession is and ask if anyone can make any introductions. Look for industry events and conferences. Many offer reduced rates for college students.

Basically, get yourself out there. If you meet people and keep in touch, those contacts may be the key to getting hired when you enter the job market.

Ivanka Trump Closes Her Fashion Brand

BBC News

Ivanka Trump closes down her fashion brand 

Ivanka TrumpImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionIvanka Trump’s perfume has been highest ranked on Amazon.com

President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has decided to close down her fashion brand.

The move comes over a year after she split from the company to enter the White House as a senior adviser.

Ms Trump launched the brand in 2014, but after her father’s election was faced with boycotts from shoppers.

Ms Trump had reportedly become frustrated by the difficulties posed by avoiding possible conflicts of interest while serving in the White House.

A spokesperson for the company said the decision “has nothing to do with the performance of the brand and is based solely on Ivanka’s decision to remain in Washington indefinitely.”

After 17 months in her White House role Ms Trump said she did not know “when or if I will ever return to the business”.

“But I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement.

“I am beyond grateful for the work of our incredible team who has inspired so many women; each other and myself included. While we will not continue our mission together, I know that each of them will thrive in their next chapter,” she added.

According to NBC News, Ms Trump met personally with her 18-person staff at Trump Tower in New York City after the company’s closure was announced to employees.

Poor sales?

clothing rackImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe firm started off as a jewellery brand before moving into clothing

The brand had already been dropped by several retailers such as the Nordstrom chain and – just last week – Canada’s largest department store chain Hudson’s Bay.

Both companies blamed poor sales for their decision.

Ms Trump’s company is private and does not release sales figures.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited research from Rakuten Intelligence, online sales at Amazon, Macy’s and Bloomingdales fell almost 45% in the year to June.

An investigation by the Washington Post last year found that virtually all of Ms Trump’s clothing was manufactured in developing countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China.

A spokesperson for the firm told the Wall Street Journal that the fall was due to a tough comparison against last year when sales soared after Donald Trump became president.

The reported sales surge last year came after after Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to President Trump, was accused of breaking ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump products during a live TV interview from the White House.

Ivanka Trump store in Trump TowerImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe firm said restrictions on how the firm could operate had limited its ability to grow

Ms Trump’s fashion career started with the launch of her jewellery brand in 2007. She developed seven categories ranging from footwear and handbags to eyewear and fragrance over the next six years.

Ms Trump herself imposed restrictions on how the company could operate when she moved to work for her father, including not expanding internationally and requiring the firm to obtain her approval before striking agreements with new domestic partners.

The company said these restrictions limited the company’s ability to grow and meant winding down the business was the fairest option for the brand’s partners and its employees.

The firm also said that Ms Trump would not agree to selling the brand since a third party was unlikely to adhere to the restrictions she had put in place.

Current licensing agreements with partners will continue until the end of their period, meaning the company’s products would continue for now to be sold at US stores such as Bloomingdales, Zappos and Amazon, the firm said.

ER Care Options Dwindle In Bay

THE CALIFORNIA REPORT

Video: Emergency Care Options Dwindle in the East Bay

In a cramped office in San Pablo, a group of health care providers work as fast as they can to treat a growing line of people seeking treatment. Already, at the break of dawn on this April morning, the line is spilling down the hall and out the front door.

Since LifeLong Medical Care opened in April 2015, the staff has grown used to long lines. The facility opened the same week that neighboring Doctors Medical Center (DMC), one of West Contra Costa County’s most relied-upon hospitals, closed its doors after years of financial strife.

Located directly across the street from the now-shuttered DMC, LifeLong is one of the few urgent care facilities left to serve more than 400,000 residents in Richmond and surrounding cities.

Unlike DMC, LifeLong provides only urgent care, is not a full-service hospital and does not have an emergency department. When patients come in with life-threatening emergencies, LifeLong’s staff does their best to connect them to services elsewhere. But there aren’t many options nearby.

Alta Bates in Berkeley is 11 miles south and the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez is 16 miles to the east. The only other high-volume emergency option is John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, more than 20 miles away. Add in rush-hour traffic, and travel times from West Contra Costa County increase dramatically.

(Graphic by Hao Guo)

Now that DMC is closed, the only emergency room left in the Richmond/San Pablo area is Kaiser’s Richmond Medical Center, a 50-bed hospital. In a statement, Kaiser reported a 50 percent increase in ER visits since DMC closed in 2015.

“Time is muscle,” said Dr. Desmond Carson, an urgent care physician at LifeLong. The farther that residents have to travel, Carson said, the worse their chances are of surviving.

For East Bay residents, access to emergency care might soon be getting even harder to come by. In 2016, Sutter Health, which owns Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, announced it will close the emergency room and consolidate those services into its Oakland location at an unspecified time in the future. The Oakland facility is located 2.6 miles south of the Berkeley facility.

In a statement, Sutter Health explained that California’s seismic regulations require the Alta Bates campus to cease operating as a hospital by 2030. Aware of the community’s concerns, Sutter also assured that this transition won’t be abrupt either.

Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo closed in 2015. (Bo Kovitz)

According to Dr. Brian Potts, who runs the emergency department at Alta Bates, a planned transition that could take as long as 10 years will allow enough time to build the infrastructure necessary for what he projects to be the biggest emergency room in the East Bay.

And the transition will be worth it, said Potts, explaining that consolidating services under one roof, rather than having two separate emergency rooms miles apart, will improve quality of care.

Many in the community fear the closure of Alta Bates’ emergency department is part of a similar story: hospital leaders more concerned with cost efficiency than providing care, no matter the cost. As a result, East Bay residents are facing life in a hospital desert. Gunshot wounds, delivering babies and heart attacks could become even more life-threatening when the move does happen.

“The harder you make it to get to that care, the more difficult it’s going to be and the more of a need it’s going to be,” said Marty Lynch, LifeLong’s CEO. “There’s no question that folks in Richmond and folks in San Pablo need a good system of emergency care.”

LifeLong Medical Care in San Pablo is one of the few urgent care facilities remaining in West Contra Costa County. (Bo Kovitz)

Kathleen Sullivan, a community leader in Richmond who fought to keep DMC open, found herself rushing her husband to the emergency room when he was shot in the streets last year. Doctors at Kaiser’s Richmond facility, she said, couldn’t operate on him and spent about 30 minutes determining which hospital to send him to. They finally came to the decision to send him to John Muir Medical Center, over 20 miles away in Walnut Creek.

By that time, it was 5 p.m. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic, all the way there.

But Sullivan’s husband was lucky. If the bullet had pierced just a quarter of an inch in either direction, it would have hit a major artery, and he would have died long before they left town. Sullivan calls it a death sentence to be shot or hurt in Richmond. She said residents often don’t even bother to call the ambulance. “What’s the point?”

“Look at other cities that have a hospital that’s sitting in their town. They’ve found the resources to go in and renovate the hospital and keep it there,” said Sullivan. “Hospitals lose the incentive to work through alternatives because it’s not financially lucrative to try to meet halfway for communities who are primarily Medi-Cal.”

DMC, whose medical base was about 80 percent Medi-Cal recipients, closed after years of financial crisis brought on, in part, by this reimbursement model.

Dr. Desmond Carson is a physician at LifeLong Medical Care in San Pablo. (Bo Kovitz) (Bo Kovitz)

Dr. Desmond Carson, who worked at DMC for 15 years, said the hospital closed for a reason.

“If there’s a Nordstrom, there’ll be health care. Health care follows the dollar, simple as that,” he said. It’s not profitable, he added, to serve struggling black and brown communities.

Mariana Moore, a director at the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation, agreed.

“If you look at the reimbursement model from the federal level down to local hospitals that serve primarily Medi-Cal patients, it’s not a sustainable financial model,” said Moore. “These closures happen in communities that are people of color, that are low income, that have less political power, and it’s just the story of our country, as well as the story [Contra Costa County] in this time.”

To LifeLong CEO Lynch and his staff, the memory of the DMC closure lingers every day at the urgent care.

“There’s a long history of feeling that the community did not necessarily get served as it needed to be served,” Lynch said. “There’s a long history of feeling like, ‘Well, why was the county medical center built in Martinez (in 1998), far away from West Contra Costa.’ The community felt that was both a mistake and a conscious disregard for the needs of poor communities.’”

Lynch remembers what DMC meant to this high-need community. Every day, he sees reminders of what the community lost: not just in the number of people crowded into his waiting room, but in the feeling that the community is not being heard.

Additional reporting by Nuria Marquez Martinez.

This story was updated to include the distance between the Alta Bates Berkeley facility and the Oakland facility. 

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