“What makes less sense to me is why our society has done so little to protect children from the apparent damages of ubiquitous digital media. They are almost certainly larger for most children than the threat from Covid.”
Also, there was an excellent 60 Minutes piece on Sunday on the increased mental health issues youth are experiencing – via this link –
Good morning. We look at the mental health crisis facing adolescents — and the role of digital technology.
The local Boys and Girls Club in Glasgow, Ky.Annie Flanagan for The New York Times
On the phone, alone
Many measures of adolescent mental health began to deteriorate sometime around 2009. It is true of the number of U.S. high-school students who say they feel persistently sad or hopeless. It’s also true of reported loneliness. And it is true of emergency room visits for self-harm among Americans ages 10 to 19.
This timing is suspicious because internet use among adolescents was also starting to soar during the same period. Apple began selling the iPhone in 2007. Facebook opened itself for general use in late 2006, and one-third of Americans were using it by 2009.
Last month, The Times began publishing a series on adolescent mental health, and the latest piece — focusing on pediatricians who are struggling to help — has just published.
The author of the series is Matt Richtel, who has spent more than a year interviewing adolescents, their relatives and their friends. In my recent conversations with Matt about his reporting, he has gone out of his way to emphasize the uncertainty about the specific causes of the crisis, including how much of a role social media plays.
“When you look at specific research on the role of social media impacting young people, it’s quite conflicted,” he said. Some studies find that adolescents who use social media heavily are more likely to feel sad or depressed, while others find little or no effect. There is no proof that, say, TikTok or social media’s “like” button is causing the mental-health crisis.
But Matt also thinks that some of these narrow questions of cause and effect are secondary. What seems undeniable, he points out, is that surging use of digital technology has changed life’s daily rhythms.
It has led adolescents to spend less time on in-person activities, like dating, hanging out with friends and attending church. Technology use has also contributed to declines in exercise and sleep. The share of high-school students who slept at least eight hours a night fell 30 percent from 2007 to 2019, Derek Thompson of The Atlantic has noted.
Technology use is not the sole cause of these trends. Modern parenting strategies, among other factors, play a role as well. But digital technology — be it social media, video games, text messaging or other online activity — plays a strong role, many experts say.
“If you’re not getting some outdoor relief time and enough sleep — and you can almost stop at not enough sleep — any human being is challenged,” Matt said. “When you get the pubescent brain involved in that equation, you are talking about somebody being really, really challenged to feel contented and peaceful and happy with the world around them.”
The role of any specific social-media platform or behavior may remain unknown, but the larger story about American adolescents and their emotional struggles is less mysterious.
“They have too much screen time, they’re not sleeping, on phones all the time,” Dr. Melissa Dennison, a pediatrician in central Kentucky who sees many unhappy adolescents, told Matt. Dennison regularly encourages her patients to take walks outdoors or attend church.
It’s true that the decline of in-person interactions has had a few silver linings. Today’s adolescents are less likely to use tobacco, drink alcohol or get pregnant. But the net effect of less socializing is negative. Most human beings struggle when they are not spending time in the company of others.
A 12-year-old patient of Dr. Dennison in Kentucky.Annie Flanagan for The New York Times
I find Covid to be a particularly relevant comparison. Over the past two-plus years, millions of American parents have demonstrated intense concern for their children by trying to protect them from Covid. Fortunately, Covid happens to be mild for the vast majority of children, causing neither severe illness nor long-term symptoms. One sign of that: Young children, not yet eligible for vaccination, are at considerably less risk on average than vaccinated people over 65.
Still, I understand why so many parents remain anxious. Covid is new and scary. It taps into parents’ fierce protective instincts.
What makes less sense to me is why our society has done so little to protect children from the apparent damages of ubiquitous digital media. They are almost certainly larger for most children than the threat from Covid.
Posted onNovember 21, 2021|Comments Off on Eagle Scouts Karl Ericson, Antonio King & Jan Passas
Troop 89 held an Eagle Scout Court of Honor yesterday for Karl Ericson, Tito King, and Jani Passas (left to right) at the UCC. Lots of accomplishments of the scouts and their families were celebrated. Great event.
Comments Off on Eagle Scouts Karl Ericson, Antonio King & Jan Passas
Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) is currently seeking 10-12 high school-aged volunteers to participate in one-on-one interviews with the substance use prevention coordinator or another Medfield Outreach staff about substance use in Medfield. Students will not be asked about their own personal substance use or behaviors, but only to reflect upon what they see in their community. All information gathered during these interviews will be anonymized (no one will know who said what). Furthermore, the information collected will serve to help our MCAP coalition design impactful prevention strategies. These interviews will take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour and are available both in person or via Zoom. All interviews will take place during the first three weeks of November.
If interested, please fill out this google form. If the student is under 18 years old at the time of the interview, parent/guardian consent is required. Consent forms will be emailed after they fill out the google form.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email!
The Medfield Foundation Angel Run will be held on Sunday, December 5. It’s a 5K / Run / Walk community “fun raiser” and family event. The route is filled with decorations and festive highlights. Bring your friends, the kids, the dog, the stroller and Grandma too. Wear your festive holiday gear and and help raise funds for Medfield families in need.
Early Bird Registration is $25 and includes a commemorative shirt, but ends soon on November 1.
Standard Registration is $30 and runs until November 19, but does NOT include a shirt.
PETERSON | Law Osler “Pete” Peterson 617-969-1500 May 2021
Parents Key to Safe Teen Drivers
Every parent knows that feeling of dread when handing over car keys to a teenager. Rightfully so, as the number one threat to a teen’s safety is driving or riding in a car with a teen driver. The good news: Research shows teens actually listen to their parents more than peers when it comes to driving. Thus, parents can play a significant role in protecting teen drivers from serious injury or death. Leading by example, driving with your teen, understanding the eight danger zones, and creating a parent-teen driving agreement – all covered in this month’s newsletter – are a great place to start. Continue reading.
Protect Teen Drivers This Summer with Our Safety Tips
School’s out for summer School’s out forever School’s out with fever School’s out completely
Summer mania – as immortalized in this iconic 70‘s teen anthem by rocker Alice Cooper – is almost here. Along with it will come a flood of teen drivers anxious to hang out with friends, start summer jobs and make up for all those good times lost to COVID-19 restrictions. Many challenges here for parents, but especially motor vehicle crashes – the leading cause of accidental death for teens. READ MORE
BY THE NUMBERS 6-a-Day
Six teens 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle crash injuries and are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than older drivers. READ MORE
VIDEO BOOKMARK Best Vehicles for Teens
Best choices, good choices ranging from $5,000 to nearly $20,000 from IIHS and Consumer Reports. VIEW VIDEO
TEENS DRIVING DISTRACTED Young adult and teen drivers are most at risk for distracted driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control. READ MORE
Join us for the 15th year of The MFi Angel Run, we’re going Virtual this year! Run anytime, anywhere between the dates of Thursday, November 26th (Thanksgiving Day) through Sunday, December 6th, 2020 to support the MFi Angel Run and maintain a safe physical distance.
Your registration donation to the MFi Angel Run directly supports residents in need right here in Medfield and this year that need is greater than ever. The Angel Run helps raise thousands of dollars that is put back into the community to help people who have come upon hard times. Your registration helps make a difference in the lives of so many people. If a virtual 5K is not your thing, please register as a donation to the MFi during this unprecedented time.
Tweet today from Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) –
Medfield Cares About Prevention – MCAP
Itching to get out of the house? Want to hang out with kids your own age? You’re in luck! *Join other youth and the Medfield Outreach department for a relaxing walk in the Rocky Woods Reservation!* To Register Visit https://forms.gle/u7auKc2FbomoLepJA… Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted onJune 26, 2020|Comments Off on Girls Who Care fundraiser for MYO
From Jackie Alford and Kathy McDonald –
GWC Final Fundraiser in support of Medfield Youth Outreach!
The Girls Who Care service group (GWC) is a group of Medfield High School 2020 graduates who have been together since Kindergarten. They have completed approximately 50 service projects over the years and are excited to announce their final project! They have partnered with a fundraising company to offer a variety of items featuring a beautiful and unique logo designed by Medfield alumnus Rachel Tatro. To them, the logo represents the spirit of the MHS Class of 2020 along with the love and support they as a class have felt from the Medfield community during the unusual end to their time at MHS. They are selling these items to raise money for Medfield Youth Outreach, an organization that helps Medfield families in need access assistance and resources. Click on the link below to see almost 90 items that you can purchase with the logo on them. Great for graduation gifts, off-to-college gifts, or keepsakes! GWC will receive 35% of the proceeds for almost all of the items, and all money raised will be donated to Medfield Youth Outreach. All orders must be placed by July 3rd and will be delivered in time for MHS graduation on July 25th. Thank you for helping them give back to the Medfield community one last time before college! Click here to view the items and place your order.
I started this blog to share the interesting and useful information that I saw while doing my job as a Medfield select board member. I thought that my fellow Medfield residents would also find that information interesting and useful as well. This blog is my effort to assist in creating a system to push the information out from the Town House to residents. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how it can be done better.
For information on my other job as an attorney (personal injury, civil litigation, estate planning and administration, and real estate), please feel free to contact me at 617-969-1500 or Osler.Peterson@OslerPeterson.com.