Are screens really destroying young people’s brains?

A new report says there's not as much evidence of physical harm as you might think.

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  • Leading pediatricians say the assumption that screen time is behind problems is not really supported by research.
  • The danger has more to do with a screen being a gateway for unwanted intrusions into a child's life.
  • While recommendations are difficult based on the limited amount of research that has been done, the report offers a few.
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Don’t raise fools: How to prepare kids for life on social media

Should kids be on social media? If yes, what are some good rules to have?

Should kids be on social media? The kneejerk reaction, for some parents, is to control what they do. But journalist Virginia Heffernan thinks that how children and teenagers use social media is how we all use social media — we're just too proud to admit it. Those of us that use social media inevitably are painting an avatar of personality online, testing what works and what doesn't, and through fine-tuning our own selves in the process. It is absolutely true that you can fall victim to narcissism if you follow the "like" economy to its fullest, but a healthy attitude towards social media can lead to some old-fashioned self-exploration that many older folks may have forgotten about. Because young people know... perhaps more than adults... that you have to try on a lot of metaphorical hats before you find the one that fits. Virginia Heffernan's latest book is Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art.

Be bored: How to tap into your most brilliant thinking

Being bored is great. It's where we come up with our best ideas, and how we become better people by being able to mentally solve our biggest personal problems. So why are we destroying boredom with our phones?

Are cell phones destroying creativity? Podcast host, author, and relentless examiner of the modern human condition Manoush Zomorodi believes that they are. When we are bored, the brain enters what is called "default mode"—think about the way your mind wanders when you're in the shower or doing the dishes. This might not seem like valuable time but our creativity really kicks into high gear. We now use up a lot of that boredom-time by poking at our phones, and in doing so are starving ourselves of a main source of inspiration. This boredom issue goes beyond simple creativity: boredom is also useful for autobiographical planning and being able to solve big problems. Manoush posits that maybe we should put down the phones and start being bored more often. Her latest book is Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self .