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Your Kids and the Internet

The average age of a U.S. child has a smart phone by age 11.5!

Did you know the average U.S. teen types over 150 texts each day? Texting consumes at least one hour of time normally used for sleep by that same teen! Are you looking for some practical tips on tech savvy parenting? Brian Housman shares realistically how parents can prevent the dangers 'out there' from waltzing in through the front door of their home! Listen to three podcasts or purchase his book.

PositiveTip: Make your home a safe, tech-savvy place for your kids.

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How to Avoid Bad Health Advice Online

The worst weight-loss websites often appear on the first search page.

Health news researchers rated the weight loss advice on 103 websites according to evidence-based criteria. Health blogs, government, medical and academic websites had the highest quality information while 80% of websites were below average. Unfortunately, 90% of all clicks usually originate on the first page of search results, which is where websites with poor information and unrealistic weight loss claims were most likely to appear.

PositiveTip: Read internet health advice critically, check the sources and skim (or skip) the first page of search results.

Beware of Internet Gambling in Your Home

With the availability of online games of chance, gambling is on the rise in the U.S. Gambling on the Internet is largely an unregulated industry. According to the U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission, established by Congress in 1997, more than 1,300 online casinos rake in more than US $650 million dollars a year. The gambling industry currently estimates the total at about US $2 billion.

Computer gambling e-businesses typically operate on servers outside the US, allowing them to fold and run practically overnight in case of suspected fraud. Hackers have been known to steal funds by accessing credit card numbers and manipulate game outcomes.

Beware of Excessive Computer Use by Your Chrildren

Over the past year I have been conducting statistical analysis on many different items that are related to the health of youth. One area of interest to me has been whether excessive internet use might be associated with the mental health of young people.

I obtained a database from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey of Idaho, 2009. In that questionnaire there were several different items that interested me such as how much high school students use the internet for three hours or more on school days for activities other than school use. We found that when students use the internet in such excessive amounts they are 1.5 times more likely to feel sad or hopeless, 1.6 times more likely to consider suicide, 1.8 times more likely to attempt suicide, twice as likely to purposefully hurt themselves by cutting or otherwise injuring themselves, and half as likely to talk to a parent or teacher when they are feeling low or having problem.

Social Media Among Kids and Families

This post is the first in a series on social media. The content comes directly from a land-mark article in the journal Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Engaging in various forms of social media is a routine activity that research has shown to benefit children and adolescents by enhancing communication, social connection, and even technical skills. Social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace offer multiple daily opportunities for connecting with friends, classmates, and people with shared interests. During the last 5 years, the number of preadolescents and adolescents using such sites has increased dramatically.

Internet Addiction Leads to Depression in Adolescents

Young despondent girl addicted to the computer.Teens typically use the internet for education and for amusement. While many teens are normal internet users, for others the internet captures the focus of their mind in an abnormal way. They may not know it, but obsessive internet use can become an addiction. 

Internet addiction can be measured using Young's Internet Addiction Scale.

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Parents: Know What Your Kids are Doing All the Time

One-third of all arrests for internet sex crimes against minors involved social networking sites.

Social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook and MySpace are thought by some to be the only place where sexual victimization of youth occurs. However, researchers have identified that only one third of arrests for these crimes occurred on SNSs. Most offenders used chat rooms, instant messaging, and videoconferencing in addition to SNSs.

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Is the Internet Harming Your Marriage?

Does your Internet time interfere with your marriage?

Have you considered how much you use the Internet? Could your Internet time potentially lead to marital issues?

A review of scientific literature suggests that the potential for marital discord increases due to the presence of the Internet in the home. To keep home happier, try analyzing how much time you spend on the web which you once would have spent interacting with your family.

PositiveTip: Don’t let time on the Internet jeopardize your family relationships!

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Problems with Excess Internet Use

Tracking your Internet time might surprise you!

Research shows that psychological and social problems such as depression and loneliness are directly associated with "problematic Internet use".

Excessive use of the Internet can cause deficient self-regulation. Try keeping a log of your daily use of the Internet at home and review the amount of time you spend browsing each week. What you learn may surprise you!

PositiveTip: Regulate the amount of time spent on the Internet to help avoid depression and loneliness.