Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research
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Clinical, Neurological, and Behavioral Effects of Screens // Dr. Nicholas Kardaras

By Dr. Nicholas Kardaras 

“Are we still in the game?”

Those 6 words were asked of me almost 10 years ago by a confused and delusional 16 year-old client who was a video-game addict having an episode of Video Game-Induced Psychosis. That exchange was the beginning of an eye-opening, decade-long exploration into the clinical and neurological impacts of screens on kids. What I discovered shocked me:

  • Brain imaging research shows that stimulating glowing screens are as dopaminergic – dopamine-activating – to the brain’s pleasure center as sex.

Current clinical research correlates screen tech with disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis. Most shocking of all, recent brain imaging studies conclusively show that excessive screen exposure can neurologically damage a young person’s developing brain in the same way that drug addiction can.

Screens and Addiction

  • Dr. Peter Whybrow, Director of Neuroscience at UCLA, calls computers “Electronic Cocaine” for the brain.
  • Indiana University School of Medicine Brain Imaging Study finds that video game playing alters the brain in the same way that drug addiction does: In 2011, Dr. Yang Wang and his research associates at the Indiana University School of Medicine did brain-imaging research that indicated video gaming-induced brain changes as young adults in his study showed “less activation in certain frontal brain regions following one week of playing violent video games.” These frontal brain regions, associated with executive functioning, are also the same brain regions that are affected by drug addiction.
  • According to a groundbreaking study conducted by Koepp et al in 1998, video games increase dopamine in the brain as much as sex does (approximately 100 percent increase).
  • Glowing screens are such a powerful drug that the University of Washington has been using a virtual reality video game to help military burn victims with pain management during their treatments. Amazingly, while burn patients are immersed in the game, they experience a pain-reducing, morphine-like analgesic effect and thus don’t require any actual narcotics. A wonderful use of screen technology for pain-management medicine but, unfortunately, we are also unwittingly giving this digital morphine to kids.
  • Commander Dr. Andrew Doan, head of Addiction Research for the U.S. Navy and the Pentagon, calls video games “Digital Pharmakeia” (Greek for “drugs”):“The problem is that video game playing (VGP) is estimated to increase brain dopamine levels equivalent to sex … in young minds that cannot say ‘no’ as VGP literally hijacks their thoughts.” He adds further: “Anytime that there’s arousal, there can be addiction because it feels good. Research shows that when the brain is stimulated, that arousal mechanism also stimulates the pituitary gland through the hypothalamus. So the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) is also stimulated; that’s the adrenaline rush that’s essential with gaming. The kids’ blood pressure goes up, their palms get sweaty, their pupils constrict – they’re all revved up in a state of fight or flight mode. Then there’s also the dopamine response in the dopamine-reward pathway which makes the kid want to chase that adrenaline rush again.”
  • In a 2015 University of Utah School of Medicine brain imaging study published in the journal Addiction Biology, brain changes were measured in video gamers that are correlated with increased distractability, impulsivity (hallmarks of addiction and ADHD), schizophrenia and autism: In what has been called the largest and most comprehensive brain study to date on video gamers, the brain scans of 200 adolescent boys described as video game addicts were examined. The researchers found indisputable evidence that the brains of video game–addicted boys are wired differently and that chronic video game playing was associated with increased hyperconnectivity between several pairs of brain networks that are often seen in addiction. The researchers point out that those with internet gaming disorder are so obsessed with and addicted to their video games that they often give up eating and sleeping in order to play them.
  • A 2012 Brain Imaging Study finds that the brains of video-gamers mirror damage done by drug addiction: A research team led by Dr. Hao Lei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered that the brains of people who had been diagnosed with “Internet Addiction Disorder” (IAD) had myelin (white matter) integrity abnormalities in brain regions involving executive attention, decision making, and emotional generation. Their study compared the brains of 17 IAD subjects and used as a control 16 healthy subjects. According to their findings, Dr. Lei further states: “The results … suggest that IAD may share psychological and neural mechanisms with other types of substance addiction and impulse control disorders.”
  • Several brain imaging studies have shown gray matter shrinkage or loss of tissue volume for internet/gaming addicts (Zhou 2011, Yuan 2011, Weng 2013, and Weng 2012). Brain areas affected included the important frontal lobe, which governs executive functions such as planning and impulse control, critical in addiction and ADHD).
  • Brain imaging research also indicate a loss of integrity to the brain’s white matter in people with Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) (Lin 2012, Yuan 2011, Hong 2013 and Weng 2013). White matter – or myelination – is involved with brain “connectivity”; compromised or “spotty” white matter translates into loss of communication within the brain. These impaired connections may slow down signals or “short-circuit” them and have been associated with various psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, autism, addiction, and even schizophrenia.
  • Professor Gunter Schumann, chair of biological psychiatry at King’s College in London, told the BBC: “For the first time … studies show changes in the neuronal connections between brain areas as well as changes in brain function in people who are frequently using the internet or video games.”
  • Neurologist and Oxford professor Baroness Susan Greenfield believes that video game addiction can cause a form of what she describes as “dementia” in children.

Screens and Psychosis

Other clinical research is pointing towards video games contributing to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis:

  • Researchers Professor Dr. Mark Griffiths and Dr. Angelica Ortiz de Gortari at Nottingham Trent University develop the term “Game Transfer Phenomenon” (GTP) to describe hallucinatory or psychotic-like symptoms that chronic video gamers experience. In three studies with more than 1,600 video-gamers, all had, at some point, experienced GTP. Their symptoms included involuntary sensations, thoughts, actions and/or reflexes in relation to the video game – sometimes hours or even days after they had stopped playing.
  • In 2011, researchers at Tel Aviv University published what they believe were the first documented cases of “internet-related psychosis.” The researchers indicated that tech was generating “true psychotic phenomena” and that “the spiraling use of the internet and its potential in psychopathology are new consequences of our times.”
  • Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at NYU, and his brother, Ian, a psychiatrist at McGill University, are investigating whether the reality-severing aspects of technology can lead to hallucinations, delusions and genuine psychosis.
  • Stanford psychiatrist and author Dr. Elias Aboujaoude is studying whether some digital avatars, popular in games such as Second Life, could clinically qualify as a form of alter ego. Such “alters” have been associated with what was formerly known as “multiple personality disorder,” now known as dissociative identity disorder in the DSM.

Screens, ADHD and Other Clinical Disorders

  • Author and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Vicoria Duncley has developed the term “Electronic Screen Syndrome” (ESS), wherein she hypothesizes that interacting with screens overstimulates the child and shifts the nervous system into fight-or-flight mode, which then leads to dysregulation and disorganization of the various biological and hormonal systems. These disrupted systems can then create – or exacerbate – disorders such as ADHD, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, and anxiety. She attributes the “environmental toxin” of hyper-rousing glowing screens as a possible cause for the 40-fold incraese in pediatric bipolar disorder from 1994 to 2003, and the 800 percent increase in ADHD between 1980 and 2007.
  • In a 2010 Iowa State University study published in the journal Pediatrics, viewing television and playing video games each are associated with increased subsequent attention problems in childhood. Six to twelve-year-olds who spent more than two hours a day playing video games or watching TV had trouble paying attention in school and were 1.6 to 2.1 times more likely to have attention problems.
  • According to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, ADHD researcher and co-author of the Iowa State study: “The reality is that we’re seeing ten times more ADHD then we were seeing twenty years ago … I think that the concern is that the pacing of the program, whether it’s video games or TV, is overstimulating and contributes to attention problems.”
  • In an earlier study from 2004 published in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Christakis found that the more TV a child watches between the ages of one and three, the greater the likelihood that they would develop an attention problem by age seven. In fact, the study showed that for each hour of television viewing, the risk of attention problems increased by 10 percent over that of a child who didn’t stare at a screen.
  • A 2012 Missouri State University study of 216 kids showed that 30 percent of internet users showed signs of depression and that the depressed kids were the most intense web users.
  • A 2014 study in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry that looked at 2,293 seventh-graders found that internet addiction exacerbated depression, hostility, and social anxiety.
  • A 2014 study done in Pakistan with 300 graduate students found that there is positive correlation between internet addiction and depression and anxiety:“This result shows that excessive use of internet makes students addicted to it and consequently causes anxiety and stress among users. The more one is addicted to it the more one is psychologically depressed.”
  • A 2006 Korean study found a correlation with internet addiction, depression, and increased suicidal ideation. The participants were 1,573 high school students living in a city who completed the self-reported measures of the Internet Addiction Scale, the Korean version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Major Depression Disorder-Simple Questionnaire and the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Junior.
  • A 1998 Carnegie Mellon study found that web use over a two-year period was linked to increased depression, loneliness, and the loss of “real world” friends.

The Social Media Effect

  • A 2015 University of Houston study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology confirmed that Facebook usage can lead to depressive symptoms. The mechanism for this increase in depressed mood? A psychological phenomenon known as “social comparison.”
  • A 2014 study called “Facebook’s Emotional Consequences: Why Facebook Causes a Decrease in Mood and Why People Still Use It,” showed that the longer people are actually on Facebook, the more negative their mood is afterward.
  • In a 2010 Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine study found that “hypernetworking” teens – those who spend more than three hours per school day on social networking sites – were linked to higher rates of depression, substance abuse, poor sleep, stress, poor academics and suicide. Hypernetworking teens were found to be 69 percent more likely to have tried sex, 60 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners, 84 percent more likely to have used illegal drugs, and 94 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight.
  • According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study of millennial communication habits, published in the American Psychological Association’s journalPsychology of Popular Media, “Text messaging has increased dramatically over the past 10 years,” and many teenage texters share addict-like symptoms and behaviors. The researchers indicated that such teens have a lot in common with compulsive gamblers including loss of sleep because of the activity, problems cutting back on the activity, and a tendency to lie to cover up the amount of time they are doing it. The study of more than 400 eighth- and 11th-graders found that only 35 percent of teens socialize face-to-face anymore, compared with a whopping 63 percent of teens who now communicate mostly via text message and average 167 texts per day.
  • In a 2014 study published in the journal Social Indicators Research, Dr. Jean M. Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor, analyzed data from nearly seven million teenagers and adults from across the country and found that more people reported symptoms of depression than in the 1980s. According to that study, teens are 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping and twice as likely to see a professional for mental health issues than their 1980s counterparts.

Screens and Phones in the Classroom

  • A 2016 study published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics showed that grades improved when phones were removed from the classroom. The comprehensive study covered 130,000 pupils at 91 schools, and the researchers found that following a ban on phone use, the schools’ test scores improved by 6.4 percent. The impact on underachieving students – mostly poor and special education – was even more significant: their average test scores rose by 14 percent.
  • An exhaustive 2012 meta-analysis, in systematically reviewing 48 studies that examined technology’s impact on learning, found that “technology-based interventions tend to produce just slightly lower levels of improvement when compared with other researched interventions and approaches.” The researchers concluded: “Taken together, the correlational and experimental evidence does not offer a convincing case for the general impact of digital technology on learning outcomes.”
  • Dr. Kentaro Toyama, an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center of Ethics and Transformation Values at MIT, discusses the limitations of tech in the classroom in a commentary called, “Why Technology Will Never Fix Education,” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Unfortunately, there is no technological fix, and that is perhaps the hardest lesson of amplification. More technology only magnifies socioeconomic disparities, and the only way to avoid that is non-technological.”
  • Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent. In 2010, when a reporter suggested that his children must love the just-released iPad, he replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” (New York Times September 10, 2014).
  • In a 1996 interview for Wired magazine, Steve Jobs expressed a very clear anti-tech-in-the-classroom opinion: “I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody on the planet. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.”
  • Education psychologist and author of Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds, Dr. Jane Healy spent years doing research into computer use in schools and had expected to find that computers in the classroom would be beneficial for learning; yet she found exactly the opposite and was dismayed by the lack of research indicating any benefit. She now feels strongly that “time on the computer might interfere with development of everything from the young child’s motor skills to his or her ability to think logically and distinguish between reality and fantasy.”
  • Many tech execs and engineers in Silicon Valley put their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools (The New York Times October 22, 2011).
  • The Los Angeles School District spent $1.3 billion on tablets for every one of their 640, 000 kindergarten through twelfth grade students; the project is now being investigated by the FBI and the SEC for improper bidding, and the district is asking for a refund from Apple and Pearson as the devices were easily hacked by students and the software woefully incomplete.
  • Dr. John Vallance is headmaster of the top school in Australia, Sydney Grammar, and has removed technology from his prestigious school – which has produced three prime ministers. Dr. Vallance said that the $2.4 billion spent by Australia on education technology was a “really scandalous situation” … where Australia was “spending more on education than ever before and the results are gradually getting worse and worse.” He concluded by saying: “I think when people come to write the history of this period in education … this investment in classroom technology is going to be seen as a huge fraud.”
  • In a study published in January 2013 in the International Journal of Educational Research, Professor Anne Mangen of the University of Stavanger in Norway found that students who read text on computers performed worse on comprehension tests than students who read the same text on paper.

Video Games and Aggression

  • Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of Psychology Dr. Craig Anderson, in the most comprehensive meta-study review ever conducted in this area, exhaustively analyzed 130 research studies with over 130,000 participants worldwide, and stated that this “proves conclusively that exposure to violent video games makes more aggressive, less caring kids – regardless of their age, sex or culture.” Published in 2010 in the APA Journal Psychological Bulletin, the study concluded that violent games are not just a correlation but a causal risk factor for increased aggressive thoughts and behavior.
  • At the Congressional Public Health Summit in July of 2000, the heads of the country’s six leading public health groups – the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – all signed a “Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children”: “At this time, well over 1000 studies – including reports from the Surgeon General’s office, the National Institute of Mental Health, and numerous studies conducted by leading figures within our medical and public health organizations – our own members – point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children.” The statement went on to say, “Viewing violence may lead to real life violence.”
  • In the United States, there have been more than ten cases of matricide or patricide that were the result of a parent taking away their child’s video game.Other acts of violence against parents (i.e. kicking, punching, etc.) number in the thousands.
  • Adam Lanza, the school shooter responsible for the Newtown, Conn., massacre was an addicted video-gamer who showed all the symptoms of a gamer psychotically lost in the delusions of his violent video games. Law enforcement authorities have speculated that his shootings were the result of his video game psychosis.

Additional References:

Dong, Guangheng, Elise E Devito, Xiaoxia Du, and Zhuoya Cui. “Impaired Inhibitory Control in ‘Internet Addiction Disorder’: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study.”Psychiatry Research 203, no. 2–3 (September 2012): 153–158. doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2012.02.001.


Dong, Guangheng, Yanbo Hu, and Xiao Lin. “Reward/Punishment Sensitivities Among Internet Addicts: Implications for Their Addictive Behaviors.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 46 (October 2013): 139–145. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.07.007.


Han, Doug Hyun, Nicolas Bolo, Melissa A. Daniels, Lynn Arenella, In Kyoon Lyoo, and Perry F. Renshaw. “Brain Activity and Desire for Internet Video Game Play.”Comprehensive Psychiatry 52, no. 1 (January 2011): 88–95. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.04.004.


Hong, Soon-Beom, Jae-Won Kim, Eun-Jung Choi, Ho-Hyun Kim, Jeong-Eun Suh, Chang-Dai Kim, Paul Klauser, et al. “Reduced Orbitofrontal Cortical Thickness in Male Adolescents with Internet Addiction.” Behavioral and Brain Functions 9, no. 1 (2013): 11. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-9-11.


Hong, Soon-Beom, Andrew Zalesky, Luca Cocchi, Alex Fornito, Eun-Jung Choi, Ho-Hyun Kim, Jeong-Eun Suh, Chang-Dai Kim, Jae-Won Kim, and Soon-Hyung Yi. “Decreased Functional Brain Connectivity in Adolescents with Internet Addiction.” Edited by Xi-Nian Zuo. PLoS ONE 8, no. 2 (February 25, 2013): e57831. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057831.


Hou, Haifeng, Shaowe Jia, Shu Hu, Rong Fan, Wen Sun, Taotao Sun, and Hong Zhang. “Reduced Striatal Dopamine Transporters in People with Internet Addiction Disorder.”Journal of Biomedicine & Biotechnology 2012 (2012): 854524. doi:10.1155/2012/854524.


Kim, Sang Hee, Sang-Hyun Baik, Chang Soo Park, Su Jin Kim, Sung Won Choi, and Sang Eun Kim. “Reduced Striatal Dopamine D2 Receptors in People with Internet Addiction.” Neuroreport 22, no. 8 (June 11, 2011): 407–411. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e328346e16e.


Ko, Chih-Hung, Gin-Chung Liu, Sigmund Hsiao, Ju-Yu Yen, Ming-Jen Yang, Wei-Chen Lin, Cheng-Fang Yen, and Cheng-Sheng Chen. “Brain Activities Associated with Gaming Urge of Online Gaming Addiction.” Journal of Psychiatric Research 43, no. 7 (April 2009): 739–747. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.09.012.


Kühn, S, A Romanowski, C Schilling, R Lorenz, C Mörsen, N Seiferth, T Banaschewski, et al. “The Neural Basis of Video Gaming.” Translational Psychiatry 1 (2011): e53. doi:10.1038/tp.2011.53.


Lin, Fuchun, Yan Zhou, Yasong Du, Lindi Qin, Zhimin Zhao, Jianrong Xu, and Hao Lei. “Abnormal White Matter Integrity in Adolescents with Internet Addiction Disorder: A Tract-Based Spatial Statistics Study.” PloS One 7, no. 1 (2012): e30253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030253.


Rideout, Victoria J., Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F. Roberts. “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18- Year Olds.” Kaiser Family Foundation Study (2010).


Weng, Chuan-Bo, Ruo-Bing Qian, Xian-Ming Fu, Bin Lin, Xiao-Peng Han, Chao-Shi Niu, and Ye-Han Wang. “Gray Matter and White Matter Abnormalities in Online Game Addiction.” European Journal of Radiology 82, no. 8 (August 2013): 1308–1312. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2013.01.031.


Yuan, Kai, Ping Cheng, Tao Dong, Yanzhi Bi, Lihong Xing, Dahua Yu, Limei Zhao, et al. “Cortical Thickness Abnormalities in Late Adolescence with Online Gaming Addiction.” Edited by Bogdan Draganski. PLoS ONE 8, no. 1 (January 9, 2013): e53055. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053055.


Yuan, Kai, Chenwang Jin, Ping Cheng, Xuejuan Yang, Tao Dong, Yanzhi Bi, Lihong Xing, et al. “Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuation Abnormalities in Adolescents with Online Gaming Addiction.” Edited by Krish Sathian. PLoS ONE 8, no. 11 (November 4, 2013): e78708. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078708.


Yuan, Kai, Wei Qin, Guihong Wang, Fang Zeng, Liyan Zhao, Xuejuan Yang, Peng Liu, et al. “Microstructure Abnormalities in Adolescents with Internet Addiction Disorder.” Edited by Shaolin Yang. PLoS ONE 6, no. 6 (June 3, 2011): e20708. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020708.


Zhou, Yan, Fu-Chun Lin, Ya-Song Du, Ling-di Qin, Zhi-Min Zhao, Jian-Rong Xu, and Hao Lei. “Gray Matter Abnormalities in Internet Addiction: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study.”European Journal of Radiology 79, no. 1 (July 2011): 92–95. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.10.025."


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American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations On #ScreenTime and Exposure to Cell Phones // EduResearcher

American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations On #ScreenTime and Exposure to Cell Phones // EduResearcher | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued two new sets of recommendations on media use for children.  At first glance, popular news headlines suggest elimination of the previous “no screens before age two” recommendations (see NPR’s American Academy of Pediatrics Lifts ‘No Screens Under 2’ Rule and KQED’s American Academy of Pediatrics Says Some Screen Time is Okay for Kids Under Two). However, close examination of the new guidelines reveal nuanced suggestions that maintain a primary focus on limiting tech usage. What appear to be obscured in public discussions are the same AAP organization’s recommendations issued just months earlier, specifically encouraging parents to reduce children’s exposures to cell phone radiation.

For ease of access, both sets of recommendations are provided in this post.

“Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
Media in all forms, including TV, computers, and smartphones can affect how children feel, learn, think, and behave. However, parents (you) are still the most important influence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages you to help your children develop healthy media use habits early on. Read on to learn more.”…

“What About Apps and Digital Books?

Most apps advertised as “educational” aren’t proven to be effective and they don’t encourage co-viewing or co-play that help young children learn. Also, most educational apps target rote skills, such as ABCs and shapes. These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children need to learn for success in school (and life) such as impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking, are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends in the real world.

Digital books (“eBooks”) that have lots of sound and visual effects can sometimes distract children, who then “miss the story” and don’t learn as well as they would from a print book.

If you plan to read e-books to your children:

  • Choose e-books that don’t have too many “bells and whistles.”
  • Read e-books with your children (parent-child interaction around books is one of the most important factors to a child’s success at reading and literacy).

Why Limit Media Use?
Overuse of digital media may place your child at risk of:

  • Not enough sleep. Young children with more media exposure or who have a TV,computer, or mobile device in their bedrooms sleep less and fall asleep later at night. Even babies can be overstimulated by screens and miss the sleep they need to grow.
  • Delays in learning and social skills. Children who watch too much TV in infancy and preschool years can show delays in attention, thinking, language, and social skills. One of the reasons for the delays could be because they interact less with parents and family. Parents who keep the TV on or focus on their own digital media miss precious opportunities to interact with their children and help them learn. See Parents of Young Children: Put Down Your Smartphones.
  • Obesity. Heavy media use during preschool years is linked to weight gain and risk of childhood obesity. Food advertising and snacking while watching TV can promote obesity. Also, children who overuse media are less apt to be active with healthy, physical play.
  • Behavior problems. Violent content on TV and screens can contribute to behavior problems in children, either because they are scared and confused by what they see, or they try to mimic on-screen characters.

Other Tips for Parents, Families, and Caregivers

  • Do not feel pressured to introduce technology early. Media interfaces are intuitive and children can learn quickly.
  • Monitor children’s media. For example, know what apps are used or downloaded.Test apps before your child uses them, play together, and ask your child what he or she thinks about the app.
  • Turn off TVs and other devices when not in use. Background media can distract from parent-child interaction and child play, which are both very important in child language and social-emotional development.
  • Keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtimes screen free and unplugged for children and parents. Turn off phones or set to “do not disturb”during these times.
  • Avoid exposure to devices or screens 1 hour before bedtime. Remove devices from bedrooms before bed.
  • Avoid using media as the only way to calm your children. Although media maybe used to soothe children, such as during a medical procedure or airplane flight,using media as a strategy to calm could lead to problems with a child’s own ability with limit setting and managing emotions. Ask your child’s doctor for help if needed.
  • Develop a Family Media Use plan for you and your family.
  • Remember that your opinion counts. TV, video-game, and other media producers, and sponsors pay attention to the views of the public. Let a TV station know if you like a program, or contact video game companies if the content is too violent. For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) website.
  • Encourage your school and community to advocate for better media programs and for healthier habits. For example, organize a “Screen-Free Week” in your town with other parents, teachers, and neighbors.

Additional Information from (American Academy of Pediatrics)

The related recommendations below on cell phone use were issued by the same American Academy of Pediatrics, yet appear to be receiving much less media attention.  American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations to “Reduce Exposure to Cell Phones”: Nation’s largest group of children’s doctors responds to new government study linking cell phone radiation to cancer.

“In response to the U.S. National Toxicology Program study results finding exposure to wireless radiation significantly increased the prevalence of highly malignant heart and brain cancers in rodents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued specific recommendations to reduce wireless cell phone exposure and updated their online resources for parents concerning cell phones and wireless devices.

“They’re not toys. They have radiation that is emitted from them and the more we can keep it off the body and use (the phone) in other ways, it will be safer,” said Jennifer A. Lowry, M.D., FAACT, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee in the AAPs press release on the NTP Study Results.

“The findings of brain tumors (gliomas) and malignant schwann cell tumors of the heart in the NTP study, as well as DNA damage in brain cells, present a major public health concern because these occurred in the same types of cells that have been reported to develop into tumors in epidemiological studies of adult cell phone users,” stated Ronald L. Melnick, PhD, the National Institutes of Health toxicologist who lead the NTP study design and senior advisor to the Environmental Health Trust. “For children the cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue-damaging agents. Based on this new information, regulatory agencies need to make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially limit or avoid use of cell phones by children.”

The AAP has updated their Healthy Children Webpage on Cell Phones entitled Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know. The webpage reiterated children’s unique vulnerability to cell phone radiation stating, “Another problem is that the cell phone radiation test used by the FCC is based on the devices’ possible effect on large adults—not children. Children’s skulls are thinner and can absorb more radiation.”

The AAP issued the following cell phone safety tips specifically to reduce exposure to wireless radiation:

  • “Use text messaging when possible, and use cell phones in speaker mode or with the use of hands-free kits.
  • When talking on the cell phone, try holding it an inch or more away from your head.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing will be at a safe level.
  • Do not talk on the phone or text while driving. This increases the risk of automobile crashes.
  • Exercise caution when using a phone or texting while walking or performing other activities. “Distracted walking” injuries are also on the rise.
  • If you plan to watch a movie on your device, download it first, then switch to airplane mode while you watch in order to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • Keep an eye on your signal strength (i.e. how many bars you have). The weaker your cell signal, the harder your phone has to work and the more radiation it gives off. It’s better to wait until you have a stronger signal before using your device.
  • Avoid making calls in cars, elevators, trains, and buses. The cell phone works harder to get a signal through metal, so the power level increases.
  • Remember that cell phones are not toys or teething items.

Even though the cell phone manual contains specific instructions that say do not carry the phone next to the body, the US government does not publicize this information nor mandate companies inform the public, leaving most people unaware of potential hazards, unwittingly allowing their young children to play with them like toys,” stated Devra Davis MPH, PhD, president of the Environmental Health Trust pointing to the Berkeley Cell Phone Right To Know Ordinance being challenged in court this month.

In 2012, the AAP published Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition recommending, “exposures can be reduced by encouraging children to use text messaging when possible, make only short and essential calls on cellular phones, use hands free kits and wired headsets and maintain the cellular phone an inch or more away from the head.”

Since 2012, the AAP has supported the Federal Cell Phone Right to Know Legislation and has written letters to the FCC calling on the federal government to review and strengthen radiation standards for wireless devices in an effort to protect children’s health.

AAP Healthy Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know

AAP responds to study showing link between cell phone radiation, tumors in rats May 27, 2016

2012 AAP Letter in Support of the Cell Phone Right to Know Act

2013 AAP Letter to the FCC calling for a review of RF guidelines





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Health and Safety Research Gaps in Policies and Practices Integrating Emerging Technologies for Young Children 

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The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America's Schools 


Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair
Clinical Psychologist and Research Associate at Harvard Medical School 


Video link may be viewed at: 


Carter B, Rees P, Hale L, Bhattacharjee D, Paradkar MS. Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Oct 31. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2341. [Epub ahead of print] 


Screen Time Hurts More Than Kids' Eyes 


New Media Consortium / Consortium for School Networking Horizon Report 


"American Revolution 2.0: How Education Innovation is Going to Revitalize America and Transform the U.S. Economy" 


"Preschool is Good For Children But It's Expensive So Utah Is Offering It Online" m/local/education/preschool-is- good-for-poor-kids-but-its- expensive-so-utah-is-offering-it- online/2015/10/09/27665e52- 5e1d-11e5-b38e- 06883aacba64_story.html  


Philanthropy Roundtable's: "Blended Learning: Wise Givers Guide to Supporting Tech-Assisted Learning" (Formerly chaired by B. DeVos)  


CyberCharters Have Overwhelming Negative Impact 


Ma, J., van den Heuvel, M., Maguire, J., Parkin, P., Birken, C. (2017). Is handheld screen time use associated with language delay in infants? Presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, San Francisco, CA.  


Jonathan Rochelle’s GSV/ASU PRIMETIME Keynote Speech pitching Google Cardboard for children in schools as proxy for actual field trips: 


Scientists Urge Google to Stop Untested Microwave Radiation of Children's Eyes and Brains with Virtual Reality Devices in Schools //  Asus product manual 


Telecom Industry Liability and Insurance Information 


National Association for Children and Safe Technology - iPad Information 


For infant/pregnancy related safety precautions, please visit 


194 Signatories (physicians, scientists, educators) on Joint Statement on Pregnancy and Wireless Radiation 


Article screenshot from France: "Portables. L'embrouille des ondes electromagnetiques


Wireless Phone Radiation Risks and Public Policy 


"Show The Fine Print" 


Scientist petition calls for greater protective measures for children and pregnant women, cites need for precautionary health warnings, stronger regulation of electromagnetic fields, creation of EMF free zones, and media disclosures of experts’ financial relationships with industry when citing their opinions regarding the safety of EMF-emitting technologies. Published in European Journal of Oncology 


International Agency for Research on Cancer Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans (2011)


For more on source of funding research, see: and 


Maryland State Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council // Public Testimony


"Until now, radiation from cell towers has not been considered a risk to children, but a recent study raises new questions about possible long-term, harmful effects." 


For further reading, please see Captured Agency report published by Harvard’s Center for Ethics  or 


Updates/posts/safety information on Virtual Reality: 


Environmental Health Trust Virtual Reality Radiation Absorption Slides 


Healthy Kids in a Digital World: 


National Association for Children and Safe Technology 


Doctors’ Letters on Wifi in Schools// 154 page compilation 


Insurance and Liability Disclaimers/Information from Telecom Companies 


Most of the documents and articles embedded within the presentation above are searchable/accessible on the following page:

Document above is a pdf with live links. They are provided above for easier access. To download the original file, please click on title or arrow above. It is a large file so may take several minutes.  



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Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review

Social Media Use and Mental Health: A Review


An ongoing open-source  literature review posted and curated by Jonathan Haidt (NYU-Stern) and Jean Twenge (San Diego State U). You can cite this document as:


Haidt, J., & Twenge, J. (2019). Social media use and mental health: A review. Unpublished manuscript, New York University.


The review contains comments added by other researchers: Chris Ferguson (Stetson U), Sarah Rose Cavanagh (Assumption College), Tom Hollenstein (Queens U., Canada), Kai Lukoff (U. Washington), Ian Goddard, Ray Aldred (??), Sonia Livingstone (??). You can find this doc linked from, or from


Also see our companion review: Is there an increase in adolescent mood disorders, self-harm, and suicide since 2010 in the USA and UK? A review


See also additional Google docs laying out evidence for trends in mental health and social media use in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.


First posted: Feb 7, 2019. Last updated: August 22, 2019.


This Google doc is a working document that contains the citations and abstracts of the published articles we have found that shed light on a question that is currently being debated in the USA and UK: Does social media use contribute to the recent rise of adolescent  mood disorders (depression and anxiety) and related behaviors (especially self-harm and suicide)?  [See companion review for studies documenting this recent rise.]


This Google Doc is a work in progress. We (Haidt & Twenge) have not done an exhaustive search of citation databases. A Google Scholar search for [“social media” depression] yields 72,000 hits. We begin instead with articles published in or after 2014 that are being cited by scholars on either side of the debate. (We pick 2014 because the increase in adolescent depression and anxiety is not clearly visible until around 2013, and it takes a while for papers to be published.) We invite fellow scholars to point us to studies we have missed, or to note ways in which we are misinterpreting the studies we cite below.


We are not unbiased. Haidt came to the tentative conclusion that there is a causal link, and said so in his book (The Coddling of the American Mind, with Greg Lukianoff.) Twenge said the same thing in her book (iGen). Haidt’s own research (presented in The Righteous Mind) says that we likely to be motivated to find evidence to support the positions we took publicly. Like all people, we suffer from confirmation bias. But we take J.S. Mill seriously, and we know that we need help from critics to improve our thinking and get closer to the truth. If you are a researcher and would like to notify us about other studies, or add comments or counterpoints to this document, please request access to the Google Doc, or contact Haidt directly, and he will set your permissions to add comments to the Google doc. This document is evolving based on feedback. A copy of the original document, as posted on Feb 7, is here. 





Clickable Table of Contents:















6. DISCUSSION        44



Two studies published in January 2019 suggest that there is little or no association between social media use and harmful mental health outcomes: Orben & Przybylski (2019) and Heffer, Good, et al. (2019). A third study published in January suggested that there is a more substantial link: Kelly, Zilanawala, Booker, & Sacker (2019). These three studies, all published in reputable journals in the same month, are now getting attention from journalists, leaving many parents and policymakers confused about what to believe. We therefore thought it would be useful to gather together in one place the abstracts of the studies that are often referred to in these debates.


We divide the studies into three categories, based on which method they use: 1) cross-sectional correlational studies, 2) time lag or longitudinal studies, and 3) true experiments. Each method answers a different question. Finding answers to the three questions will allow us to address the question everyone cares about: is social media contributing to the recent rise in anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide among American and British teenagers? The answers may be too tentative to form the basis of legislation in 2019, but not to form the basis for advice to parents, millions of whom are asking questions like: Should I let my 11-year old child have an Instagram or Snapchat account? If not now, then when? If yes, then should I impose any time limits? These questions are important and in the forefront of many parents’ minds. We’ll offer some suggestions for parents at the end of the document.


We structure this list of abstracts around three questions, each one addressed by a different kind of study. Within each question we present the studies that DO find a relationship in subsection 1, and the studies that DON’T find a relationship in subsection 2. For each study we offer a link to the original publication and we reprint the full abstract with no edits, other than bold-facing some parts. We offer brief comments and show figures from some of the studies."...


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Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands // Washington Post

Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands // Washington Post | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Drew Harwell

When Syracuse University freshmen walk into professor Jeff Rubin’s Introduction to Information Technologies class, seven small Bluetooth beacons hidden around the Grant Auditorium lecture hall connect with an app on their smartphones and boost their “attendance points.”

And when they skip class? The SpotterEDU app sees that, too, logging their absence into a campus database that tracks them over time and can sink their grade. It also alerts Rubin, who later contacts students to ask where they’ve been. His 340-person lecture has never been so full.

“They want those points,” he said. “They know I’m watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.”


Short-range phone sensors and campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before. Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health.


But some professors and education advocates argue that the systems represent a new low in intrusive technology, breaching students’ privacy on a massive scale. The tracking systems, they worry, will infantilize students in the very place where they’re expected to grow into adults, further training them to see surveillance as a normal part of living, whether they like it or not.

“We’re adults. Do we really need to be tracked?” said Robby Pfeifer, a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, which recently began logging the attendance of students connected to the campus’ WiFi network. “Why is this necessary? How does this benefit us? … And is it just going to keep progressing until we’re micromanaged every second of the day?"


This style of surveillance has become just another fact of life for many Americans. A flood of cameras, sensors and microphones, wired to an online backbone, now can measure people’s activity and whereabouts with striking precision, reducing the mess of everyday living into trend lines that companies promise to help optimize.Americans say in surveys they accept the technology’s encroachment because it often feels like something else: a trade-off of future worries for the immediacy of convenience, comfort and ease. If a tracking system can make students be better, one college adviser said, isn’t that a good thing?


But the perils of increasingly intimate supervision — and the subtle way it can mold how people act — have also led some to worry whether anyone will truly know when all this surveillance has gone too far. “Graduates will be well prepared … to embrace 24/7 government tracking and social credit systems,” one commenter on the Slashdot message board said. “Building technology was a lot more fun before it went all 1984.”


Instead of GPS coordinates, the schools rely on networks of Bluetooth transmitters and wireless access points to piece together students’ movements from dorm to desk. One company that uses school WiFi networks to monitor movements says it gathers 6,000 location data points per student every day.

School and company officials call location monitoring a powerful booster for student success: If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise. But some schools go even further, using systems that calculate personalized “risk scores” based on factors such as whether the student is going to the library enough."...


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Health Research Gaps in the Marketing and Promotion of Emerging Educational Technologies // (Marachi, 2018) Presented at the Digital Media and Developing Minds Conference, New York 

To download poster, click on title above. For resource collections related to the research and including many of the references cited, see:

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Oregon Wireless Safety Bill (SB 283) Passed Both Houses of Legislature and Awaits Governor's Signature // June 19th, 2019

Oregon Wireless Safety Bill (SB 283) Passed Both Houses of Legislature and Awaits Governor's Signature // June 19th, 2019 | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |
06/19/2019 11:50 AM PDT

Relating to exposure to radiation in schools in this state; and declaring an emergency.
Directs Oregon Health Authority to review peer-reviewed, independently funded scientific studies of health effects of exposure to microwave radiation, particularly exposure that results from use of wireless network technologies in schools and to report results of review to interim committee of Legislative Assembly related to education not later than January 2, 2021.
Specifies requirements for review. Directs Department of Education to develop recommendations to schools in this state for practices and alternative technologies that reduce students' exposure to microwave radiation that Oregon Health Authority report identifies as harmful. Declares emergency, effective on passage. 
Oregon public schools serve approximately 581,000 students in 197 school districts. Oregon law directs school districts to provide opportunities for students to use technology. Oregon law also requires school districts to develop and adopt a Healthy and Safe Schools Plan. The plan must address environmental conditions at the facilities owned or leased by the district or school where students or staff are present on a regular basis. Senate Bill 283 directs ODE to inform schools about potential health hazards of using wireless network technology in schools and to provide recommendations for minimizing exposure to possible harmful effects.
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Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free — and it should be a red flag // Business Insider

Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free — and it should be a red flag // Business Insider | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research | 

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Is 5G Technology Safe? The Debate Intensifies //

Is 5G Technology Safe? The Debate Intensifies // | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |


NEW YORK (WHEC) -- The major cell phone companies promise 5G networks will bring faster internet speeds, better reception and the ability to connect more devices simultaneously but as they ramp up for the rollout, many are wondering whether the technology is safe.


What makes 5G different? 2G brought the ability to text message, 3G laid the groundwork for smartphones and 4G allowed video streaming. 5G is expected to download data 20 times faster and could pave the way for self-driving vehicles but a big question many have is whether the radio frequency waves it takes to do all of that are dangerous to your body and overall health.  


"There are good parts of 5G, I guess, but it has effects, side effects, so I think people should research it really," says Judi Flanders of Penfield.

Flanders currently lives within a mile of a cell phone tower and has long been concerned about how much radiation she's being exposed to but recently that concern grew when she learned Verizon is in talks with the town to upgrade its network to 5G.  


Currently, 3G and 4G service come from regular cell phone towers like the one near Flanders home but 5G works differently. Smaller base stations or antennas are installed all over the community and then networked together with the tower.  

Wireless companies expect to install about 300,000 antennas nationwide which is about equal to the number of cell towers built in the U.S. over the last 30 years. That's why carriers are knocking on the doors of our local leaders.

"We've been approached by a couple of different groups to at least start the conversation," says Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountian.  


LaFountain says he's heard from residents that are worried about whether 5G radiation can cause cancer.


"You get information from the carriers to say it's safe, these are all of our studies and then of course there's an equal amount of information on the other side to say there are health concerns and health risks associated with this," he says.

Dr. David Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.


"It's too new for there to be any studies of human health and this is a big issue. Why are we rolling out this new form of electromagnetic radiation without any attention to the question of whether it's safe or not…with regard to 3G and 4G, we have absolutely definitive evidence that excessive use of cell phones, held to your ear, increases the rate of brain cancer," he tells News10NBC. 


But that's excessive, long-term use with the phone to your head. What about proximity to towers and antennas? Most public health experts seem to agree that 5G will increase the levels of RF radiation in the vicinity of the antennas.


"It means that you're not going to be able to walk down the sidewalk without being continuously irradiated," Dr. Carpenter says.  


But the wireless companies installing 5G say the radiation will be low and well within the federal government's allowable standards.


Verizon is interested in upgrading its network here in the Rochester area, so News10NBC reached out to them to ask about this issues.


In a statement, spokesman David Weissmann says, "All equipment used for 5G must comply with federal safety standards. Those standards have wide safety margins and are designed to protect everyone, including children. Everyday exposure to the radio frequency energy from 5G small cells will be well within those safety limits, and is comparable to exposure from products such as baby monitors, Wi-Fi routers, and Bluetooth devices."


The FDA and the FCC say based on the current information available, they believe the safety limits are acceptable for protecting public health. Some governments in other parts of the world disagree though. In Brussels, Belgium, the expansion to 5G has been halted until more research is done. Dr. Carpenter says he'd like the U.S. to slow down the process too.


"There are a lot of factors that go into that [determining what causes cancer] and you can never say that one person's cancer was because of this particular exposure. What we can say with great confidence is that any exposure to radio frequency radiation is going to increase your risk of developing cancer," he says.

So, what happens if you're not comfortable with 5G and don't want an antenna near your house?


You don't have many options to fight it.

The FCC has restricted the ability of cities and towns to regulate 5G infrastructure. Under new rules, local governments have tight deadlines to approve or reject installation of cellular equipment. The rules also limit how much municipalities can charge wireless carriers who to put hardware in public rights of way. The FCC also prohibits cities and towns from rejected an application solely for health concerns."... 


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Presentation Slides from Dr. Joel Moskowitz Keynote, Feb. 27th, 2019, Director of Center for Family and Community Health // School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 

To download, click on title or arrow above. Slides are also available at:

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What are small cell facilities, and why are they in the public rights-of-way? // Bradley Law

What are small cell facilities, and why are they in the public rights-of-way? // Bradley Law | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Vince Rotty

On September 27, 2018, the FCC released a declaratory ruling and report and order (available here). This post has been updated to reflect the FCC’s new regulations.



A small wireless facility (sometimes referred to as a small cell facility) is a cellular network facility capable of delivering high transmission speeds but at lower ranges. Although they are called “small,” this is in reference to their small coverage area, not their physical size. These facilities, due to their heightened transmission speeds and capacities, are critical to the wireless industry’s deployment of 5G services. However, because a small wireless facility, when compared to a traditional macrocell tower, is only able to transmit data at low ranges and is not capable of transmitting through buildings and other structures, many more small wireless facilities are needed to cover the same geographic area that a single, traditional macrocell tower would cover. It is estimated that each wireless provider will need at least ten times as many small wireless facilities as macrocell towers to provide the same network coverage.[1]



Wireless service providers and wireless infrastructure providers will seek to collocate small wireless facilities and construct wireless support structures in a municipality’s rights-of-ways for a number of reasons, but one of the primary reasons is that small wireless facilities require two resources: (1) data via fiber optic cable and (2) power, and both of these resources are often found in a municipality’s rights-of-way.

Additionally, many states have enacted statutes that, among other things, limit rights-of-way and permit application fees that a municipality can collect from a wireless service provider or wireless infrastructure provider and create statutory review periods for small wireless facility permit applications.[2] Often, utility poles and wireless support structures owned by private entities are exempt from these state statutes, further prompting wireless providers and wireless infrastructure providers to prefer to collocate small wireless facilities to existing municipal assets in the municipality’s rights-of-way.[3]


In addition to traditional wireless providers, neutral host and other infrastructure providers are also expected to play a critical role in the deployment of small wireless facilities. Neutral host and other infrastructure providers will often lease their wireless assets to traditional wireless providers. As a result, your municipality might not receive any permit requests of applications for collocating small wireless facilities or constructing wireless support structures from traditional wireless providers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Instead, your municipality may be receiving permit requests and applications from neutral host providers such as ExteNet and Mobilitie.


Not all small wireless facilities are created equal. While wireless providers and wireless infrastructure providers may initially propose to construct facilities that are integrated into light poles, monopoles, traffic signals, and other existing rights-of-way structures or assets, the reality is that your municipality should expect that very few small wireless facilities will be constructed in this manner. For example, a light pole with a pole-top antenna and integrated equipment cabinet is shown below. As can be seen in the below image, there are almost no exposed elements or cables, and there is only a minimal intrusion into the rights-of-way. The rights-of-way in the below image appears to be largely undisturbed by the small wireless facility integrated into the light pole.



However, in reality, many small wireless facilities are likely to be collocated on existing wooden utility poles. Because these existing utility poles are almost universally incapable of integrating equipment cabinets within the pole’s base, as is in the above image, wireless service providers and wireless infrastructure providers will instead install equipment cabinets at ground level or mount the cabinets to utility poles in the rights-of-way. These facilities can create safety, aesthetic, and noise issues, including violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“the ADA”).

An example of a non-integrated small wireless facility is shown below. As can be seen in the below image, the small wireless facility extends beyond the wooden utility pole, the cabling is loose, and there are equipment cabinets mounted at the top of the pole.



These rights-of-way impacts and concerns are compounded by the increased number of small wireless facilities necessary to operate a small cell network. Regulating how and when small wireless facilities can be collocated in your municipality’s rights-of-way is key to addressing a municipality’s concerns such as safety, noise, aesthetic, and undergrounding of ground-level facilities.


When a municipality receives a permit request or application to collocate a small wireless facility or construct a wireless support structure, there are three sources of law that must be followed: (1) federal law, (2) state law, and (3) local law.

A.     Federal Law

In 2018, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling and report and order addressing how municipalities must process small wireless facility applications.[4] A small wireless facility application is an application for a permit or other authorization that seeks to either: (1) collocate a small wireless facility on an existing structure or (2) collocate a small wireless facility on a new structure (i.e., construction of a new structure to collocate a small wireless facility).[5] The primary difference between these two types of small wireless facility applications is the number of days that a municipality is allowed to process the application (shown below).

Type of Permit Request Review Period Remedy Collocation on an existing structure 60 days Judicial Cause of Action Collocation on a new structure 90 days Judicial Cause of Action

If a municipality fails to grant or deny an application within either of these review periods, the applicant may appeal the municipality’s failure to act to an applicable court.[6] Unlike Section 6409(a) applications, there is no deemed granted remedy for small wireless facility applications.[7] A deemed granted remedy means that an application is automatically granted if a municipality fails to act on the application.

For more information on the details and impacts of federal law, please consult your legal counsel or the attorneys at Bradley Berkland Hagen & Herbst LLC.

B.      State Law

After determining how to process a permit application or request under federal law, a municipality should next examine their state law. Often, state small wireless facility statutes will reduce review periods, limit the criteria by which a permit can be denied, and limit fees that municipalities can charge. A list of states that have passed small wireless facility laws can be found here. In short, state small wireless facility statutes are rarely, if ever, helpful for local governments. Instead, these statutes almost invariably limit municipal authority. For example, Oklahoma’s small wireless facility statute reduces the 90-day review period in federal law to 75-days and limits fees to $40 per small wireless facility collocated on a municipally-owned utility pole in the rights-of-way.[8] If your state has enacted a small wireless facility statute, it will be important to understand the restrictions and limitations placed on your municipality by state law in addition to federal law.

If your municipality is in a state that hasn’t passed small wireless facility-specific legislation, your municipality should nevertheless look for any processes or requirements that apply generally to wireless towers. These statutes were likely enacted with macrocell towers in mind but are often applicable to small wireless facilities.

C.      Local Law

Finally, your municipality should examine its local law to determine how to process an application. Many municipalities have passed ordinances governing the municipality’s rights-of-way or wireless towers, but some municipalities have passed small wireless facility ordinances as well. While no small wireless facility ordinance “may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service” (i.e., a prohibition on the collocation of small wireless facilities within a municipality), these ordinances do allow a municipality to enact aesthetic and design standards, undergrounding requirements, and other zoning restrictions.[9]

If your municipality has not already enacted a small wireless facility ordinance, please speak with an attorney at Bradley Berkland Hagen & Herbst to discuss how your community’s unique needs and interests can be addressed through an ordinance or other legal mechanisms."


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The Ethics of Virtual Reality Technology: Social Hazards and Public Policy Recommendations // Spiegel, 2018; Science and Engineering Ethics

The Ethics of Virtual Reality Technology: Social Hazards and Public Policy Recommendations // Spiegel, 2018; Science and Engineering Ethics | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

This article explores four major areas of moral concern regarding virtual reality (VR) technologies. First, VR poses potential mental health risks, including Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. Second, VR technology raises serious concerns related to personal neglect of users’ own actual bodies and real physical environments. Third, VR technologies may be used to record personal data which could be deployed in ways that threaten personal privacy and present a danger related to manipulation of users’ beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. Finally, there are other moral and social risks associated with the way VR blurs the distinction between the real and illusory. These concerns regarding VR naturally raise questions about public policy. The article makes several recommendations for legal regulations of VR that together address each of the above concerns. It is argued that these regulations would not seriously threaten personal liberty but rather would protect and enhance the autonomy of VR consumers." 

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Is 5G Worth the Risks?

Is 5G Worth the Risks? | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By IIshana Artra

"In recent months there’s been a lot of talk about 5G – the next generation of wireless technology. 5G is being touted as a necessary step to the ‘internet of things’ – a world in which our refrigerators alert us when we’re low on milk, our baby’s diapers tell us when they need to be changed, and Netflix is available everywhere, all the time. But what we’re not hearing is that evidence-based studies worldwide have clearly established the harmful effects of human exposure to pulsed radiofrequency radiation from cell towers, cell phones and other devices – and that 5G will make the problem exponentially worse.

Most people believe that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) carefully assesses the health risks of these technologies before approving them. But in testimony taken by Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, the FCC admitted it has not conducted any safety studies on 5G.

Telecom lobbyists assure us that guidelines already in place are adequate to protect the public. Those safety guidelines, however, are based on a 1996 study of how much a cell phone heated the head of an adult-sized plastic mannequin. This is problematic, for at least three reasons:

+ living organisms consist of highly complex and interdependent cells and tissue, not plastic.

+ those being exposed to radiofrequency radiation include fetuses, children, plants, and wildlife – not just adult male humans.

the frequencies used in the mannequin study were far lower than the exposures associated with 5G.


5G radiofrequency (RF) radiation uses a ‘cocktail’ of three types of radiation, ranging from relatively low-energy radio waves, microwave radiation with far more energy, and millimeter waves with vastly more energy (see below). The extremely high frequencies in 5G are where the biggest danger lies. While 4G frequencies go as high as 6 GHz, 5G exposes biological life to pulsed signals in the 30 GHz to 100 GHz range. The general public has never before been exposed to such high frequencies for long periods of time."...


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Chinese Facial Recognition Company Left Database of People's Locations Exposed // CNET

Chinese Facial Recognition Company Left Database of People's Locations Exposed // CNET | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"A Chinese facial recognition company left its database exposed online, revealing information about millions of people, a security researcher discovered.

SenseNets, a company based in Shenzhen, China, offers facial recognition technology and crowd analysis, which the company boasted in a promotional video could track people across cities and pick them out in large groups.


But the company failed to protect that database with a password, Victor Gevers, a Dutch security researcher with the GDI Foundation, discovered Wednesday. The database contained more than 2.5 million records on people, including their ID card number, their address, birthday, and locations where SenseNets' facial recognition has spotted them.


From the last 24 hours alone, there were more than 6.8 million locations logged, Gevers said. Anyone would be able to look at these records and track a person's movements based on SenseNets' real-time facial recognition."...


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Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test (2019) // Journal of the American Medical Association 

Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test (2019) // Journal of the American Medical Association  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

  Excessive screen time is associated with delays in development; however, it is unclear if greater screen time predicts lower performance scores on developmental screening tests or if children with poor developmental performance receive added screen time as a way to modulate challenging behavior.

Objective  To assess the directional association between screen time and child development in a population of mothers and children.
Design, Setting, and Participants
  This longitudinal cohort study used a 3-wave, cross-lagged panel model in 2441 mothers and children in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, drawn from the All Our Families study. Data were available when children were aged 24, 36, and 60 months. Data were collected between October 20, 2011, and October 6, 2016. Statistical analyses were conducted from July 31 to November 15, 2018.

Exposures  Media.
Main Outcomes and Measures
  At age 24, 36, and 60 months, children’s screen-time behavior (total hours per week) and developmental outcomes (Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition) were assessed via maternal report.

Results  Of the 2441 children included in the analysis, 1169 (47.9%) were boys. A random-intercepts, cross-lagged panel model revealed that higher levels of screen time at 24 and 36 months were significantly associated with poorer performance on developmental screening tests at 36 months (β, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.13 to −0.02) and 60 months (β, −0.06; 95% CI, −0.13 to −0.02), respectively. These within-person (time-varying) associations statistically controlled for between-person (stable) differences.

Conclusions and Relevance  The results of this study support the directional association between screen time and child development. Recommendations include encouraging family media plans, as well as managing screen time, to offset the potential consequences of excess use."...


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Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children // Hutton, Dudley, & Horowitz-Kraus (2019) // Neurology, JAMA Pediatrics

Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children // Hutton, Dudley, & Horowitz-Kraus (2019) // Neurology, JAMA Pediatrics | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

Importance The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limits on screen-based media use, citing its cognitive-behavioral risks. Screen use by young children is prevalent and increasing, although its implications for brain development are unknown.

Objective  To explore the associations between screen-based media use and integrity of brain white matter tracts supporting language and literacy skills in preschool-aged children.

Design, Setting, and Participants
  This cross-sectional study of healthy children aged 3 to 5 years (n = 47) was conducted from August 2017 to November 2018. Participants were recruited at a US children’s hospital and community primary care clinics.

  Children completed cognitive testing followed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and their parent completed a ScreenQ survey.

Main Outcomes and Measures
  ScreenQ is a 15-item measure of screen-based media use reflecting the domains in the AAP recommendations: access to screens, frequency of use, content viewed, and coviewing. Higher scores reflect greater use. ScreenQ scores were applied as the independent variable in 3 multiple linear regression models, with scores in 3 standardized assessments as the dependent variable, controlling for child age and household income: Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, Second Edition (CTOPP-2; Rapid Object Naming subtest); Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition (EVT-2; expressive language); and Get Ready to Read! (GRTR; emergent literacy skills). The DTI measures included fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD), which estimated microstructural organization and myelination of white matter tracts. ScreenQ was applied as a factor associated with FA and RD in whole-brain regression analyses, which were then narrowed to 3 left-sided tracts supporting language and emergent literacy abilities.

Results  Of the 69 children recruited, 47 (among whom 27 [57%] were girls, and the mean [SD] age was 54.3 [7.5] months) completed DTI. Mean (SD; range) ScreenQ score was 8.6 (4.8; 1-19) points. Mean (SD; range) CTOPP-2 score was 9.4 (3.3; 2-15) points, EVT-2 score was 113.1 (16.6; 88-144) points, and GRTR score was 19.0 (5.9; 5-25) points. ScreenQ scores were negatively correlated with EVT-2 (F2,43 = 5.14; R2 = 0.19; P < .01), CTOPP-2 (F2,35 = 6.64; R2 = 0.28; P < .01), and GRTR (F2,44 = 17.08; R2 = 0.44; P < .01) scores, controlling for child age. Higher ScreenQ scores were correlated with lower FA and higher RD in tracts involved with language, executive function, and emergent literacy abilities (P < .05, familywise error–corrected), controlling for child age and household income.

Conclusions and Relevance  This study found an association between increased screen-based media use, compared with the AAP guidelines, and lower microstructural integrity of brain white matter tracts supporting language and emergent literacy skills in prekindergarten children. The findings suggest further study is needed, particularly during the rapid early stages of brain development.


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Long-Term Symptoms of Mobile Phone Use on Mobile Phone Addiction and Depression Among Korean Adolescents // Int'l Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 

Long-Term Symptoms of Mobile Phone Use on Mobile Phone Addiction and Depression Among Korean Adolescents // Int'l Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |


This study aimed to compare the mean scores of mobile phone use, mobile phone addiction, and depressive symptoms at three-time points among Korean adolescents according to gender and to examine the differences in the long-term relationships among the three above mentioned variables between Korean boys and girls in a four-year period. Data for 1794 adolescents (897 boys and 897 girls) were obtained from three waves of the second panel of the Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey. Multi group structural equation modeling was used for data analyses.

The study findings showed that at each of the three-time points, Korean girls tended to use their mobile phones more frequently and were at a higher risk of mobile phone addiction and depressive symptoms than Korean boys. Significant changes were observed in the longitudinal relationships among phone use, mobile phone addiction, and depressive symptoms in Korean adolescents across time periods, but no gender differences were found in the strengths of these relationships. These findings contribute to expanding the knowledge base of mobile phone addiction and depressive symptoms among Korean adolescents."


Korean adolescents; depression; mobile phone addiction; mobile phone use


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Technoference: Longitudinal Associations Between Parent Technology Use, Parenting Stress, and Child Behavior Problems // McDaniel & Radesky, Pediatric Research 2018

Background and objectives
Heavy parent digital technology use has been associated with suboptimal parent–child interactions and internalizing/externalizing child behavior, but directionality of associations is unclear. This study aims to investigate longitudinal bidirectional associations between parent technology use and child behavior, and understand whether this is mediated by parenting stress.


Participants included 183 couples with a young child (age 0–5 years, mean = 3.0 years) who completed surveys at baseline, 1, 3 and 6 months. Cross-lagged structural equation models of parent technology interference during parent–child activities, parenting stress, and child externalizing and internalizing behavior were tested.


Controlling for potential confounders, we found that across all time points (1) greater child externalizing behavior predicted greater technology interference, via greater parenting stress; and (2) technology interference often predicted greater externalizing behavior. Although associations between child internalizing behavior and technology interference were relatively weaker, bidirectional associations were more consistent for child withdrawal behaviors.


Our results suggest bidirectional dynamics in which (a) parents, stressed by their child’s difficult behavior, may then withdraw from parent–child interactions with technology and (b) this higher technology use during parent–child interactions may influence externalizing and withdrawal behaviors over time."


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Advertisers Abandon YouTube Over Concerns That Pedophiles Lurk In Comments Section // NPR National Public Radio 

Advertisers Abandon YouTube Over Concerns That Pedophiles Lurk In Comments Section // NPR National Public Radio  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |


"Editor's note: This story contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.


Big brands are pulling their ads off YouTube over concerns that potential sexual predators are gathering in the comment sections of videos featuring children. In response, YouTube has deleted more than 400 channels and suspended comments on tens of millions of videos as it tries to purge the system of pedophiles.


The controversy emerged after a former YouTube content creator described what he called a "soft-core pedophile ring" on the site. Pedophiles are communicating with each other in the comments and trading links to illegal pornography, Matt Watson said in a video posted this week that has been viewed millions of times.


"They're providing links to actual child porn in YouTube comments," he said. "They're trading unlisted videos in secret. And YouTube's algorithm, through some kind of glitch or error in its programming, is actually facilitating their ability to do this."


Earlier this week, Disney, Nestle and Epic Games — which makes Fortnite — pulled their ads from YouTube, which is owned by Google. AT&T and Hasbro followed suit.


"Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube," AT&T said in a statement, according to AdAge.


The controversy highlights the difficulty that major Internet content companies often have patrolling user-generated content, which can stream in at an incredible pace. A YouTube spokesman told TechCrunch that around 400 hours of video are uploaded each minute. The company has around 10,000 human reviewers who analyze content that's been flagged as inappropriate.


YouTube executives are scrambling to reassure companies that YouTube is doing everything it can to protect children. "Child safety has been and remains our #1 priority at YouTube," YouTube said in a memo sent to major brands, AdWeek reported. YouTube this week suspended comments on millions of videos that "are likely innocent but could be subject to predatory comments," the memo said.


Some of the children in the videos look to be as young as 5 years old, according to a Wired magazine report.


In his video critique, Watson describes how he says the pedophile ring works: YouTube visitors gather on videos of young girls doing innocuous things, such as putting on their makeup, demonstrating gymnastics moves or playing Twister. In the comment section, people would then post timestamps that link to frames in the video that appear to sexualize the children.


YouTube's algorithms would then recommend other videos also frequented by pedophiles. "Once you enter into this wormhole, now there is no other content available," Watson said.


"And of course, there is advertising on some of these videos," he said, showing examples of ads. His video was titled: "Youtube is Facilitating the Sexual Exploitation of Children, and it's Being Monetized."... 


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Lawsuit Filed Against Apple, Samsung After Chicago Tribune Tests Cellphones for Radiofrequency Radiation // Chicago Tribune 

Lawsuit Filed Against Apple, Samsung After Chicago Tribune Tests Cellphones for Radiofrequency Radiation // Chicago Tribune  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

By Joe Mahr

"A group of lawyers has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Apple and Samsung, citing a Tribune investigation that tested popular cellphones for radiofrequency radiation and found some results over the federal exposure limit.

The lawsuit — filed Friday in California, Illinois and Iowa — alleges that the phone makers “intentionally misrepresented" the safety of their devices, assuring users that the phones had been adequately tested and “were safe to use on and in close proximity to their bodies.”

The complaint, which alleges “negligence, breach of warranty, consumer fraud and unjust enrichment,” seeks an unspecified amount of money and medical monitoring for anyone who bought an iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9 or Galaxy J3.

The Tribune commissioned tests of 11 models of cellphones made by four companies, including the six models mentioned in the suit. The newspaper stated that the intention was not to rank phone models for safety and noted it was not possible to say whether any of the devices tested could cause harm.


But the tests, conducted according to federal guidelines at an accredited lab, found that radiofrequency radiation from some models operating at full power measured over the exposure limit set by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC said it would pursue its own testing after the agency reviewed the Tribune’s lab reports.

Before any phone model can be brought to market, a sample must be tested for compliance with the exposure limit for radiofrequency radiation. In one phase of Tribune’s testing, the phones were positioned at the same distance from a simulated human body as the manufacturers chose for their premarket tests — between 5 and 15 millimeters, depending on the model.


In this phase, all three Samsung phones tested measured under the safety limit. Results varied for Apple phones, but several iPhone 7s were tested and all results exceeded the limit.


The Tribune also tested all the phone models at a consistent and closer distance of 2 millimeters, to estimate the potential exposure for an owner using the phone in a pants or shirt pocket.


In that phase of testing, most of the models tested yielded results that were over the exposure limit, sometimes far exceeding it. At 2 millimeters, the results from the three Samsungs and several iPhone models — again, operating at full power — were higher than the standard.


Two days after the Tribune published its investigation, the lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court in San Jose, California, alleging that Apple and Samsung “market and sell some of the most popular smartphones in the world ... as emitting less RF radiation” than the legal limit.



The suit was filed by three firms with lawyers experienced with class-action lawsuits, including Chicago law firm Fegan Scott. One of its lawyers, Elizabeth Fegan, represents alleged victims of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and has worked on cases alleging that the NCAA mishandled student-athlete concussions and that the city of Chicago’s work on water pipes has increased the risks of lead poisoning.


Representatives with Apple and Samsung did not return emails seeking comment.


Apple previously has disputed the Tribune’s results, saying the lab used by the newspaper did not test the phones the same way it does. Apple and Samsung both have told the Tribune their phones comply with federal standards.


The lawsuit argues that recent research has shown radiofrequency radiation exposure "affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines.”


“Thus," the suit claims, “defendants’ design, manufacture, and sale of smartphones that far exceed federal guidelines exacerbates the health risks to Plaintiffs and the Classes.”


High levels of radiofrequency radiation can heat biological tissue and cause harm. Less understood is whether people, especially children, are at risk for health effects from exposure to low levels over many years of cellphone use."...


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The Challenges of Defining and Studying “Digital Addiction” in Children // Journal of the American Medical Association 

The Challenges of Defining and Studying “Digital Addiction” in Children // Journal of the American Medical Association  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

"In the 2013 edition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-5) identified “internet gaming disorder” as “a condition in need of further study.”1 The World Health Organization recognized “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11).2 The appellation—gaming disorder—is a misnomer because it does not include social media or nongaming applications. Still the emerging phenomenon of “digital addiction” represents a real and potential widespread problem that defies easy solutions or prevention strategies.

Scientific consensus suggests that addictions arise from a combination of a genetic predisposition and repeated exposure to a specific substrate.3 


In the case of digital addiction, the exposure is ubiquitous, unavoidable, and in some cases the use of digital devices is mandated. Some preschools use iPads in classrooms; many schools require children to use computers for their work; most employers not only rely on internet use during the day but also expect employees to have ready access to digital media outside of work hours. In a recent report of a nationally representative study of sedentary behavior, the estimated prevalence of computer use outside of school or work for more than 1 hour per day or more among children aged 5 through 11 years increased from 43% to 56% from 2001 to 2016, and among adolescents aged 12 through 19 years increased from 53% to 57% from 2003 to 2016.4


For those trying to study the effects of media on child development, this poses vexing challenges. Avoiding digital media is impractical and undesirable. It stands to reason that there is appropriate and beneficial usage, but what might constitute too much of a good thing?

The relationship between biological exposures and outcomes can follow one of many functional forms. Most straightforward is a monotonically linear relationship in which outcomes are directly and proportionately related to exposure, such as with a high-fat diet and weight gain.5 Often, there is a dose-response relationship in which no discernable effect is observed until some critical threshold is crossed, after which there is a clear relationship over a dosage range and when no additional benefits are derived and at even higher doses harm may result. This is usually the case for pharmaceuticals.

Less common, and perhaps most challenging to discern, is the “inverted U” relationship in which both low and high exposure are associated with less desirable outcomes, but for some middle level, outcomes are improved. Such is the relationship between alcohol consumption and health in which those who consume no or very little alcohol appear to have poorer health outcomes than those who consume 7 to 14 units of alcohol per week.6 The nature of this relationship took many years to establish in part because of the odd functional form (U shape). Such is likely the relationship between media exposure and health. A recent meta-analysis7 found that adolescents with heavy and no social media usage have diminished mental health compared with those with moderate usage. Specifically, compared with nonusers, children with 1 hour per day of media use had a 12% reduced risk of depression. With 3 hours they had a 19% increased risk, and at 5 hours it was increased by 80%.7 But the relationship is in many ways infinitely more complex than the one between alcohol and health.

Except for the potentially unique effects of some polyphenols found in red wine, alcohol researchers can distill their exposure of interest—alcohol—into discrete units so that drinkers can easily be categorized without regard to their libation of choice. An analogous approach is being used in most media studies in which usage is defined solely in terms of time spent on various devices (eg, smartphones, computers) or in certain activities (eg, social media or games). Media usage as a predictor variable belies the reality that content drives any observed effects.

It is not as simple as time spent on a device or activity but rather how that time is spent that matters. Therein lies the challenge. Disentangling the complicated effects of media usage to establish guidelines that can inform public policy and industry regulations requires a fine level of granularity. Even drawing distinctions between social media vs passive viewing or gaming is inadequate. For example, 1 hour of social media usage could be spent in an online support group. For an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) teen, such a community can be an invaluable and otherwise unavailable supportive resource, but for a teen with an eating disorder that social media exposure may normalize and even encourage the behavior.


Traditionally, media researchers have relied on retrospective self-report or contemporaneous diaries to assess exposure. These tools are antiquated and do not capture the many and varied uses of media today particularly given the frequency of multitasking. How can parents of a middle schooler possibly reliably recount their child’s use of recreational screen time given that many children and adolescents carry a device in their pocket at all times and use it to communicate, play games, and do homework? How could teenagers estimate their screen time given the hundreds of times they check their phone during the day even for a few seconds, never mind informing scientists of what precisely they looked at? Coupled with individual characteristics, these data are crucial to further understanding of the true relationship between nature and substrate that define healthy media usage.


While researchers have struggled to find methods to reliably collect these data, industry has been capturing them, using them, and even monetizing them. Facebook has information on what children see, how long they look at it, and even how they feel about it. Apple indicates it does not have data on where children spend their time on its devices (Fred Sainz, director of corporate communications, Apple, email communication, May 21, 2019). Although its “screen time app” collects data on how children spend their time on the device and shares those data with parents, it does not currently facilitate exporting or sharing data with researchers. In fact, Apple has taken the additional step of blocking the third-party screen-time trackers many researchers use since those trackers compete with theirs.8


As media conglomerates face increasing scrutiny by politicians and regulators for their harvesting of data and their dissemination of misinformation, they should consider collaborating with impartial scientists so that they can begin to understand how to mediate media in the best interest of children. If these companies are willing to share data with advertisers, they also should be willing to share them with academic scientists. Without their cooperation, child advocates may never get the answers they need to understand digital media use by children and develop effective measures to prevent and counteract “digital addiction” in children."

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The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network // The New Yorker

The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network // The New Yorker | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

'The future of wireless technology holds the promise of total connectivity. But it will also be especially susceptible to cyberattacks and surveillance. '


By Sue Alpern

"In January, 2018, Robert Spalding, the senior director for strategic planning at the National Security Council, was in his office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, across the street from the White House, when he saw a breaking-news alert on the Axios Web site. “Scoop,” the headline read, “Trump Team Considers Nationalizing 5G Network.” At the time, Spalding, a brigadier general in the Air Force who previously served as a defense attaché in Beijing, had been in the military for nearly three decades. At the N.S.C., he was studying ways to insure that the next generation of Internet connectivity, what is commonly referred to as 5G, can be made secure from cyberattacks. “I wasn’t looking at this from a policy perspective,” he said. “It was about the physics, about what was possible.” To Spalding’s surprise, the Axios story was based on a leaked early draft of a report he’d been working on for the better part of a year.


Two words explain the difference between our current wireless networks and 5G: speed and latency. 5G—if you believe the hype—is expected to be up to a hundred times faster. (A two-hour movie could be downloaded in less than four seconds.) That speed will reduce, and possibly eliminate, the delay—the latency—between instructing a computer to perform a command and its execution. This, again, if you believe the hype, will lead to a whole new Internet of Things, where everything from toasters to dog collars to dialysis pumps to running shoes will be connected.


Remote robotic surgery will be routine, the military will develop hypersonic weapons, and autonomous vehicles will cruise safely along smart highways. The claims are extravagant, and the stakes are high. One estimate projects that 5G will pump twelve trillion dollars into the global economy by 2035, and add twenty-two million new jobs in the United States alone. This 5G world, we are told, will usher in a fourth industrial revolution.


A totally connected world will also be especially susceptible to cyberattacks. Even before the introduction of 5G networks, hackers have breached the control center of a municipal dam system, stopped an Internet-connected car as it travelled down an interstate, and sabotaged home appliances. Ransomware, malware, crypto-jacking, identity theft, and data breaches have become so common that more Americans are afraid of cybercrime than they are of becoming a victim of violent crime. Adding more devices to the online universe is destined to create more opportunities for disruption. “5G is not just for refrigerators,” Spalding said. “It’s farm implements, it’s airplanes, it’s all kinds of different things that can actually kill people or that allow someone to reach into the network and direct those things to do what they want them to do. It’s a completely different threat that we’ve never experienced before.”...


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Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D, UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health Keynote on Cell Phones, Cell Towers, and Wireless Safety // UC Berkeley School of Public Health

"On February 27, 2019, Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., delivered the keynote presentation, "Cell Phones, Cell Towers and Wireless Safety" for the "Balancing Technology" series offered by University Health Services (UHS) at the University of California, Berkeley. The event was co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Dr. Moskowitz, director of the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health, has been translating and disseminating the research on wireless radiation health effects since 2009. His Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website has had more than two million page views by visitors from over 200 countries since 2013.
The presentation was filmed by UHS and by CNBC. The video, slides, and safety tips can be viewed at the following links:

View Video: (72 minute YouTube video)
View Slides: (Supplemental slides can be found at end of presentation.)

Safety Tips
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety: 
California Department of Public Health:"
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Toddlers on Touchscreens: Immediate effects of gaming and physical activity on cognitive flexibility of 2.5-year-olds in the US // Antrilli & Wang, 2018, Journal of Children and Media, Vol. 12, No. 4

Toddlers on Touchscreens: Immediate effects of gaming and physical activity on cognitive flexibility of 2.5-year-olds in the US // Antrilli & Wang, 2018, Journal of Children and Media, Vol. 12, No. 4 | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

Interactive technologies have become a common play medium for young children; it is not unusual for toddlers to play games on a touchscreen device in lieu of games in the yard. Here, we compared the immediate effects of physical and touchscreen play on 2.5-year-olds’ cognitive flexibility, a key aspect of executive function. For nine minutes, toddlers engaged in touchscreen play or physical play; a third group drew and colored (control group). Next, a sorting task measured cognitive flexibility. The physical-play group outperformed the other two groups. Compared to the control group, toddlers’ cognitive flexibility benefited from physical play, whereas touchscreen play yielded no significant effect. Interestingly, toddlers who played the touchscreen game in a socially interactive way outperformed those who treated gaming as solitary play. Together, the results bear practical implications on whether and how to introduce young children to interactive technologies for play." 

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Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy // Parent Coalition for Student Privacy 

Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy // Parent Coalition for Student Privacy  | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

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Stop and Frisk Online: Theorizing Everyday Racism in Digital Policing in the Use of Social Media for Identification of Criminal Conduct and Associations

Stop and Frisk Online: Theorizing Everyday Racism in Digital Policing in the Use of Social Media for Identification of Criminal Conduct and Associations | Screen Time, Tech Safety & Harm Prevention Research |

Police are increasingly monitoring social media to build evidence for criminal indictments. In 2014, 103 alleged gang members residing in public housing in Harlem, New York, were arrested in what has been called “the largest gang bust in history.” The arrests came after the New York Police Department (NYPD) spent 4 years monitoring the social media communication of these suspected gang members. In this article, we explore the implications of using social media for the identification of criminal activity. We describe everyday racism in digital policing as a burgeoning conceptual framework for understanding racialized social media surveillance by law enforcement. We discuss implications for law enforcement agencies utilizing social media data for intelligence and evidence in criminal cases." 


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Expert Forum on Children's Exposure to Wireless Radiation in Schools 

Expert Forum on Wireless Radiation in Schools
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
March 25, 2019
Cece Doucette, MTPW, Wireless Education
David O. Carpenter, MD, School of Public Health, University at Albany
Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School; Massachusetts General Hospital
Ronald Melnick, PhD; retired senior toxicologist, National Toxicology Program
Frank Clegg, former head of Microsoft Canada; Citizens for Safe Technology
Theodora Scarato, MSW, Environmental Health Trust
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