Babies using Smart Phones

baby using smart phones

baby using smart phones

More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, and by 1 year of age, one in seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to a study to be presented Saturday, April 25 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of entertainment media such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets by children under age 2. Little is known, however, when youngsters actually start using mobile devices.

Researchers developed a 20-item survey to find out when young children are first exposed to mobile media and how they use devices. The questionnaire was adapted from the “Zero to Eight” Common Sense Media national survey on media use in children.

Parents of children ages 6 months to 4 years old who were at a hospital-based pediatric clinic that serves a low-income, minority community were recruited to fill out the survey. Participants were asked about what types of media devices they have in their household, children’s age at initial exposure to mobile media, frequency of use, types of activities and if their pediatrician had discussed media use with them.

Results from 370 parents showed that 74 percent were African-American, 14 percent were Hispanic and 13 percent had less than a high school education. Media devices were ubiquitous, with 97 percent having TVs, 83 percent having tablets, 77 percent having smartphones and 59 percent having Internet access.

Children younger than 1 year of age were exposed to media devices in surprisingly large numbers: 52 percent had watched TV shows, 36 percent had touched or scrolled a screen, 24 percent had called someone, 15 percent used apps and 12 percent played video games.

By 2 years of age, most children were using mobile devices.

Lead author Hilda Kabali, MD, a third-year resident in the Pediatrics Department at Einstein Healthcare Network, said the results surprised her.

“We didn’t expect children were using the devices from the age of 6 months,” she said. “Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes.”

Results also showed 73 percent of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60 percent while running errands, 65 percent to calm a child and 29 percent to put a child to sleep.

Time spent on devices increased with age, with 26 percent of 2-year-olds and 38 percent of 4-year-olds using devices for at least an hour a day.

Finally, only 30 percent of parents said their child’s pediatrician had discussed media use with them.

Source:  disinformation.com

Neglect Harms Brain Development

Childhood neglect leads to harmful changes in the brain, a new study says.

In new research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers looked at brain differences between Romanian children who were either abandoned and institutionalized, sent to institutions and then to foster families, or were raised in biological families.

Kids who were not raised in a family setting had noticeable alterations in the white matter of their brains later on, while the white matter in the brains of the children who were placed with a foster family looked pretty similar to the brains of the children who were raised with their biological families.

Researchers were interested in white matter, which is largely made up of nerves, because it plays an important role in connecting brain regions and maintaining networks critical for cognition. Prior research has shown that children raised in institutional environments have limited access to language and cognitive stimulation, which could hinder development.

These findings suggest that even if a child were at a risk for poor development due to their living circumstances at an early age, placing them in a new caregiving environment with more support could prevent white matter changes or perhaps even heal them.

More studies are needed, but the researchers believe their findings could help public health efforts aimed at children experiencing severe neglect, as well as efforts to build childhood resiliency.

 

Source:   time.com

Irish Nun 87 sexual abuse charges

 

An Irish nun is to appear before a special sitting of the country’s Circuit Court on 87 charges of the sexual abuse of primary school girls:

Pope Benedict XVI waves

Pope Benedict XVI waves

The nun, whose name has been withheld by the State to protect her victims, appeared at Sligo Circuit Court on Tuesday. Her case, thought to be the first of its kind in Ireland, has been listed for mention again on May 22nd.  Judge Rory McCabe has ordered the special sitting after the Director of Public Prosecutions outlined the huge number of files to be considered by the prosecution’s legal team.   The case was transferred from another county only last week according to DPP barrister Dara Foynes.  Newspaper reports say that several of the nun’s alleged victims were in court for the brief hearing.  Those present heard the barrister for the accused woman complain about the delay in the trial. She said her client had been charged in January 2010.   In response, Foynes said a ‘voluminous’ number of files had only been given to prosecution solicitor Hugh Sheridan last week after the transfer of the case from another county.

Drunk American soldier killing Civilians

American Soldier Murders 16 Civilians in Afghanistan:

afghanistan

Afghanistan

An American soldier opened fire on civilians in Kandahar Sunday, killing 16 Afghans including 9 children and 3 women. While most reports say a single soldier is accountable for the massacre, some eyewitness accountsmaintain it was a group of American soldiers “who were laughing and appeared drunk.”  Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded an explanation for these “intentional murders.” The White House released a statement earlier today, in which they said they are “deeply concerned” and “monitoring the situation closely.”  Meanwhile, General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, promises a “rapid and thorough investigation” into the massacre.

This deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of [International Security Assistance Force] and coalition troops or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people. Nor does it impugn or diminish the spirit of cooperation and partnership we have worked so hard to foster with the Afghan National Security Forces.

The soldier’s motivation for the shooting spree is still unclear. He is currently being held in custody.  UPDATE:  President Obama has issued a statement in light of the shooting.

I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering.

This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.