Stories about: Internet use

Put downtime on your family's to-do list this holiday season

McCarthyClaire_dsc0463It’s nearly school vacation time—and you’re probably making plans (or will, once your shopping is finished) for things that will keep the kids busy during their time off. Museums, concerts, playdates—whatever fills the days in a useful, educational way. Because you can’t leave the days blank, right?

Actually, you can. And sometimes leaving them blank is exactly what children (and families) need.

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This week on Thrive: Oct. 12 – 16

Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.

Arianna Faro shares her story of how she’s struggled with the rare, disfiguring disease Klippel-Trenaunay (KT) syndrome, but has come to accept the role it plays in her life. A new study has reignited worries about BPA exposure being hazardous to our children. We find out in the last part of our milk allergy series if Brett Nasuti has been cured, and his mom, Robyn, tell us how the result affects her family. Parents tell us why they’ve chosen to give their children the H1N1 vaccine. The HealthMap team gives us a weekly update on the latest H1N1 news. We’re keeping up with Children’s Hospital Boston’s heart team in Ghana. Children’s resident Mediatrician helps a dad figure out how his son can balance school work and social media. A Children’s study  aims to catch dyslexia before it catches your child.

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How can we help our teen son manage media so they don't interfere with his life?

Michael RichMedia expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, answers your questions about media use. Last week, he discussed which computer games are good for your 2-year-old.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: Texting, cruising the Internet, and Facebooking are interfering with my son’s academic goals and adding stress to our family life (we have three kids, 16, 13, and 9). He is very bright and wants to excel in school, but the lure and addictive quality of social and entertainment media undermine his nightly goals. We’ve already eliminated weekday TV and gaming, but taking technology away completely seems to encourage sneaking and secrets. What facts and tips can you share that will help my wife and me and, ultimately, our son learn to manage media wisely?
-Determined Dad in Short Hills, NJ

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Health headlines: Schools are getting rid of junk food and Microsoft takes on the flu

Other stories we’ve been reading:

• The Washington Post reports on an interactive Web site from Microsoft Corp that employs the same triage calculations used by clinicians at Emory University to help determine when patients under 12 should see a doctor about their flu symptoms.
• A study led by Nina S. Kadan-Lottick, MD, MSPH, FAAP, of the Yale Cancer Center, shows that nearly 50 percent of childhood cancer survivors never marry.
• The Boston Globe finds that many Massachusetts hospitals are increasing their focus on the patient experience by offering more amenities such as free wireless service, flat screen TVs and a greater number of private rooms.
WebMD reports on a new survey from the September issue of Pediatrics which shows that a majority of parents don’t know how to properly determine their child’s correct height and weight based on the growth charts provided by their pediatricians.
Yahoo News reports on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) findings that schools are making slight improvements in limiting some types of junk food available on school property, just not all junk food.

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