Stories about: social media

MyViewPoints: Sharing information, connecting communities

Adrienne found online communities helpful when recovering from Lyme disease

About two years ago I became very sick. After dealing with illness for a number of months I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. Suddenly I had an explanation for all the symptoms I was feeling: aches and pains, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, memory loss, upset stomachs, anxiety, depression.

I was lucky to find a great local doctor and have a supportive network of friends and family to lean on. I took my prescribed antibiotics and felt better. I took time off from work and gave my body time to heal. Both played into my eventual recovery, as did the support network I found online. By connecting with an online Lyme disease community I learned what hurdles other people like me were facing, and how they beat (or at least coped with) those hurdles. I asked questions like what homeopathic remedies worked best for them? How did they alleviate anxiety? How were they able to ease the upset stomachaches caused by their antibiotics?

I was helping myself get better, and after a while started sharing my own remedies and coping mechanisms. The back and forth developed into strong, supportive relationships that were very important to me. They didn’t take the place of a trip to the doctor’s office or real life bonds I had, but it was so helpful to have access to people who understood my ups and downs, didn’t mind my occasional venting and were so eager to share information.

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Could monitoring Facebook impact drinking in college?

A new study published in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine suggests that the majority of college students who post on Facebook about drunkenness and dangerous drinking habits are also at a higher risk for alcohol abuse and dependence.

The message seems fairly obvious, but the real interesting takeaway of the study is the researchers’ suggestions about how that information could be used.

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School time, down time and Face(book) time: Is one-to-two hours of screen time enough?

In his Ask the Mediatrician post last week, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health, recommended that teens spend no more than one to two hours in front of screens – computer, TV, videogame, etc. – each day.

But Emily, a blogger over on the Center for Young Women’s Health’s YAP blog, responds to Dr. Rich’s suggestion, saying that one to two hours isn’t realistic, given school work and how woven social media is into the lives of teens.

Do you spend your whole life on Facebook? Do you as a parent limit your child’s screen time? Just how much is too much…or is there even such a thing as too much when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family? Let us know below.

While you’re at the YAP blog, check out Ty’s post on tips for getting back into the swing of school.

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Facebook and Twitter: How much social networking is too much?

michaelrich_small1-198x300Media 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 gave advice on how to handle playdates that involve age-inappropriate video games.

And now, here’s this week’s Ask the Mediatrician query:

Q: We feel “webbed out” of our teenage son’s electronic social life. Are you aware of studies tracking the psychological impact that technologies like Facebook and Twitter have on developing “normal” social skills?
Shut out by Social Networking in Manchester, MA

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