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Thursday, March 15, 2018

A DIGITAL CHECKUP

(Family Circle) That incessant buzzing of your teen's smartphone? It's more than just annoying, tech is affecting your child's health. Here's how, and what you can do about it:

4.6 Seconds
It's the average length of time your eyes are off the road when texting while driving. Nearly half of high schoolers 16 and older say they text while at the wheel. What to do about it: Talk about the dangers and download a free app like TrueMotion Family (Android and iOS) to track your family's phone use behind the wheel. Enforce consequences like taking away their phone if they text and drive.

23 percent
The percentage of kids in middle and high school have experienced cyber-bulling. What to do about it: Consider a subscription service that lets you monitor a child's smartphone use like Net Nanny, SecureTeen or TeenSafewhich psychologist Trace Bennet, Ph.D., founder and CEO of http://getkidsinternetsafe.com, works with. "Say, 'I won't be checking constantly, but if there's a concern I may glance at your activity," Bennet suggest.

40 pounds
The push on your spine when your head is tilted 30 degrees forward, compared to 10 to 12 pounds when it's in a neutral position. The added pressure can lead to back problems, even in teens. What to do about it: Remind your child to keep their head up and stretch frequently while using tech. Practice what you preach. "Set aside screen-free time for the whole family every day," says Professor Adam Alter, Ph.D. author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Whether you're eating dinner or playing board games, you should replace electronic devices with activity.

1 in 6
The number of teens have hearing loss from high-volume sounds like blasting music or TVs. What to do about it: Explaining the short-term dangers like ears being sensitive for after listening was found to be effective in getting kids to lower the volume. Adolescents can't conceptualize their future themselves, making long-term effects a harder sell, explains Alter.

5 to 6
The number of times per minute we blink when starting at screen. That's not enough and can lead to dry eye disease. What to do about it: The good news? Research shows that time outdoors seems to be protective against dry eyes, and a smartphone hiatus may reduce symptoms.

90 minutes
The amount of time before bed, tables and computers need to be removed from kids' bedrooms. What to do about it: This one maneuver may improve the quantity and quality of your teenager's sleep. "Screens help suppress melatonin production, which disrupts our natural sleep cycle," says Bennett.

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