Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Friday, July 31, 2015

Teen Use of Electronic Cigarettes May Be a Function of How They Feel About These Products

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief

      The increasing presence of electronic cigarettes over the past few years has not escaped our attention including an uptick on manuscripts to Pediatrics regarding adolescent usage of these devices.  But what makes a teen want to try them—and how does using an e-cigarette influence their desire to start or stop smoking regular tobacco cigarettes? 
       Barrington et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0639) have smoked out the answers to these questions in a study being released this week.  The authors surveyed more than 2000 11th and 12 graders in southern California and found that 24.0% had used an e-cigarette at some point in time and a smaller percentage (18.7%) had smoked a tobacco cigarette and noted a correlation between the two groups.  Of the teens who had used an e-cigarette however in the past 30 days, 40.5% had not used a combustible cigarette. So what drives their desire to use either of these products?   
     The authors look at a variety of psychosocial factors including whether the products are used at home, whether their friends use them, and even whether they view them as harmful or not from a health standpoint.  The take-away is that there are factors identified in this study that are strongly associated with smoking practices in teens—and learning what they are may make for a more effective approach to helping teens quit e-cigarette and conventional cigarette smoking—as well as whether use of one might lead to use of the other.
      The data in this study is guaranteed to light up your conversation with teens about smoking in ways that may make the effectiveness of what you talk about even more effective.  Are you finding some strategies more effective than others in getting teens to not use e-cigarettes, let alone tobacco products?  Are you finding that the psychosocial factors identified in this study are influencing your patients as strongly as they seem to be in the teen population studied?  Share with us your thoughts and solutions to this problem by responding to this blog or sending us an e-letter or posting your thoughts on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Teens Drinking Up the Influence of Alcohol Use in the Movies

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief  

      We have published a number of studies over the years in regard the influence of risk-taking behaviors seen in popular films.  We've explored violence and tobacco use in media and the influence on teens at length in the past. This week, we share a new study on alcohol use in film and subsequent adolescent alcohol use authored by Waylen et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2978).  The authors did a cross-sectional look at more than 5000 15-year-old teens in the UK in a longitudinal population-based cohort, and compared exposure to alcohol in films with age of onset of alcohol use as well as binge-drinking behavior while controlling for other confounding risk factors.  
      Are you surprised at this finding?  Do you ask your teens about the behavior they see on the screen and how they feel about them in real life?  We would love to hear your take on this study and what you find helpful in preventing the strong association described in this study.  Would it be helpful to have films put a risk-taking rating more clearly on films so parents can better monitor what teens are being exposed to even in the PG-13 films they go to see?   
     Share your thoughts on this study by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter, or posting your comments on our Facebook and Twitter sites.  

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Parental Desensitization to Sex and Violence in the Movies

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

Photo by Brandon Kowitz via Flickr
Ever go to a movie loaded with violence, profanity, and sexuality and express surprise when you find out it’s a PG-13 and not an R-rated film? Do you think that you are sure PG-13 movies of the past never had as much sex and violence as they do now?

If so, you are not alone, but you may be victim of a desensitization phenomenon affecting parents who allow their children to attend PG-13 movies loaded with overly-graphic scenes of sex and violence that one used to attribute only to R-ratings.

Romer et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1167) set out to assess the desensitization of parents to repeat exposures to violence and sex in movies by inviting 1,000 parents of preteens and teens to view short scenes of violent or sexual content from popular movies from PG-13 or R-rated films. Afterwards, they asked the parents to determine the minimum age that a child might view that film. The more clips seen, the lower the age the parents chose for their children to view the same clips–consistent with parents becoming desensitized to sex and violence on screen.

Sadly, it may not be just parents but also the raters of films who are becoming desensitized and allowing younger children to attend more violent and more sexual films than ever before. This is an important study to read about and then share with your patients.

If you want some perspective on what this study suggests, consider the commentary by Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2803) that accompanies this study.

By the way, did you know there are now websites that tell parents just how much sex and violence and profanity appear in films? If not, you should know about such sites so you can direct parents of pre-teen and teenage patients to them so they are more aware of what their younger children might be exposed to when they go to the movies. Your ticket to this provocative early-released study from our journal awaits. So make some popcorn, click the link, and learn more.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Is Teen Sexting a Predictor of Subsequent Sexual Behavior?

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

Photo by BdwayDiva1 via Flickr
We have published a number of recent studies on the increasing prevalence of sexting amongst teens, but have not published data on the role of active sexting (sending a nude picture) in mediating or promoting the relationship between passive sexting (being asked for a nude picture) and then going on to have intercourse. But this week, Temple and Choi (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1974) share relevant data from a six-year longitudinal study of more than 950 high school students.

These students were asked about sexting at baseline entry into the study and one year later as well as whether sending a nude picture encouraged sexual intercourse in that relationship. The results are well worth your attention. It's interesting to note that while sexting overall was not temporally associated with risky sexual behaviors, active versus passive sexting was more associated with having intercourse over the next 12 months.

Since the study was cross-sectional, it cannot prove cause and effect, but it can still identify sexting as a key component in the ongoing sexual development of teens and potentially be considered a potential harbinger for future (if not current) adolescent sexual activity.

Do you ask your teen patients about sexting, or if their friends sext? Do you get positive responses and if so, what do you then say? We would love to hear your approach to helping teens deal with sexting. Leave a comment, send us an eLetter through our journal site, or join in the discussion via Facebook or Twitter.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Video Games and Psychosocial Adjustment

Pediatrics Editorial Board Member Terrill Bravender MD, MPH, shares his expert perspective on a new article from our September issue. To learn more about Dr. Bravender and his work in adolescent medicine, check out his bio on our Contributors page.

By: Terrill Bravender, MD, MPH

Photo by OakleyOriginals via Flickr
The effects of video games on child development and behavior have been topics of intense debate since "Pac Man" first hit the arcades. These days, though, adolescents no longer need a pocket full of quarters, and "Call of Duty: Black Ops" is certainly not "Donkey Kong".

With more than 97 percent of adolescents reporting video game use, “gaming” is the new normal. In the September issue of Pediatrics, Dr. Andrew Przybylski (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-4021) presents a fascinating population-based study of the effects of self-reported daily video game use on measures of psychosocial adjustment. No matter how you feel about video games, you will likely be intrigued.

While moderate levels of game play (defined as one to three hours daily) had no effect on adjustment indicators, those teens who reported playing for more than three hours daily indicated higher levels of internalizing and externalizing problems as well as lower levels of prosocial behavior. This is unlikely to surprise any parent who has tried to get an online teenager to turn away from the video screen, disconnect the headphone and microphone, and go outside to try to experience something IRL (“in real life” for the uninitiated).

However, the news is not all bad for the adolescents who use video games in moderation: Those teens who reported playing for less than one hour daily had higher levels of prosocial behavior than those teens who said they never played. These low-level players also reported lower levels of internalizing and externalizing problems.

The author contends that low-level playing might help children work through social and cognitive challenges online without taking too much time away from their offline lives. Although the results are fascinating and statistically significant, the reader must keep in mind that the effects are small, with video games only accounting for 0.3 to 1.5 percent of the variability in their measures. Even so, these small effects are broad, and may help create a more nuanced understanding of the behavioral and developmental effects of video games.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Sexting in Middle School Students: Here & Happening More Than You Think

By: Lewis First, MD, MS

Photo by zoe via Flickr
We are well aware via journal studies and the public media that sexting, the sending or receiving of sexually explicit texts or photographs on smart phones and other computerized devices, is prevalent among older teens in high school—but what about students in middle school?

Winetrobe et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds. 2013-2991) opted to study almost 1300 middle school students who submitted data in the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Los Angeles. These students answered questions about their sexting behavior and their sexual risk-taking behaviors in real life. Looking at the study results, the percentage of middle school students who sent or received sexual texts and were also sexually active is concerning. What’s even worse were the number of students more likely to sext and have unprotected sex.

Do you talk with your teen patients about sexting? Would texting your teen patients with advice on how to better use social media and the dangers of sexting be something you might consider?

We would love to know whether you address this problem with your patients by responding to this blog, or sharing your thoughts on this study or what you do in your practice to try to address sexting via Facebook, Twitter or perhaps via an eLetter to the journal.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Are Low-Risk Adolescents More Likely to Drink After Watching Alcohol Consumption in Movies?

By: Lewis First, MD, MS

We have certainly published manuscripts regarding the influence of risk-taking behaviors like smoking in the cinema on older teens—but what about younger teens who report at baseline they have never had a drink? Will watching movies with alcohol consumption influence them to drink in the year after they
Photo by Sarah Ackerman via Flickr
see these movies?

Hanewinkel et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds. 2013-3880) address these questions in a longitudinal study of over 2,300 teens from state-funded schools in Europe with a mean age of 12.9 years in regard to whether or not they report using alcohol, or worse, attempted binge drinking within 12 months of seeing films where alcohol was consumed. The authors appropriately controlled for age, gender, socioeconomic status, school performance, TV watched, personality and drinking behaviors of family and friends.

There are many remarkable findings in this study, including how many cinematic exposures to alcohol these teens report, as well as how the relative risk increases with every thousand exposures (and teens averaged over 3,600 exposures in the films they watched during the 5 years prior to entering the study) not just for initiating drinking alcohol, but for binge drinking as well.

If you ever had doubts about the influence of the media on the risk-taking behaviors of our teens, this study will remove those quickly. Drink up the information shared in this study and learn more.

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