Study: For Kids, Positive TV Shows Lead to Positive Behavior
Who knew substituting Muppets in lieu of mobsters could have such a positive impact on children? A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests that reducing the amount of time young children watch on-screen violence could positively affect their behavior. In a randomized trial, researchers worked with 565 parents of children ages 3 to 5 years old. Half the parents—the control group—received no advice for what their kids should be watching. The other group of parents received lots of guidance on positive programming, encouragement to watch television with the kids to answer questions, and check-ins from researchers who helped the families set television-watching goals, reports The New York Times. Both groups of parents were asked to log their kids' media intake, and were asked to evaluate their children's change in behavior at six and 12 months. As you may have guessed, the children whose parents received guidance and who watched positive programming were less aggressive than their peers in the control group. Kids who watched fewer violent shows also scored higher in terms of social competence. "The take-home message for parents is it's not just about turning off the TV; it's about changing the channel," lead study author Dimitri Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, told The New York Times. "We want our children to behave better, and changing their media diet is a good way to do that."
Tips for Safe and Healthy Online Dating
Chatting with a new Valentine over coffee: old school. Dealing with awkward first-date giggles at an Applebee's: What is this, 1998? These days, many of us are getting romantic through virtual winks and private messages, or by simply perusing a prospective match's age, sex, location, weight, height, self summary, favorite movies, and leisure activities through his or her dating profile. Online dating has become so popular that it was how nearly 25 million people searched for love in just one month of 2011, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
But if the nonstop drama of Manti Te'o and the tales of online exes-turned-murders have taught us anything, it's that you've got to be safe when dating online. Here's how:
Don't post contact information. "You need to own your online presence," says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "Empower yourself to control what you share online." While engaging in multiple virtual platforms can make you feel like Master of the Internet, it can also leave you vulnerable. "There's a difference between being cyber savvy and cyber secure," Kaiser says. [Read more: Tips for Safe and Healthy Online Dating]
Confessions of a Dietitian With a Muffin Top
Dietitians face a major occupational hazard: the underlying pressure to remain a model of good health and fitness, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman. After all, you probably wouldn't trust a dentist with bad teeth, or a mechanic with a jalopy. Would you trust a dietitian with a muffin top?
Of course, we dietitians are people, too. Occasionally, we also get too busy to squeeze in our "nine a day" of fruits and veggies. Some of us are mothers whose childcare obligations make a regular gym commitment difficult to manage and whose post-baby bodies are quite worse for the wear. After a long day at work or at home with our kids, we're equally tempted to plop down on the couch and eat dinner in front of the TV, even though we know that's a recipe for disaster. And so it shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that once in a while, we dietitians may find ourselves a few pounds over our own goal weights—or several hours under our weekly exercise targets.
At present, I am one such dietitian.