iPad kids

By: Sarah VonBerge

It is highly debatable whether or not children should be allowed to use iPads, or other screens, for extended periods of time. Because the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did a study, people are now able to look further into the effect electronics have on young kids. It has been shown that screens stunt children’s development by narrowing their focus, interest, and limiting their other means of exploration and learning.

Exploring the outdoors, playing with toys, and playing with other children help them form their imagination and important social skills.

Development happens the most in the first 3 years of their lives and many skills are created by watching the adults around them. If they are looking at a screen, they are not able to take in the world around them. It’s been shown that children under 2 learn more watching someone else teach them as compared to watching a video.

Exaggerated tones and faces help them learn how others around them are feeling or talking to them, without these exaggerations, they are not always able to take in the needed information. Screens and video games cause them to miss out on valuable caregiver interactions that regulate emotions.

Excessive screen time doesn’t just affect emotions and communication, it’s been shown to actually completely change how the brain is formed. It’s been shown that kids who spend more than 7 hours a day on a screen experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex, which is the area related to critical thinking and reasoning.

Kids who spend 2 hours a day on a screen have also been shown to score lower on thinking and language tests. Along with this, it was found that kids who spent more than 2 hours watching TV a day were 64% less likely to get the recommended 10 hours of sleep as compared to kids who spend 30 minutes or less.

5 year olds who spent 2+ hours on screens were 5 times more likely to show symptoms of ADHD compared to children who spent 30 min or less. Although it does not cause ADHD, they’ve been known to be more hyperactive, which is a common symptom in ADHD.

Screen time can trigger the release of dopamine, which is ‘the happy’ neurotransmitter. When you are doing or seeing something that is releasing dopamine, you will not want to get off the screen. Because of this, many children have difficulty putting a screen down, which often results in frustration, anger and/or a complete shut down.

Although it is not completely detrimental to give kids screen time, their time needs to be limited.

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What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

The COVID-19 vaccines that are being used right now are the Pfizer vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine cleared for children currently; it is cleared for children ages 5 through 11.

There is also a COVID booster shot. Everyone over the age of 18 can get it. At first they were just giving it to first responders and people who were more susceptible to get COVID, but now it has opened up more to the public and everyone of the age of 18 can get the booster shot.

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, once fully vaccinated, people can start doing more, and a safer way to help build protection.” 

One of the reasons the vaccine is safe is because millions of people in the US have received the vaccine since they were authorized by the FDA. Another reason is that they have undergone “The most insensitive safety monitoring in US history.” A third reason is “There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems.” The last reason, the CDC had stated was “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.”

I interviewed a freshman and a junior. I asked them these questions: Have you heard anything about the COVID-19 vaccine causing fertility issues? Have you heard about the tedious monitoring that the US has undergone trying to make the vaccine?

The freshman answered the first question saying, “No, I haven’t.” 

They then answered the second question saying, “Yes I have. I know it took lots of scientists to make the vaccine. They also had a very short period of time to make the vaccine.”

The junior answered the first question saying, “I’ve only heard conspiracy theories about it.”

They then answered the second question saying, “Yes I have. My Mom works at the U of MN and she tells me stories about how long it was taking and what a tedious process it was.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is effective. It helps children and adults from getting very ill. Another reason the CDC states about this was “Getting children ages 5 years and older vaccinated can help protect them from serious short- and long-term complications.”

Once fully vaccinated, people can progressively start doing more. Families/people can resume many activities that they did before the pandemic started. Some activities that you could return to doing that are low risk are: eating outdoors at a restaurant, getting a haircut, going to an outdoor concert, hugging vaccinated family and friends, and visiting elderly relatives that have also been fully vaccinated.

Some other activities that you could return to doing that are medium risks are: eating indoors at a restaurant, going to the theaters, traveling, going to the gym, and getting a massage.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a safer way to help build protection. According to the CDC, “Children ages 5 years and older and adults who are eligible should get vaccinated regardless of whether they already had COVID-19. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with previously having a COVID-19 infection.”

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