Engage in Risky Behavior
Thirty percent of teenage girls meet offline with someone they met online, finds a new study of 251 teen girls, ages 14-17. In addition, neglected or abused teen girls are more likely to present themselves in a sexually provocative way, a behavior that previous studies show is more likely to lead to offline meetings, says lead author Dr. Jennie Noll, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Half the participants in Noll’s study, which is part of a larger work on high risk internet behaviors, were victims of abuse or neglect. Internet filtering software, installed at home, did little to reduce the association between maltreatment and high risk online behavior. Instead, says Noll, quality parenting and parental monitoring of online behaviors are key to reducing these risky behaviors.
Alarming and Dangerous, Say Docs
Doctors say self-injury among troubled teens who embed objects such as staples and paper clips in their bodies is on the rise. "Children tell us that the physical pain is easier to deal with than emotional pain. And self-embedding behavior distracts them from the emotional pain." says Dr William E. Shiels, Nationwide Children's Hosp, and the author of a new study on self-embedding behavior. Shiels told CBS News that 1 in 4 of all teens - not just those who are troubled - engages in some form of self-injury including embedding, burning or cutting. Embedders often respond to drug and/or psychotherapy, says Shiels who encourages caregivers to consider self-embedding in teens with unexplained sores or skin infections and who cover themselves in excess clothing even in warm weather.
Too Much Television
Teenagers are more likely to spend their weekends in front of a tv screen than engaged in physical activity, finds a study that analyzed the behavior of 3278 adolescents. "A sedentary lifestyle has become one of the major public health problems in developed countries", says Juan P. Rey-López, lead author. "During the week, one-third of teenagers said they watched more than two hours of television per day. At weekends, this figure exceeds 60 percent. Our findings support the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics not to put televisions in teenagers' bedrooms, in order to (theoretically) reduce the amount of time they spend watching the television.” Rey-Lopez agrees to the presence of a computer in a kid’s bedroom saying it reduces the risk of excessive tv watching.
Insufficient Sleep to Blame
The earlier the school day begins, the higher the rate of teenage car crashes, according to a research abstract presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC. Research indicates that in 2008 the number of accidents involving teenagers was 41 percent higher in Virginia Beach where school begins at 7:20 am than in nearby Chesapeake, VA where classes start at 8:40 am. Sleep restriction is to blame, according to lead author Robert Vorona, MD, whose study data was provided by the VA Department of Motor Vehicles. Vorona recommends delaying high school classes to promote driver alertness. "We believe that high schools should take a close look at having later start times to align with circadian rhythms in teens and to allow for longer sleep times," he said.
13-Year-Old Asks for a Monster
Food and nutrition columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget of the Washington Post writes today about her worries when her 13-year-old son, influenced by extreme sports hero endorsements, asked to buy a Monster energy drink. Is it O.K. for kids, she wondered? Investigating, she discovered that it contains 160 milligrams of caffeine, about four times that in a can of Coca Cola. In addition, it contained a number of exotic additives. Most of them are probably harmless and all are on the FDA's approved food additives or GRAS (generally regarded as safe) lists. On the other hand, they probably do you no good either. More than the caffeine, the sugar dose worried Jennifer. In the end she decided that energy drinks wouldn't kill her kid, but she hopes he grows out of them.