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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

Jim Liebelt

Jim Liebelt's Blog

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Tech Crunch.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki and Department of Psychology have found that excessive Internet use -- essentially bordering on addiction -- leads to school burnout in teens.

There isn’t much detail on the definition of excessive use (you’ll know it when you see it), but the researchers write:

The research suggests that the most critical stage for tackling the problem of digital addiction and school burnout is age 13-15. The most effective way of supporting adolescents’ mental health and preventing excessive internet use is to promote school engagement, to build up students’ motivation to learn, and to prevent school burnout.

Depressive symptoms and school burnout in late adolescence are more common among girls than boys. Boys suffer more from excessive Internet use than girls.

School burnout is defined as a lack of desire to attend or work hard in school.

The research is related to the Mind the Gap project that studies thousands of students for Internet use and psychological issues. The bottom line isn’t pretty. “These results show that, among adolescents, excessive internet use can be a cause of school burnout that can later spill over to depressive symptoms,” said Katariina Salmela-Aro, a researcher for the project.

In the end it’s up to the parents how much Internet is too much. Sadly there are few guidelines for us and this study doesn’t seem to provide any. However, showing a direct connection between usage and depression is a terrible smoking gun and, perhaps, it might encourage us all to pull the plug every few days for a little family time without screens.

Source: Tech Crunch

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Pew Research Center.

Broad demographic shifts in marital status, educational attainment and employment have transformed the way young adults in the U.S. are living, and a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data highlights the implications of these changes for the most basic element of their lives – where they call home. In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household.

This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35. Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other. This type of arrangement peaked around 1960, when 62% of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents.

By 2014, 31.6% of young adults were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, below the share living in the home of their parent(s) (32.1%). Some 14% of young adults were heading up a household in which they lived alone, were a single parent or lived with one or more roommates. The remaining 22% lived in the home of another family member (such as a grandparent, in-law or sibling), a non-relative, or in group quarters (college dormitories fall into this category).

It’s worth noting that the overall share of young adults living with their parents was not at a record high in 2014. This arrangement peaked around 1940, when about 35% of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds lived with mom and/or dad (compared with 32% in 2014). What has changed, instead, is the relative share adopting different ways of living in early adulthood, with the decline of romantic coupling pushing living at home to the top of a much less uniform list of living arrangements.

Among young adults, living arrangements differ significantly by gender. For men ages 18 to 34, living at home with mom and/or dad has been the dominant living arrangement since 2009. In 2014, 28% of young men were living with a spouse or partner in their own home, while 35% were living in the home of their parent(s). For their part, young women are on the cusp of crossing over this threshold: They are still more likely to be living with a spouse or romantic partner (35%) than they are to be living with their parent(s) (29%).

A variety of factors contribute to the long-run increase in the share of young adults living with their parents. The first is the postponement of, if not retreat from, marriage. The median age of first marriage has risen steadily for decades. In addition, a growing share of young adults may be eschewing marriage altogether.

In addition, trends in both employment status and wages have likely contributed to the growing share of young adults who are living in the home of their parent(s), and this is especially true of young men. Employed young men are much less likely to live at home than young men without a job, and employment among young men has fallen significantly in recent decades.

For women, delayed marriage—which is related, in part, to labor market outcomes for men—may explain more of the increase in their living in the family home.

The Great Recession (and modest recovery) has also been associated with an increase in young adults living at home. Initially in the wake of the recession, college enrollments expanded, boosting the ranks of young adults living at home. And given the weak job opportunities facing young adults, living at home was part of the private safety net helping young adults to weather the economic storm.

Source: Pew Research Center

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Medical Daily.

Remember back in high school when all the tall kids were awkward and clumsy? Especially for boys, growth spurts can dramatically affect teens’ coordination, and new research has discovered why.

The study, published in Biomedical Engineering OnLine, sought to determine if growth spurts during adolescence was associated with changes in motor control and coordination. Though walking is a skill that we learn early in life, the researchers say the process of learning to walk continues through adulthood, suggesting the “clumsiness” of tall, teenage boys could be a consequence of rapid growth.

To test the theory, researchers analyzed the walking habits of 88 teenage boys, all of whom were 15 years old. The boys were asked to walk 10 meters, at the speed of their choice, back and forth four times. As they walked, the boys wore wireless sensors that tracked the movements of their torsos and legs. The researchers used these sensors to monitor the boys’ smoothness of gait (stride), step regularity, and balance — three characteristics that the researchers say are all guided by motor control.

The researchers also measured the heights and weights of the boys on two separate occasions, with three months in between. During this three-month period, 19 of the boys had growth spurts, defined as growth of more than 3 centimeters. These boys were then categorized into one group, called “grown,” while the others fell into a “not grown” group.

The “grown” group was asked to repeat the walking tests after those three months, and the results showed that these boys had decreased smoothness of gait and step regularity.

"A sudden increase in height affects the body's ability to control established motor skills, such as walking,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Maria Cristina of the University of Bologna, in a press release. “Adolescents tend to show previous control of the body when growing up, but the motor control behavior is organized on the body's dimensions. Following a growth spurt, the body needs time to adjust to changes to the periphery, during which time a teenager may walk awkwardly, while teenagers who grow steadily are able to handle growth modifications better and so maintain smoothness and regularity when walking."

The boys were also asked to count backwards in intervals of eight as they walked. This mental arithmetic task was designed to test the cognitive demand of gait control. And though all of the boys showed a decreased ability to walk during this test, the “not grown” group walked much more smoothly during this test than the “grown” group, suggesting the cognitive abilities associated with walking are negatively impacted by growth spurts.

Though the link between motor control and growth spurts is strong, the researchers note that there may be other factors involved. During adolescence, the teenage body goes through many changes, which the researchers say could also affect motor development.

Source: Medical Daily