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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 StudyFinds.

If you think children just sit in front of a computer screen all day, you’re wrong. Most are actually sitting in front of several screens now. Once school ends, a recent study finds two-thirds of children spend their evenings and weekends staring at up to four screens at once. Researchers from the University of Leicester say the worrying trend of “screen stacking” may lead to poor health later on.

Scientists say the habit only adds to the increasingly sedentary lifestyles people are leading. Less physical activity can also lead to the development of diabetes and obesity. Meanwhile, study authors find too much screen time has links to sleep problems as well.

Researchers studied 800 girls between the ages of 11 and 14 during the study. Results show 59 percent use two or more screens right after school. That number grows to 65 percent in the evenings and 68 percent on weekends. More than 90 percent of adolescents in the study either own their own smartphones or have access to one.

“Sadly, this study reminds us that we are in danger of creating a new generation of sedentary children. Increased sedentary time is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, which is increasing in younger age groups,” says Prof. Melanie Davies, co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre. “The number of young people with type 2 diabetes has gone up by 50% in just five years.”

The findings appear in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

Source: Study Finds

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

Bullied and mistreated teens are much more likely to fantasize about hurting or killing others, a new study warns.

"One way to think about fantasies is as our brain rehearsing future scenarios," said lead author Manuel Eisner, director of the University of Cambridge Violence Research Center in the U.K.

His research included more than 1,400 young people in Zurich, Switzerland, who were asked about their thoughts and experiences at ages 15, 17, and 20. Among other things, they were asked whether they'd had violent thoughts in the last month, and the types of bullying or aggression they had faced in the past year.

Researchers also asked about participants' experiences with 23 forms of victimization, including taunts, physical attacks, and sexual harassment by peers; aggressive parenting such as yelling and slapping; and dating violence such as being pressured into sex.

Most reported at least one type of victimization. But being subjected to a range of mistreatment was closely linked with increased thinking about killing, attacking, or humiliating others.

Boys were generally more likely to have violent thoughts, but the effect of multiple types of victimization on violent fantasies was similar in both boys and girls.

The rate of violent fantasies in the last month among 17-year-old boys who had not been victimized in the preceding year was 56%. Every additional type of mistreatment increased the probability of violent fantasies by up to 8%.

Those who reported five forms of victimization had an 85% likelihood of having had violent fantasies. That rose to 97% among those who reported 10 forms of victimization.

Among 17-year-old girls, violent fantasy probability was 23% among those who reported no victimization; 59% among those who reported five types of mistreatment; and 73% in those who said they had suffered 10.

The influence of victimization on violent fantasies didn't lessen as study participants grew up, suggesting that the intensity of this mental health effect may not fade, according to the authors of the study published in the journal Aggressive Behavior.

Source: HealthDay

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

Parents of teens who went through puberty early may be more lenient when it comes to letting them consume alcohol, according to a new Penn State study. But the researchers said that even if adolescents appear more mature, drinking alcohol is still not safe for them.

Rebecca Bucci, a Ph.D. candidate in criminology at Penn State, said the study—published in Child Development—aimed to discover why adolescents who go through puberty early are more likely than their peers to drink alcohol.

"A surprising proportion of parents in our study allowed their early-developing children to drink alcohol at the age of 14—in fact, one in seven," Bucci said. "It is important to remember that early puberty does not mean the child is more advanced in cognitive or brain development. They are not older in years or more socially mature. So allowing them freedoms common for young adults is risky."

According to the researchers, previous studies have found that adolescents who go through puberty early compared to their peers are at a greater risk for problem behaviors, including being two to three times as likely to drink alcohol.

"Parents want to do what is best for their children, and some may wonder whether a child who starts looking older should begin to have some adult freedoms," said Jennifer Maggs, professor of human development and family studies. "Ultimately, we wanted to understand why adolescents who experience puberty at younger ages drink more than others, including factors involving the parents."

The researchers used data from more than 11,000 adolescents in the Millennium Cohort Study—a nationally representative sample of children in the United Kingdom. Data was collected at various checkpoints throughout the children's lives, including information on whether they'd ever drank alcohol, how often they drank, and whether they had ever drank five or more drinks on one day.

They also gathered information about whether the parents permitted alcohol use, as well as the adolescents' "perceived pubertal timing."

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that adolescents who experienced early puberty were more likely to drink at age 14 than their on-time peers.

Girls who went through puberty early were 29% more likely to have ever drank and 55% more likely to frequently drink. Among boys, the results were 22% and 61% more likely, respectively. Boys who developed early were also 78% more likely to have binge drank compared to boys who went through puberty on time.

Additionally, the researchers found that adolescents who experienced earlier puberty were more likely to be allowed to drink by their parents.

Specifically, while 15 percent of parents overall allowed their adolescents to drink alcohol at age 14, this was largely driven by parents of adolescents who went through puberty early—20 percent of those parents allowed their children to drink. Teens who developed early were also more likely to have friends who drank and more likely to be allowed to hang out with peers without adult supervision.

According to the researchers, these factors partially explained why adolescents with early  had higher rates of drinking.

Source: MedicalXpress