My Student Calls Out a Mental Health Stigma in a Biased Headline — But Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Blame “The Media”

This morning a journalism student told me a friend in a different class was complaining that “the media” was stigmatizing mental illness in its coverage of yesterday’s mass shooting in California. My student told me she remembered I had mentioned that reporters often don’t write the headlines under which their stories are published, but she wondered what else she might have said. I pointed out that defending vague complaints about…

Jean M. Twenge: "Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness."

What Do Happy Teens Do? Hint: It doesn’t involve their phones.

I was surprised to see how closely happiness maps to non-phone activities, and unhappiness maps to phone-related activities. The author notes that this is a study of correlation, not causation. When I went through moody phases as a teen, I wrote, or worked, or did theater, or church youth group activities.  When I was busy, I had less time to write. When I didn’t feel like going out, and chose…

Russian trolls ‘spreading discord’ over vaccine safety online

The good news is that there are fewer Americans think vaccination is a government conspiracy than your social media stream makes it appear that there are. The bad news is that somewhere out there is an organization that believes it will benefit from you believing that more people doubt vaccinations than really do. “The vast majority of Americans believe vaccines are safe and effective, but looking at Twitter gives the…

Small child propped on her elbows, using laptop computer.

Kids Whose Parents Limit Screen Time Do Worse in College, New Study Shows

  “Parents normally set these rules to promote their children’s scholastic development and to make sure that they invest enough time in schoolwork. But that evidently can also backfire,” commented Hargittai. But why exactly? The study can’t say definitively, but I emailed Hargattai to see what hypotheses she might have. “One possibility would be that such parents also create other rules or different contexts for their children while they are home…

America’s Real Digital Divide

If you think middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time, just consider how much greater the damage is to minority and disadvantaged kids, who spend much more time in front of screens. |  According to a 2011 study by researchers at Northwestern University, minority children watch 50 percent more TV than their white peers, and they use computers for up to one and a half hours longer…