It's Great Debate time. Tell us what you think!

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SPRING'S BIG QUESTION:

SHOULD THERE BE PARENTAL LIMITS ON TECH DEVICES?

 

REAGAN SAYS YES!

Yes, I think that parents should limit time on screens.

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Children who spend long periods of time using technology are more prone to obesity. A group of child health specialists have found a link between rising child obesity levels and periodic exposure to social media. According to Dr. Adamos Hadjipanayis, Assistant Professor of Paediatrics, parents should limit the use of computers and similar devices to no more than 90 minutes a day and only if the child is older than four years of age. The average toddler today spends an hour watching TV, says Olivia Petter, author of Parents Should Limit a Childs’ Screen Time. Many children are watching over seven hours of TV a day. Childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking says the American Heart Association. In my opinion, limited screen time will be helpful for children, but there are a few things you should know before cutting it short completely. Chat with your child about what they think is a reasonable amount of screen time. The depth of the conversation will depend on the age of your child. Toddlers to teens will all have their own thoughts; both will likely start with an absurdly high number. But instead of knocking their number out of the way, make a compromise that you both agree to. I agree that limiting tech time will benefit all children and is an action that should be taken. All in all, I believe that adults and children should have limited screen time to benefit their lives as we know it will.

LUCY SAYS NO

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No, I do not think that parents should limit time on tech devices.

For starters, there’s more educational stuff online than everyone seems to think. Kids on their devices aren’t always playing games. Often, we’re doing something for school or just researching something we find interesting. When we didn’t have phones, people had to go to libraries to find information. Now, we have a more immersive and entertaining way of obtaining that same information, so you can see why we’d want to spend more time on our tech devices. Some adults fail to understand how kids socialize on tech devices, too. They are a way of communicating in a way our parents couldn’t. We use them not only to stay in touch with friends but also to have discussions with classmates, and socialize in other ways. 

Secondly, parents of our generation should be able to trust their kids enough to let them manage their own time on tech devices. They should educate them as to the pros and cons of ‘living’ online, and then trust the kid enough to let them make their own decisions about online activity. 

Finally, managing time, both on tech devices and in real life, is an extremely important lifeskill that kids need to learn. If parents take away the ability to make mistakes online, they take away the ability to learn from them, too. 

This is why I believe that parents, or legal guardians, shouldn’t limit time on tech devices

 

So, the big question is, what do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comments and vote below!

THIS IS WHAT MENTAL ILLNESS LOOKS LIKE

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Lindsay Wheeler has battled depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders since the age of 15. She was first diagnosed in her early 20s and has since worked to reclaim the years she lost through treatment and reflective writing. Lindsay is passionate about helping others and works to confront the stigma surrounding mental illness. Here, she tells her story

 

Growing up in a small town in New England, I knew something wasn’t right. At sixteen, everything felt so complicated; the pressure in my head would build until an inevitable breakdown. On the outside, I was social, active, and carefree; but inside, this wasn’t the case. I struggled in school despite having the capacity to excel. I had chronic depression but didn’t have the tools to recognize it yet. Without knowing how to manage the issues I faced, I assumed I just wasn’t good enough. Stigma – which is discrimination against particular identities – also made it difficult to seek help. Fortunately, the culture around depression has changed a lot since then. It was a privilege to have grown up in such an affluent town, but as a young person it can seem like these issues don’t exist. Just as depression can live in the minds of troubled kids from ailing towns, it can also afflict someone from my sort of background.

My anxiety was so extreme at the time that I routinely buried my face in my pillow, hoping I would disappear.

My anxiety was so extreme at the time that I routinely buried my face in my pillow, hoping I would disappear. On my worst mornings, I had to be dragged from the school parking lot because I feared being somewhere I felt so alone. 

I’ve learned that “vulnerable” doesn’t equate to “weak,” and that we should never be ashamed. 
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I fought so hard but couldn’t yet see it as the act of bravery that it was. As kids, we like to think we are invincible, when in reality we are vulnerable in certain ways. I’ve learned that “vulnerable” doesn’t equate to “weak,” and that we should never be ashamed. It simply means we aren’t equipped with the tools to help ourselves heal. As we age, we become consumed with adult concerns and can forget how difficult growing up can be. Bullying, which is far too common, can be so painful, and the pressure to be a particular way is crushing. Social media can exacerbate the problem, where we are encouraged to have a persona that’s inconsistent with lived experience. 

But you live in a society that no longer expects us to be silent about these issues. 

I learned that I am enough as I am.

I began to restrict my eating in high school; a common pattern sometimes called “concurrent mental illness.” It felt like a means to regain the control that depression took from me, and life became a cycle of sadness and guilt. It was a dangerous coping mechanism, and I hid in the depths of a full, but very sad, heart. I wouldn’t seek help until age 21, and by then I had done a lot of damage to my body. I was lucky to have finally realized I didn’t need to be ashamed about the hand I was dealt. I came to not fear the judgment of others because I learned that I am enough as I am. Treatment can look very different to different people, and there are so many different paths to happiness. Throughout my healing process, I realized that good did exist within me; it would just take therapy and hard work for me to be led, through a steady process, to my best self. What once felt like a deep void has been filled with the courage I found when I said, “I am better than this.” 

Today, I am proud to be exactly the person I once needed: a role model who seeks to help others navigate some of what I went through.
 "I saved a puppy along the way, who I believe also saved me."  Lindsay with Tubs.

"I saved a puppy along the way, who I believe also saved me."  Lindsay with Tubs.

Today, I am proud to be exactly the person I once needed: a role model who seeks to help others navigate some of what I went through. Slowly, I learned to channel pain in a healthy way, writing openly about my personal challenges. I write through elation, tears, and loss, finding sudden relief after I put my thoughts on paper. Sharing stories of darkness does not smother the light; in fact, I am following my dreams and laugh more than ever before. I walk fearlessly into the places I once walked out of, and for this – not despite it – I am loved. As I progressed, my mind became flooded with ideas, aspirations, and a newfound sense of motivation. I sing often, cook lavishly, eat real butter, and am even in the early stages of writing a book! I saved a puppy along the way, who I believe also saved me. His name is Tubs and he is a little bit emotionally fragile just like I am. Today, I can say that my fragility is my most respected asset. Mental health issues should bring us together, not tear us apart. 

You are not alone if you are afraid that you can’t share both the good and the bad...

I no longer let worry make me physically sick and I fight for people just like myself, who have trouble seeing the light. I’ve been approached for insight on how others can find a voice like I have. They are unaware that they don’t need me; the power lives in us all. I am astonished by the bravery of each individual because years ago, I was in that place of vulnerability. But no other part of my history has been so worth living for. You are not alone if you are afraid that you can’t share both the good and the bad, but I – one who has seen the impact a voice can have – demand your trust. It’s your turn to fight; for your friends and for yourself.

I still have my share of bad days like anyone else, but twenty difficult years later, I am here to say it can get so much better. My hardest years led me to personal accountability and the endless patience and support of wonderful therapists, friends, and family. I would’ve been skeptical reading this years ago – laughing, crying, maybe closing my computer. But let my voice travel through that cold, glass screen of yours, or reach out to you from this page and earn your trust. My world was once a little grayer and I couldn’t conceive of what life through different eyes might look like. If this is something you or a friend can relate to, there are so many ways to get help. I am among the lucky to have realized it.  

 

Lindsay's powerful and honest blog can be found at

 

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION

 

The National Suicide Prevention Line:

    1 (800) 273-8255

 

NAMI The National Alliance on Mental Illness:

    1 (800) 950-6264

 

Or text “NAMI” to 741741 to find help near you.

 

OK2talk.org Forum for teens to share their feelings and discuss mental health.

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