The 6 Scariest Myths About How Technology Affects Your Kids (And The Truth Behind Them)
Will technology make my kid fat, dumb, and mean?
Parents have a lot of responsibility. Mainly, keep the kid alive. Next, try to raise a decent human being.
And the messages about media and tech start almost from the moment they’re born: TV will rot your kid’s brain! Video games are evil! Kids don’t know how to have conversations anymore! It all boils down to the idea that too much media and tech will ruin your kid — or make them fat, dumb, and mean. But obviously that’s an oversimplification. The truth is more complicated — and a lot less scary.
Here we break down the scariest media and tech rumors and give you some solid research and simple, no-stress parenting advice.
Rumor #1: TV rots kids’ brains.
Research says: No credible research exists that says screens cause any sort of damage to the brain. It’s pretty clear, though, that having a TV on in the background isn’t good for little kids. It’s been shown to reduce the amount of time kids play and the quality of that play. It also seems to be related to less parent-child talk and interaction, which can have a negative impact on kids’ language development. Television in the bedroom is also a no-no; research shows it affects the quality and amount of sleep kids get, which can affect learning, among other things.
Advice: Turn off the TV unless you’re actively watching it. And keep it out of sleeping areas. Play music — perhaps wordless — if you want some background noise. And set aside time each day, if possible, to actively play with little kids.
Rumor #2: Watching TV or playing video games makes kids fat.
Research says: Some research suggests a connection between watching TV and an increased body mass index. But the numbers seem to point to this being a result of kids being exposed to food advertising, not necessarily being couch potatoes.
Advice: Avoid commercials by using a DVR or choosing videos without ads. Also, teach kids to recognize advertisers’ tricks and marketing techniques, so when they see ads, they can evaluate them critically. Make sure kids get exercise every day, either at school or home. If kids can’t spend time outdoors, find ways to be physically active indoors (create obstacle courses; do kid “boot camps”) and choose active video games or find fun exercise apps or TV shows to enjoy together or for kids to enjoy on their own.
Rumor #3: Cell phone radiation causes cancer.
Research says: Lots of studies have been done, and the results are inconclusive. The research community is still investigating, but there is still no indication that cell phones cause cancer in humans.
Advice: Kids don’t talk on their phones very much — they’re more likely to text or use apps — so even if there were a credible connection between the radio waves emitted from phones and damage to the brain, most kids would be at little risk. If you want to be extra cautious, make sure they aren’t sleeping with their phones under their pillows (not a good idea anyway!).
Rumor #4: Kids use the internet/their phones too much — they’re addicted!
Research says: While plenty of research has been done to try to figure this out, the results are still pretty inconclusive, especially for kids. Certainly, studies show that kids feel addicted, but whether many are experiencing the symptoms of true addiction — interference with daily life, needing more to achieve the same feeling — is still up for debate. Also, no one has defined what “too much” time is.
Advice: Build as much balance into kids’ days and weeks as possible. That means aiming for a mix of screen and non-screen time that includes time with family and friends, reading, exercising, chores, outdoor play, and creative time. If kids seem to be suffering in some area — at school, with friends, with behavior at home — take a look at her daily and weekly activities and adjust accordingly.
Rumor #5: Violent video games make kids violent.
Research says: Heavy exposure to violent media can be a risk factor for violent behavior, according to some — but not all — studies. Children who are exposed to multiple risk factors — including substance abuse, aggression, and conflict at home — and who consume violent media are more likely to behave aggressively.
Advice: Avoid games that are age-inappropriate, especially ones that combine violence with sex. Make media choices that reflect your family’s values; that can mean choosing nonviolent games, limiting the amount of time kids can play certain games, or playing along with kids to help guide them through iffy stuff. Also, as much as possible, limit other risk factors of aggression in kids’ lives.
Rumor #6: Kids don’t know how to have face-to-face conversations anymore.
Research says: Studies on this topic haven’t focused on kids yet, but that data is surely on the horizon. What we know says that many older adults think devices harm conversations, but younger adults aren’t as bothered. A couple studies have also found that the absence of devices (at summer camps or during one-on-one conversations) can inspire emotional awareness. What that means about the ability to have a conversation is unclear.
Advice: Make sure kids get experience having face-to-face conversations with family members, friends, and others, such as teachers, coaches, or clergy. Teach kids proper etiquette, including not staring at a phone while someone else is talking. Model the behavior you want to see. But also accept that digital communication is here to stay. Embrace it and use it with your kid. And don’t criticize kids for using it appropriately, even if it’s not your preferred method of communication.
See more: 10 Fruits & Vegetables Peels That Should Go In Your BELLY… Not The Bin!
In all likelihood, the first thing you do when you eat an orange is tear off that thick peel and throw it straight into the garbage. Guess what? You’re missing out on a lot of nutrients. The peel of an orange has nearly twice as much vitamin C as the flesh inside. And though it may seem gross at first, there are plenty of tasty ways you can eat orange peels if you’re willing to get a little creative.
The same is true of lots of fruits and veggies; the peel is often the most nutritious part, and can be eaten despite what you think. Bananas? Yep. Watermelon? Sounds unbelievable, but it’s true: that rind is great for you. Here are 10 foods with powerful peels you should be eating, along with suggestions for how to add them to your diet.
A banana’s peel contains way more fiber than its flesh, and is likewise richer in potassium.
The peel also contains lutein, a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in maintaining healthy eye function. An amino acid called tryptophan is more highly concentrated in the peel than the insides. Among other things, tryptophan is believed to ease depression by increasing the body’s levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that affects mood.
Although the peel has a bitter taste and tough, ropey consistency most people aren’t used to, an overripe banana (brown or black) becomes thinner, sweeter and easier to chew. You can also put the peel (ripe or overripe) through a juicer with the rest of the banana. Or you can boil the peel for several minutes to make it softer, or throw it in the frying pan. If you want to get really creative, bake a banana peel in the oven for 20 minutes or so, or until it becomes dried out, then use it to make tea.
You’ve probably been spooning out the green flesh inside for years, but a kiwi’s fuzzy exterior is also edible. In fact, the skin contains more flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamin C than the insides—and double the fiber. So ditch the spoon, wash the kiwi and eat it like a peach. If you find the fuzz unappetizing, scrape it off first.
Since the skin of a carrot is the same color as what’s directly beneath it (like a tomato or a red pepper), the peel and its flesh have similar nutritional properties. However, the highest concentration of phytonutrients is found in a carrot’s skin or immediately underneath. Just rinse the carrot thoroughly rather than peeling it.
The dark green skin contains the majority of a cucumber’s antioxidants, insoluble fiber and potassium. The cucumber peel also holds most of its vitamin K. The next time you have a Greek salad, ask the chef not to peel your cukes.
A potato’s skin packs more nutrients—iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C—ounce-for-ounce than the rest of the potato. For example, 100 grams of potato peel packs seven times more calcium and 17 times more iron than the same amount of potato flesh. Ditch the skin and you’ll also lose up to 90 percent of a potato’s iron content and half of its fiber.
And don’t forget the skin of a sweet potato is loaded with a significant amount of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A during digestion. Vitamin A is essential for cell health and immune system regulation, and it is extremely useful in maintaining organ function.
6. Citrus (Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruits, Limes)
The peel of an orange packs in twice as much vitamin C as what’s inside. It also contains higher concentrations of riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The peel’s flavonoids have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. (Citrus fruit also boosts iron absorption.)
As nutritious as citrus peels are, you’re unlikely to start eating oranges whole. The entire peel is bitter and difficult to digest. Instead, grate the peel using a microplane or another tool and sprinkle it on top of salads, or in a vinaigrette dressing. Citrus shavings make a good pairing with ice cream and chocolate as well.
An eggplant’s purple hue comes from a powerful antioxidant called nasunin, which helps protect against cancerous development, especially in the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Nasunin is also believed to have anti-aging properties.
Eggplant skin is also rich in chlorogenic acid, a phytochemical that boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and also promotes glucose tolerance. Although the eggplant interior contains chlorogenic acid, it’s much more prevalent in the skin.
Researchers found that mango skin contains properties similar to resveratrol, which helps burn fat and inhibits the production of mature fat cells. Mango flesh extracts were also tested, but did not produce the same results, which suggests that one needs to eat mango skin in order to get this beneficial property.
A mango’s peel also contains larger quantities of carotenoids, polyphenols, omega-3, omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids than its flesh. Another study found compounds more heavily concentrated in mango’s skin that fight off cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Mango skin also has quercetin.
The skin of a mango can be eaten raw, or cooked along with the insides. Another way to eat both flesh and skin is to pickle the entire mango.
Like apple skin and mango skin, the outside of an onion’s skin contains quercetin. Although that skin is not directly edible, you can draw out some of those nutrients by adding it to stock.
The skin of an apple contains about half of the apple’s overall dietary fiber content. A medium apple also delivers 9 milligrams of vitamin C, 100 IUs of vitamin A, and 200 grams of potassium. By removing the peel, you lose about a third of those nutrients. The peel also has four times more vitamin K than its flesh; about 5 percent of your daily value. Vitamin K—also prevalent in meat and in spinach and other green veggies—helps you form blood clots that patch you up when you have a bad scrape and helps activate the proteins your body needs for cell growth and healthy bone maintenance.
An apple’s skin boasts potential benefits beyond its vitamin content. An antioxidant called quercetin, found mostly in the apple’s skin, can help lung function, ease breathing problems and protect your lungs from irritants. Quercetin is also believed to fight off brain tissue damage and protect your memory.
One study identified another compound that’s found primarily in the peel, called triterpenoids, which appears to inhibit or kill certain types of cancer cells throughout the body. And the ursolic acid in apple skin has been shown by studies to stimulate muscle growth, increase skeletal muscle and decrease risk of obesity.
See also: 9 Genius Kitchen Hacks That Will Keep Your Food Fresher For Longer
Grocery shopping can be a real chore, so it’s nice to limit the amount of times you have to do it by buying as much produce in one go as possible. However, this means that the food you buy has to last longer, and some fresh products just aren’t up to such a task! Luckily, these easy tips will help you store many common food items in a way that keeps them fresher for longer, saving you time and money!
1. Store Your Avocados with Onion
If you are sick of your luscious, healthy avocados going brown too quickly, then try this simple trick to keep them fresh for longer. Store them in an airtight container but place a couple of slices of onion in with them. Keep the container in the fridge to ensure that the fruits stay moist for several days. It turns out that the enzymes in onion that make you cry when you cut them, are also excellent for preserving avocados!
2. Wash Your Berries in Vinegar
You probably just throw your punnets of fresh berries straight into the fridge when you get them home from the market or store. But if you want them to stay fresh for longer, then give them a bath in some vinegar first. Mix one cup vinegar for every three cups of water to create your preserving solution, and bathe the berries thoroughly. Dry them off by spinning them in a colander (or similar) lined with paper towels. Store the berries in a container lined with paper, but leave the lid slightly open so moisture can escape.
3. Always Separate Your Bananas and Wrap the Stems in Cling Film
Bananas are prone to going brown and soft annoyingly quickly, once you have them home. However, there is a simple way you can keep them fresh for longer! They may look good when you put them in your fruit bowl as a whole bunch, but you should separate each banana and then wrap the top of the individual stems in cling film. This slows the release of of ethylene gas, which is responsible for the enzymatic browning and ripening of a banana, and any fruit around it. Bananas can last for two weeks using this technique!
4. Store Your Cartons of Ice Cream in Plastic Bags
When you are craving ice-cream, it’s a bit depressing to crack open that carton you have been keeping in your fridge and find that it’s frozen rock-solid and full of ice. If this sort of ‘freezer burn’ happens, the ice-cream will rarely be the same again, so you need a solution – and there’s a really easy one! Just store the cartons of ice-cream in sealed freezer bags and your ice-cream will remain soft and delicious!
5. Store Your Green Leaves With Paper Towels
If you buy lettuce regularly, you will know it doesn’t take long for leaves to wilt, slime over and eventually dry up. If you want to preserve their crispness, then simply line an airtight, plastic container with paper towels, and pop your lettuce leaves inside. Put another paper towel on top before you put the lid onto the container. The paper towel will absorb the excess moisture and preserve the greens inside. This technique is a much better option than the use of a plastic bag.
6. Store Potatoes with Apples
Potatoes sprout when left in a cupboard for too long, and you can end up throwing them out, wasting both food and money. If you are looking for a solution to this common issue, then look no further than your fruit bowl! If you put an apple or two in storage with your potatoes, then you will find they take much longer to sprout. Nobody knows why for sure, but it works, so throw in an apple to save your potatoes!
7. Use Ice Cube Trays to Store Leftover Sauce
It doesn’t matter how many times I make the same dish, you can guarantee that I will always make too much sauce. It’s never nice to throw food away, but it can seem pointless to store sauce on its own. One easy storage trick can help though! Take an ice-cube tray of reasonable size and fill the separate sections with the sauce, before putting the tray in the freezer. Next time you are feeling too lazy to cook from scratch or need a quick fix to liven up some pasta, simply squeeze out the cubes into a pan and heat them for a few minutes to create another delicious meal.
8. Heat Your Honey to Get Rid of Crystals
Honey is a long lasting food product, but it can pick up hard crystals when it’s stored for a long time. You can correct this issue by heating the honey in a pan over a medium heat. The process will dissolve the crystals so that the honey remains good for use. Remember that honey should always be stored in a cupboard rather than the fridge, as cold temperatures can encourage the crystallization process.
9. If Your Fruit Has a Stone, Store it Outside the Fridge
The fridge always seems like the most logical place to store perishable goods, but it simply isn’t appropriate for all foods. Fruits that have a stone at the centre – such as peaches, plums and nectarines – are much better off at room temperature and will last much longer out in the open. You should store them in a bowl, but make sure their stems are facing downwards. Do not keep them in plastic packaging as that will encourage them to ripen too quickly and could even cause mold to grow.