Tech issue or health issue? Pediatricians struggle to guide parents and teens

Tech issue or health issue? Pediatricians struggle to guide parents and teens

Source: The Seattle Times

Your teen’s pediatrician can talk about a good diet, exercise and even tricky stuff like alcohol and safe sex. But what about smartphones, Snapchat and Facebook? “A lot of them are not going to open that Pandora’s Box, either, because it could subvert the clinical visit or because they don’t have the tools to deal with it,” said Bellevue pediatrician and pediatric media adviser Dr. Don Shifrin. I met Shifrin at a Seattle conference of pediatricians and pediatric researchers this month where heads nodded, all around me, to two assertions: that many teen tech issues are also teen health issues, and that many pediatricians have no idea how to address them. It was a good reminder that when technology transforms society at every level, parents are hardly the only ones who have to rethink their roles in response. And when a whole profession needs an upgrade, pushing for change can be slow work. Dr. Megan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Research Institute knows all about it. The director of the social-media research team that put on the conference, Moreno has for years studied the technology issues that can affect teens’ well-being: namely, the host of ways either unbalanced screen time and device use or the wrong shared content can disrupt instead of enhance their mental, physical and emotional health.

About Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit