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

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

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, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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