Mathematica Policy Research report: Poor kindergarteners NOT READY for school

17 Jul

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Rebecca Klein of the Huffington Post reported in the article, This Is How Behind Low-Income Children Can Be When They Enter Kindergarten:

A new analysis from Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group behind Sesame Street, looked at how four risk factors impacted the abilities of kindergarten students right as they entered school. The risk factors included whether:
• the child lived in a home where English was not the primary spoken language
• the child lived in a single-parent household
• the child’s mother had less than a high school education
• the child’s family lived with an income below the federal poverty line
The analysis looked at data from The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11. The study, which was funded by the Department of Education, followed a nationally representative sample of 18,000 kindergarteners — “both children in kindergarten for the first time and kindergarten repeaters” — though fifth grade.
Of the 15,000 students who had entered kindergarten for the first time, Sesame Workshop found that 44 percent had one or more risk factor. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more risk factors a child had, the worse he or she did in math and reading school readiness assessments… Children with more risk factors also did worse on tasks that measured memory…..
The analysis found that students who had all four risk factors — dubbed high-risk children — were almost a year behind their risk factor-free peers in reading and math.
“To catch up, high-risk children would need to make almost twice as much progress during kindergarten as low-risk children,” the study said.
Still, students with these risk factors are often concentrated in the same classrooms. Other reports that have analyzed the same data have noted that kindergarten classrooms are largely segregated by race and poverty.
And finally, according to teacher reports, students with more risk factors were less ready for kindergarten. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/16/kindergarten-risk-factors_n_5589450.html

Here is the press release from Mathematica Policy Research:

ANALYSIS OF KINDERGARTENERS SHOWS WIDE DIFFERENCES IN SCHOOL READINESS SKILLS
Sesame Workshop Releases Educational Framework After Study Reveals More Than 40% of Children Enter Classrooms with One or More Factors That Can Negatively Affect School Success
New research shows there is still a strong relationship between socio-economic factors and how well American children fare when entering kindergarten. In fact, a new study finds 44 percent of children enter kindergarten with one or more risk factors based on their home environment. These risk factors are incrementally associated with lower school readiness scores for children than for those with no such circumstances. Despite an increase in programs to level the playing field by giving disadvantaged children opportunities for preschool education, these gaps persist.
The findings are part of the Kindergartners’ Skills at School Entry report released today by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. The report, commissioned by the Workshop and written by Mathematica Policy Research, provides an analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 focusing on the school readiness and abilities of beginning kindergartners.
“Preparing children for school has been part of Sesame Workshop’s mission since the beginning,” said Dr. Jennifer Kotler Clarke, Vice President, Research & Evaluation, Sesame Workshop. “There has not been an examination of children’s school readiness of this magnitude in more than 10 years and it’s important to us to understand the needs of children as they enter school. Given the risk factors children face, which put them at a disadvantage for school success, we are continuing to find ways to use our educational content to help change these outcomes.”
The analysis examined four risk factors that have been shown to affect children’s development and school achievement: single parent households, mothers with less than a high school education, households with incomes below the federal poverty line, and non-English speaking households. High-risk children (those with all four risk factors) were found to be almost a year behind their peers with no risk factors in their reading and math abilities.
The researchers also created composite readiness scores based on teacher ratings of children’s academic and social skills. Based on the researchers’ calculation, less than one-third of children were rated by teachers as “in-progress” or better on both reading and math skills.
“These nationally representative data show that at-risk children start kindergarten well behind their more advantaged peers,” notes Jerry West, Senior Fellow at Mathematica and director of the study. “The evidence points to an opportunity to better support their healthy development before they enter kindergarten.”
Sesame Workshop is sharing its Sesame Street Framework for School Readiness in response to the findings of the Kindergartners’ Skills analysis. The Framework is a guide for content developers to use to better understand the features of a typical developmentally age-appropriate content experience in relation to the fundamental school readiness skills. Developed by the Workshop’s Education and Research Department, the Framework describes the developmental progressions across the preschool years for specific curriculum objectives within the 20 core school readiness skills. It guides Sesame Street content across all media platforms, as part of the organization’s mission to help children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. The Workshop is also encouraging developers to use this resource to enhance the educational benefits of their content.
Based on the findings of the analysis, Sesame Workshop will convene an advisory meeting with experts in education and child development to discuss potential uses for Sesame Street’s library of content, as well as other actions that can support school readiness and academic success.
Kindergartners’ Skills at School Entry uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which is a national examination of about 15,000 children who entered kindergarten in fall 2010, and uses direct child assessments in addition to interviews with parents, teachers and school administrators. The study will follow children through the fifth grade. The ECLS is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Delivered through a variety of platforms, including television programs, digital experiences, books, and community engagement, its research-based programs are tailored to the needs of the communities and countries they serve. For more information, visit http://www.sesameworkshop.org.
Contacts
Jodi Lefkowitz, Sesame Workshop, 212-875-6497, Jodi.lefkowitz@sesame.org
Joanne Pfleiderer, Mathematica, 609-275-2372, jpfleiderer@mathematica-mpr.com
About Mathematica:
Mathematica Policy Research seeks to improve public well-being by conducting studies and assisting clients with program evaluation and policy research, survey design and data collection, research assessment and interpretation, and program performance/data management. Its clients include foundations, federal and state governments, and private-sector and international organizations. The employee-owned company, with offices in Princeton, NJ; Ann Arbor, MI; Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; Oakland, CA; and Washington, DC, has conducted some of the most important studies of health care, international development, disability, education, family support, employment, nutrition, and early childhood policies and programs.

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are.

Related:

Baby sign language http://drwilda.com/2013/07/28/baby-sign-language/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum http://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement http://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important http://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better http://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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New York University study: 18% of higher income kids smoke Hookah

7 Jul

Douglas Quenqua reported in the New York Times article, Putting A Crimp In the Hookah about hookah.

Kevin Shapiro, a 20-year-old math and physics major at the University of Pennsylvania, first tried a hookah at a campus party. He liked the exotic water pipe so much that he chipped in to buy one for his fraternity house, where he says it makes a useful social lubricant at parties.
Like many other students who are embracing hookahs on campuses nationwide, Mr. Shapiro believes that hookah smoke is less dangerous than cigarette smoke because it “is filtered through water, so you get fewer solid particles….”
Many young adults are misled by the sweet, aromatic and fruity quality of hookah smoke, which causes them to believe it is less harmful than hot, acrid cigarette smoke. In fact, because a typical hookah session can last up to an hour, with smokers typically taking long, deep breaths, the smoke inhaled can equal 100 cigarettes or more, according to a 2005 study by the World Health Organization.
That study also found that the water in hookahs filters out less than 5 percent of the nicotine. Moreover, hookah smoke contains tar, heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals. An additional hazard: the tobacco in hookahs is heated with charcoal, leading to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide, even for people who spend time in hookah bars without actually smoking, according to a recent University of Florida study. No surprise, then, that several studies have linked hookah use to many of the same diseases associated with cigarette smoking, like lung, oral and bladder cancer, as well as clogged arteries, heart disease and adverse effects during pregnancy. And because hookahs are meant to be smoked communally — hoses attached to the pipe are passed from one smoker to the next — they have been linked with the spread of tuberculosis, herpes and other infections…

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/health/31hookah.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Kids mistakenly think hookah is safe.

Anthony Rivas reported in the Medical Daily article, 1 In 5 High School Seniors Smoke Hookah;

Educating Them About Its Harms Is Crucial:
There’s no questioning the stigma cigarette smoking has developed over the past couple of decades. The health risks associated with smoking has led to large declines in the amount of smokers in the U.S. since the 1970s, dropping from around 40 percent to about 18 percent of adults. But as always, as one popular vice fades away, another one gains steam — or in this case, smoke. Now, a new study from New York University has determined how popular hookah smoking has become among high school seniors.
Traditionally from the Middle East, hookah involves smoking flavored tobacco from a large water pipe. It’s become increasingly popular in North America and other parts of the world, in part, because it’s believed to be less harmful to the body — the tobacco is considered to be milder. However, that’s not entirely the case because hookah smokers tend to take more puffs in one session, resulting in similar, if not worse effects than smoking.
The NYU researchers’ study involved data from the Monitoring the Future nationwide study, which follows teens’ behaviors, values, and attitudes. Of the almost 15,000 kids aged 18 involved in the study, 5,540 were questioned about their hookah use between 2010 and 2012. They discovered that 18 percent, or almost one in five high school seniors, had smoked hookah within the 12 months prior to being surveyed.
Interestingly, they also found that “students of higher socioeconomic status appear to be more likely to use hookah,” said Dr. Joseph Palamar, assistant professor of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center, in a press release. “Surprisingly, students with more educated parents or higher personal income are at high risk for use. We also found that hookah use is more common in cities, especially big cities. So hookah use is much different from cigarette use, which is more common in non-urban areas….” http://www.medicaldaily.com/1-5-high-school-seniors-smoke-hookah-educating-them-about-its-harms-crucial-291584

Citation:

Hookah Use Among US High School Seniors
1. Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPHa,
2. Sherry Zhou, BAb,
3. Scott Sherman, MD, MPHa, and
4. Michael Weitzman, MDb
+ Author Affiliations
1. Departments of aPopulation Health, and
2. bPediatrics and Environmental Medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, New York
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Prevalence of hookah use is increasing significantly among adolescents. This study aimed to delineate demographic and socioeconomic correlates of hookah use among high school seniors in the United States. We hypothesized that more impoverished adolescents and those who smoked cigarettes would be more likely to use hookahs.
METHODS: Data were examined for 5540 high school seniors in Monitoring the Future (years 2010–2012), an annual nationally representative survey of high school students in the United States. Using data weights provided by Monitoring the Future, we used multivariable binary logistic regression to delineate correlates of hookah use in the last 12 months.
RESULTS: Eighteen percent of students reported hookah use in the past year. Compared with white students, black students were at lower odds for use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.27, P < .0001). High parent education increased the odds for use (AOR = 1.58, P $50/week (AOR = 1.26, P < .05) or $11 to $50 per week from other sources (AOR = 1.35, P < .01) also increased odds for use. Males and urban students were also at higher odds for use, as were users of alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Former cigarette smokers were at higher risk, and current smokers were at highest risk for use.
CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents of higher socioeconomic status appear to be at particularly high risk for hookah use in the United States. Prevention efforts must target this group as prevalence continues to increase. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/07/01/peds.2014-0538.full.pdf+html

Here is the press release from New York University:

Jul 6 at 10:26 PM
PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
7-Jul-2014
[ Print | E-mail ] Share [ Close Window ]

Contact: Lorinda Klein
lorindaann.klein@nyumc.org
212-404-3533
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
NYU researchers find 18 percent of high school seniors smoke hookah
Higher socioeconomic status associated with higher rates of hookah use
New York, NY – July 7, 2014 – While cigarette use is declining precipitously among youth, evidence indicates that American adolescents are turning to ethnically-linked alternative tobacco products, such as hookahs, cigars, and various smokeless tobacco products, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Now a new study by researchers affiliated with New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), in the August 2014 edition of Pediatrics identifies how prevalent Hookah use is and which teens are most likely to be using it.
The study, “Hookah Use Among U.S. High School Seniors,” published online July 7, used data from Monitoring the Future (MTF), a nation-wide ongoing annual study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students. The MTF survey is administered in approximately 130 public and private schools throughout 48 states in the US. Roughly 15,000 high school seniors are assessed annually. This study examined data from the 5,540 students (modal age = 18) who were asked about Hookah use from 2010-2012. The researchers found the annual prevalence (use in the last 12 months) of hookah use was nearly 1 in 5 high school seniors.
“What we find most interesting is that students of higher socioeconomic status appear to be more likely to use hookah,” said Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, a CDUHR affiliated researcher and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC). “Surprisingly, students with more educated parents or higher personal income are at high risk for use. We also found that hookah use is more common in cities, especially big cities. So hookah use is much different from cigarette use, which is more common in non-urban areas.”
Hookah, an ancient form of smoking, in which charcoal-heated tobacco or non-tobacco based shisha smoke is passed through water before inhalation, is rapidly gaining popularity among adolescents in the US. The researchers found those students who smoked cigarettes, and those who had ever used alcohol, marijuana or other illicit substances were more likely to use hookah.
“Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke are the leading preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the US,” said a study co-author Michael Weitzman, MD, a professor of Pediatrics and of Environmental Medicine at the NYULMC. “Cigarette use has decreased by 33% in the past decade in the US, while the use of alternative tobacco products such as hookahs has increased an alarming 123%. This is especially worrisome given the public misperception that hookahs are a safe alternative to cigarettes whereas evidence suggests that they are even more damaging to health than are cigarettes.”
While the US is experiencing an alarming increase in hookah use among adolescents, Dr. Palamar does point out that “Use tends to be much different from traditional cigarette smoking. Right now it appears that a lot of hookah use is more ritualistic, used occasionally–for example, in hookah bars, and not everyone inhales.”
“However, times are beginning to change,” notes Dr. Palamar. “Now something called hookah pens, which are similar to e-cigarettes, are gaining popularity. While not all hookah pens contain nicotine, this new delivery method might normalize hookah use in everyday settings and bring use to a whole new level.”
Researchers note that social stigma toward cigarette use appears to have played a large part in the recent decrease in rates of use, but they caution that it is doubtful these new hookah pens are frowned upon as much as cigarettes. Hookah pens also come in trendy designs and colors, which may be appealing to both adolescents and adults.
“These nifty little devices are likely to attract curious consumers, possibly even non-cigarette smokers,” said Dr. Palamar. “And unlike cigarettes, hookah comes in a variety of flavors and is less likely to leave users smelling like cigarette smoke after use. This may allow some users to better conceal their use from their parents or peers.”
Researchers conclude increased normalization might lead to increases in use, and possibly adverse consequences associated with repeated use. “This portends a potential epidemic of a lethal habit growing among upper and middle class adolescents,” said Dr. Weitzman. They stress that it is crucial for educators and public health officials to fill in the gaps in public understanding about the harm of hookah smoking.
###
Researcher Affiliations: Joseph J. Palamar, PhD–NYULMC, Department of Population Health; NYU CDUHR; Sherry Zhou, MD, MSc 2015, NYULMC, Departments of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine; Scott Sherman, MD, MPH, NYULMC, Department of Population Health; Michael Weitzman, MD, NYULMC, Departments of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine.
Declaration of Interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.
Acknowledgements: This project was not funded. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, and Monitoring the Future principal investigators, had no role in analysis, interpretation of results, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Monitoring the Future data were collected through a research grant (R01 DA-01411) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the principal investigators, NIH or NIDA
About CDUHR
CDUHR, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is the first center for the socio-behavioral study of substance use and HIV in the United States. The Center is dedicated to increasing the understanding of the substance use-HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly among individuals in high-risk contexts. The Center’s theme is “Discovery to Implementation & Back: Research Translation for the HIV/Substance Use Epidemic.” The Center facilitates the development of timely new research efforts, enhances implementation of funded projects and disseminates information to researchers, service providers and policy makers.
About NYU Langone Medical Center
NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated academic medical center, is one of the nation’s premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research, and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of four hospitals—Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; Rusk Rehabilitation; the Hospital for Joint Diseases, the Medical Center’s dedicated inpatient orthopaedic hospital; and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, a comprehensive pediatric hospital supporting a full array of children’s health services across the Medical Center—plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The Medical Center’s tri-fold mission to serve, teach, and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education, and research. For more information, go to http://www.NYULMC.org, and interact with us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
About New York University College of Nursing
NYU College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs, a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. For more information, visit https://nursing.nyu.edu/
Contact: Lorinda Klein, NYULMC | 212.404.3533 |917.693.4846 LorindaAnn.Klein@nyumc.org
Christopher James, CDUHR | 212.998.6876 | christopher.james@nyu.edu

As with a many issues adolescents face, it is important for parents and guardians to know what is going on in their children’s lives. You should know who your children’s friends are and how these friends feel about smoking, drugs, and issues like sex. You should also know how the parents of your children’s friends feel about these issues. Do they smoke, for example, or are they permissive in allowing their children to use alcohol and/or other drugs. Are these values in accord with your values?

Resources:

1. A History of Tobacco http://archive.tobacco.org/History/Tobacco_History.html

2. American Lung Association’s Smoking and Teens Fact Sheet Women and Tobacco Use
African Americans and Tobacco Use
American Indians/Alaska Natives and Tobacco Use
Hispanics and Tobacco Use
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and Tobacco Use
Military and Tobacco Use
Children/Teens and Tobacco Use
Older Adults and Tobacco Use http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/specific-populations.html

3. Center for Young Women’s Health A Guide for Teens

http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/smokeinfo.html

4. Kroger Resources Teens and Smoking

http://kroger.staywellsolutionsonline.com/Wellness/Smoking/Teens/

5. Teens Health’s Smoking

http://kidshealth.org/teen/drug_alcohol/tobacco/smoking.html

6. Quit Smoking Support.com http://www.quitsmokingsupport.com/teens.htm

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A diploma mill may derail your dreams

3 Jul

Many people are unemployed or underemployed and they seek additional education to improve their employment chances. Not all education opportunities will benefit one’s future and diploma mills may derail your future prospects. Scott Mc Lemee wrote in the Inside Higher Education article, A Degree of Fraud:

It’s surprising how many house pets hold advanced degrees. Last year, a dog received his M.B.A. from the American University of London, a non-accredited distance-learning institution. It feels as if I should add “not to be confused with the American University in London,” but getting people to confuse them seems like a pretty basic feature of the whole AUOL marketing strategy.
The dog, identified as “Peter Smith” on his diploma, goes by Pete. He was granted his degree on the basis of “previous experiential learning,” along with payment of £4500. The funds were provided by a BBC news program, which also helped Pete fill out the paperwork. The American University of London required that Pete submit evidence of his qualifications as well as a photograph. The applicant submitted neither, as the BBC website explains, “since the qualifications did not exist and the applicant was a dog.”
The program found hundreds of people listing AUOL degrees in their profiles on social networking sites, including “a senior nuclear industry executive who was in charge of selling a new generation of reactors in the UK.” (For more examples of suspiciously credentialed dogs and cats, see this list.)
Inside Higher Ed reports on diploma mills and fake degrees from time to time but can’t possibly cover every revelation that some professor or state official has a bogus degree, or that a “university” turns out to be run by a convicted felon from his prison cell. Even a blog dedicated to the topic, Diploma Mill News http://diplomamillnews.blogspot.com/ , links to just a fraction of the stories out there. Keeping up with every case is just too much; nobody has that much Schaudenfreude in them…. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/01/29/mills#sthash.KUHA4NFD.dpbs

Jennifer Williamson wrote, Six Signs Your Online School is a Diploma Mill for Distance Education.Org:

There are two common types of diploma mills. The first will simply mail you a degree for a fee of a few hundred dollars. They sometimes ask to see your resume first, and will pretend to vet you for “life experience credit.” Of course, everybody who applies gets enough life experience credit to earn an entire degree.
The second type will actually require some work, but it will be minimal. Your dissertation may be five pages long instead of fifty, and you’ll be able to earn a degree in months, not years. These diploma mills are a bit more dangerous than the first type, because they more closely resemble legitimate schools. However, there are still a few warning signs:
Lightning-Fast Degrees
It should take you four years to earn an undergraduate degree, two or three years to earn a Master’s degree, and another three to five—depending on the subject—to earn a Ph.D. Many diploma mills claim you can earn degrees in months, not years. Be cautious if a school you’re considering is making this claim.
Bogus Accreditation
Legitimate schools are reviewed by accreditation agencies: third-party nonprofits that hold schools to rigorous standards. There are six regional accreditors, and it’s best to go to a school that lists one of these as its accrediting agency.
Many online schools are accredited by one of a long list of national agencies in the U.S. instead. National accreditors are not always considered as rigorous as regional accreditors, but they are still legitimate.
The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) maintains a database of legitimately accredited schools. You can also check our list of regional, national, and known illegitimate accreditors. If the accrediting agency listed by your school is in the third category—or if it isn’t on this list at all—it’s probably a diploma mill.
They Charge per Degree
Legitimate schools charge per credit hour, per course, or per semester. Diploma mills often charge by degree. Some offer discounts if you order a second degree, which a legitimate school would never do. A small handful of legitimate schools do offer programs for a flat fee, but it’s rare.
It’s Easy To Get Credit For Life Experience
Some diploma mills will ask you to send in your resume, and will give you almost unlimited credits for life experience. In some cases, you can get all the credits you need for a degree through life experience. Just pay the school’s fees—usually a few hundred dollars or so—and they’ll mail you a degree.
This is tricky, because legitimate schools offer life experience credits as well. But it’s very rare to be able to earn your entire degree through life experience credit—and impossible with a post-graduate degree.
In addition, they’ll ask to see more than your resume to prove your competence. Legitimate schools will ask you to assemble a prior learning portfolio, write personal essays, take standardized tests, or undergo an interview process to determine whether you’ve really earned those life experience credits.
The Work Required Is Minimal
If you’re required to read a few articles, write a few simple papers, and hand in a five-page dissertation at the end, it’s not likely you’ve learned enough to earn a legitimate degree.
The School Is Located In A State With Little Regulation
Some states make it easier for diploma mills to operate than others. Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming are all common locations for diploma mills, because of loopholes in local law or lax regulation. Of course, there are many legitimate schools located in these states as well. But if your school looks suspicious already, check to see if it’s based in one of these states. If it is, it may be a bad sign.

http://www.distance-education.org/Articles/Six-Signs-Your-Online-School-is-a-Diploma-Mill-30.html#.T5RbdgbZ8tI.email

Ulinks has 16 Key Questions to Ask a Vocational School http://www.ulinks.com/vocationalschools-tradeschools.htm

The Missouri Department of Higher Education defines a “diploma mill” as:

What is a “diploma mill?”
A dictionary definition is “an unaccredited school or college that grants relatively worthless diplomas, as for a fee.”
Alternatively, a diploma mill might be described as an institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or, because of the lack of proper standards, worthless…. standards. http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/diplomamills.php

The key point is “diploma mills” have few standards.

How to Spot a Diploma Mill?

There is an excellent article at ELearners.Com which tells you how to spot a “diploma mill.”

They often have names similar to well-known colleges or universities, but fail to mention an accrediting agency or name a fake accrediting agency.
The organization frequently changes addresses, sometimes moving from state to state.
Written materials typically include numerous spelling and grammatical errors, sometimes on the diploma itself.
Overemphasis on the speed and brevity with which someone can receive a degree (e.g. “Call now and have your degree shipped to you overnight!”).
Degrees can be earned in far less time than normal (e.g. 27 days) or the diploma is printed with a specific backdate.
There is no selectivity in admissions, or any questions about previous test scores or detailed academic history.
No interaction with professors or faculty (e.g. only two emails are received from a professor).
Degree requirements are vague or unspecified, lacking class descriptions and without any mention of how many credit hours are required to complete a program.
Tuition and fees are typically on a per-degree basis.
Grade point average (GPA) and academic honors (e.g. Summa Cum Laude) can be specified at the time of purchase. http://www.elearners.com/online-education-resources/degrees-and-programs/diploma-mills/

Buyer beware, if it seems too easy and too good to be true, you probably should investigate the accreditation of the school.

What to Do If You are enrolled in a Diploma Mill?

The first step is not to enroll in a diploma mill in the first place. Jennifer Williamson of Distance-Education.org wrote the great article, What to Do If You’re Enrolled in a Diploma Mill:

But maybe you didn’t spot these signs up front—for whatever reason—and you’ve been fooled by a diploma mill into parting with your money. While it’s not likely you’ll get your money back, there are a few things you can do.
First: stop giving them your money
If you’re involved in paying tuition with the school, stop paying immediately.
Do not, under any circumstance, list the degree on your resume
List an unaccredited degree on your resume and you not only risk your reputation—you risk your job. It’s better not to have a degree at all than to have a degree from a diploma mill—and companies do check these credentials, sometimes years after the person has been hired.
Ask for a refund in writing
If you’re sure you’re enrolled in a diploma mill, send a letter immediately requesting a refund of all tuition money you’ve paid. Send it by registered mail, explain why you want the refund, and make a copy for your own records. It’s doubtful that the diploma mill will send back your money, but it’s worth a shot—and the letter may be useful if you want to take your complaint to court.
Notify the authorities
Tell your state’s attorney general office what’s happened—there should be a way to file complaints on the attorney general’s website. It’s possible that the attorney general’s office will choose to go after the diploma mill.
Report to the Better Business Bureau
Reporting to the Better Business Bureau is a good move because it will serve to warn other potential students about the school. The reporting process only takes a few minutes and can be done entirely online, and the Bureau may be able to help you resolve the complaint.
If you’ve been had by a diploma mill, you don’t have a lot of options. But you can go public with your grievance and it’s possible law enforcement will decide to go after the school. Tell your attorney general and notify the Better Business Bureau. Stop doing assignments and paying tuition to the school. Send a registered letter outlining the reason why you want a refund, but don’t count on getting your money back. Don’t list your unaccredited degree on your resume or try to let your employer think your degree is real. If you do, you could experience some negative repercussions. http://www.distance-education.org/Articles/What-to-Do-If-You-re-Enrolled-in-a-Diploma-Mill-220.html

If you have been sucked into a diploma mill scheme, at the federal level, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can go to Federal Trade Commission Complaint http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0206-diploma-mills and you can report fraud to your state. Consumer Fraud Reporting.Org lists how to contact your state attorney general. http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/stateattorneygenerallist.php

During periods of crisis or uncertainty the scam artists emerge and try to take advantage of the unsuspecting. Before making a decision about any school, students, parents, and guardians must research the options.

Resources:
Diploma Mill Degrees Too Good to Be True http://www.cmn.com/2012/06/diploma-mill-degrees-too-good-to-be-true/

How to Spot a Diploma Mill

http://www.onlinecollegedegrees.net/avoiding-cheap-education

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © http://drwilda.com/

University of Southern California study: Teen who receive sexts six times more likely to engage in sex

1 Jul

We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others. Common Sense Media has some great resources for parents about teaching children how to use media responsibly. Their information Talking About “Sexting” is excellent.

That picture’s not as private as you think
• 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves over the Internet or their phones.
• 22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive.
• 38% of teens say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely.
• 29% of teens believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.
• (All of the above are from CosmoGirl and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2009.)
Advice for Parents
• Don’t wait for an incident to happen to your child or your child’s friend before you talk about the consequences of sexting. Sure, talking about sex or dating with teens can be uncomfortable, but it’s better to have the talk before something happens.
• Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved — and they will lose control of it. Ask teens how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.
• Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
• Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. It’s better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they’re distributing pornography — and that’s against the law.
• Check out ThatsNotCool.com. It’s a fabulous site that gives kids the language and support to take texting and cell phone power back into their own hands. It’s also a great resource for parents who are uncomfortable dealing directly with this issue. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting?utm_source=newsletter02.17.11&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=feature1-text

Common Sense Media has other great resources. Parent must monitor their child’s use of technology.

Science Daily reported in the article, Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex:

A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630094751.htm

Citation:

Sexting and Sexual Behavior Among Middle School Students
1. Eric Rice, PhDa,
2. Jeremy Gibbs, MSWa,
3. Hailey Winetrobe, MPHa,
4. Harmony Rhoades, PhDa,
5. Aaron Plant, MPHb,
6. Jorge Montoya, PhDb, and
7. Timothy Kordic, MAc
+ Author Affiliations
1. aSchool of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California;
2. bSentient Research, Los Angeles, California; and
3. cLos Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, California
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: It is unknown if “sexting” (ie, sending/receiving sexually explicit cell phone text or picture messages) is associated with sexual activity and sexual risk behavior among early adolescents, as has been found for high school students. To date, no published data have examined these relationships exclusively among a probability sample of middle school students.
METHODS: A probability sample of 1285 students was collected alongside the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Los Angeles middle schools. Logistic regressions assessed the correlates of sexting behavior and associations between sexting and sexual activity and risk behavior (ie, unprotected sex).
RESULTS: Twenty percent of students with text-capable cell phone access reported receiving a sext and 5% reported sending a sext. Students who text at least 100 times per day were more likely to report both receiving (odds ratio [OR]: 2.4) and sending (OR: 4.5) sexts and to be sexually active (OR: 4.1). Students who sent sexts (OR: 3.2) and students who received sexts (OR: 7.0) were more likely to report sexual activity. Compared with not being sexually active, excessive texting and receiving sexts were associated with both unprotected sex (ORs: 4.7 and 12.1, respectively) and with condom use (ORs: 3.7 and 5.5, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Because early sexual debut is correlated with higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies, pediatricians should discuss sexting with young adolescents because this may facilitate conversations about sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention. Sexting and associated risks should be considered for inclusion in middle school sex education curricula.
Key Words:
• sexting
• sexual risk
• middle school
• adolescents
• cell phone
• Accepted April 17, 2014.
• Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
1. Published online June 30, 2014

(doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2991)
1. » AbstractFree
2. Full Text (PDF)Free http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/25/peds.2013-2991.full.pdf+html
Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex
Date: June 30, 2014
Source: University of Southern California
Summary:
A study provides new understanding of the relationship between ‘sexting’ and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to the ongoing conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were six times more likely to also report being sexually active.

Here is the press release from the University of Southern California:

Tweens and teens who receive sexts are 6 times more likely to report having had sex
Study shows that middle school students who send more than 100 texts a day are also more likely to be sexually active
Contact: Suzanne Wu at suzanne.wu@usc.edu or (213) 503-3410; Tanya Abrams at tanyaabr@usc.edu or (213) 740-6973
LOS ANGELES — EMBARGOED UNTIL Sunday, June 29, 9 p.m. PT/Monday, June 30, 12:01 a.m. ET — A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active.
While past research has examined sexting and sexual behavior among high school students and young adults, the researchers were particularly interested in young teens, as past data has shown clear links between early sexual debut and risky sexual behavior, including teenage pregnancy, sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol, experience of forced sex and higher risk of sexually transmitted disease.
“These findings call attention to the need to train health educators, pediatricians and parents on how best to communicate with young adolescents about sexting in relation to sexual behavior,” said lead author Eric Rice, assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work. “The sexting conversation should occur as soon as the child acquires a cell phone.”
The study anonymously sampled more than 1,300 middle school students in Los Angeles as part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Respondents ranged in age from 10-15, with an average age of 12.3 years. The researchers found that even when controlling for sexting behaviors, young teens who sent more than 100 texts a day were more likely to report being sexually active. Other key findings:
• Young teens who sent sexts were almost 4 times more likely to report being sexually active.
• Sending and receiving sexts went hand-in-hand: Those who reported receiving a sext were 23 times more likely to have also sent one.
• Students who identified as LGBTQ were 9 times more likely to have sent a sext.
• However, unlike past research on high school students, LGBTQ young adolescents were not more likely to be sexually active, the study showed.
• Youth who texted more than 100 times a day were more than twice as likely to have received a sext and almost 4.5 times more likely to report having sent a sext.
The researchers acknowledge that despite anonymity, the data is self-reported and thus subject to social desirability bias, as well as limitations for geographic area and the diverse demographics of Los Angeles. However, the dramatic correlation between students who sent sexts and reported sexual activity indicates the need for further research and summons attention to the relationship between technology use and sexual behavior among early adolescents, the researchers say.
“Our results show that excessive, unlimited or unmonitored texting seems to enable sexting,” Rice said. “Parents may wish to openly monitor their young teen’s cell phone, check in with them about who they are communicating with, and perhaps restrict their number of texts allowed per month.”
Overall, 20 percent of students with text-capable cell phones said they had ever received a sext, and 5 percent report sending a sext. The researchers defined “sext” in their survey as a sexually suggestive text or photo.
Jeremy Gibbs, Hailey Winetrobe and Harmony Rhoades of the USC School of Social Work were co-authors of the study. The data collection was supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (grant 5U87DP001201-04).
For the embargoed PDF of the study, contact the American Academy of Pediatrics at commun@app.org. To arrange an interview with a researcher, contact USC News at uscnews@usc.edu.

In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example? How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex? See, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America http://www.drugfree.org/10-tips-for-talking-to-teens-about-sex-drugs-alcohol/

So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache. http://drwilda.com/2012/06/07/talking-to-your-teen-about-risky-behaviors/

Resources:

Sexting Information: What every parent should know about sexting.

http://www.noslang.com/sexting.php

Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents: Sexting

http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/sexting/

Teen Sexting Tips

http://www.safeteens.com/teen-sexting-tips/

Related:

New study about ‘sexting’ and teens

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/new-study-about-sexting-and-teens/

Sexting’ during school hours

http://drwilda.com/2012/08/05/sexting-during-school-hours/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © http://drwilda.com/

University of Colorado Boulder study: Children need flexible play time

29 Jun

Creativity is important in finding solutions to problems. In What is a creativity index and why are states incorporating the index into education? moi wrote: The Martin Prosperity Institute of the University of Toronto began studying the “creativity index” several years ago. Here is a portion of the summary for their report, Creativity and Prosperity: The Global Creativity Index:

The economic crisis has challenged popular conceptions of economic growth, both in terms of what it is and how to measure it. While engendering growth and bolstering competitiveness remain high on the agenda, immediate attention has shifted to creating jobs, lifting wages, addressing inequality, and fostering long-term, sustainable prosperity. This new edition of the Global Creativity Index (GCI), which we first introduced in 2004, provides a powerful lens through which to assess these issues….

http://martinprosperity.org/research-and-publications/publication/global-creativity-index

Download Creativity and Prosperity: The Global Creativity Index. (2.68 MB) http://martinprosperity.org/media/GCI-Report-reduced-Oct%202011.pdf
Read “Towards a Broader Conception of Economic Competitiveness“, our MPInsight discussing the Global Creativity Index. http://martinprosperity.org/2011/10/04/towards-a-broader-conception-of-economic-competitiveness/
The question is whether creativity can or should be taught? One way of fostering creativity is allowing children to have flexible time.

Moi wrote In the rush to produce geniuses, are we forgetting the value of play: Children are not “mini mes” or short adults. They are children and they should have time to play, to dream, and to use their imagination. Dan Childs of ABC News reports in the story, Recess ‘Crucial’ for Kids, Pediatricians’ Group Says:

The statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest salvo in the long-running debate over how much of a young child’s time at school should be devoted to academics — and how much should go to free, unstructured playtime.
The authors of the policy statement write that the AAP “believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”
“The AAP has, in recent years, tried to focus the attention of parents, school officials and policymakers on the fact that kids are losing their free play,” said the AAP’s Dr. Robert Murray, one of the lead authors of the statement. “We are overstructuring their day. … They lose that creative free play, which we think is so important.”
The statement, which cites two decades worth of scientific evidence, points to the various benefits of recess. While physical activity is among these, so too are some less obvious boons such as cognitive benefits, better attention during class, and enhanced social and emotional development. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/recess-crucial-kids-aap-policy-statement/story?id=18083935#.UOZ606zIlIq

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. http://drwilda.com/2014/03/10/in-the-rush-to-produce-geniuses-are-we-forgetting-the-value-of-play/

Hannah Goldberg wrote in the Time article, Study: Less-Structured Time Correlates to Kids’ Success:

Research found that young children who spend more time engaging in more open-ended, free-flowing activities display higher levels of executive functioning, and vice versa
Parents, drop your planners—a new psychological study released Tuesday found that children with less-structured time are likely to show more “self-directed executive functioning,” otherwise known as the “cognitive processes that regulate thought and action in support of goal-oriented behavior.”
Doctoral and undergraduate researchers at University of Colorado, Boulder, followed 70 children ranging from six to seven years old, measuring their activities. A pre-determined classification system categorized activities as physical or non-physical, structured and unstructured….
http://time.com/2901044/study-kids-structured-time-success/

Citation:

Original Research ARTICLE
Front. Psychol., 17 June 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00593
Less-structured time in children’s daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning
Jane E. Barker1*, Andrei D. Semenov1, Laura Michaelson1, Lindsay S. Provan1, Hannah R. Snyder2 and Yuko Munakata1
• 1Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
• 2Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA
Executive functions (EFs) in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve EFs early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children’s externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children’s experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive functioning, where they must determine on their own what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. We hypothesized that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning, and lead to benefits. To investigate this possibility, we collected information from parents about their 6–7 year-old children’s daily, annual, and typical schedules. We categorized children’s activities as “structured” or “less-structured” based on categorization schemes from prior studies on child leisure time use. We assessed children’s self-directed executive functioning using a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another. The more time that children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. The opposite was true of structured activities, which predicted poorer self-directed executive functioning. These relationships were robust (holding across increasingly strict classifications of structured and less-structured time) and specific (time use did not predict externally-driven executive functioning). We discuss implications, caveats, and ways in which potential interpretations can be distinguished in future work, to advance an understanding of this fundamental aspect of growing up.
Read Full Text
Keywords: cognitive development, self-directed executive function, leisure time, unstructured activities, verbal fluency
Citation: Barker JE, Semenov AD, Michaelson L, Provan LS, Snyder HR and Munakata Y (2014) Less-structured time in children’s daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning. Front. Psychol. 5:593. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00593
Received: 04 February 2014; Accepted: 27 May 2014;
Published online: 17 June 2014.
Less-structured time in children’s daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning

Here is the press release from University of Colorado Boulder:

Kids whose time is less structured are better able to meet their own goals
June 19, 2014 •
Social Sciences
Children who spend more time in less structured activities—from playing outside to reading books to visiting the zoo—are better able to set their own goals and take actions to meet those goals without prodding from adults, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder.
The study, published online in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, also found that children who participate in more structured activities—including soccer practice, piano lessons and homework—had poorer “self-directed executive function,” a measure of the ability to set and reach goals independently.
“Executive function is extremely important for children,” said CU-Boulder psychology and neuroscience Professor Yuko Munakata, senior author of the new study. “It helps them in all kinds of ways throughout their daily lives, from flexibly switching between different activities rather than getting stuck on one thing, to stopping themselves from yelling when angry, to delaying gratification. Executive function during childhood also predicts important outcomes, like academic performance, health, wealth and criminality, years and even decades later.”
The study is one of the first to try to scientifically grapple with the question of how an increase in scheduled, formal activities may affect the way children’s brains develop.
Munakata said a debate about parenting philosophy—with extremely rigid “tiger moms” on one side and more elastic “free-range” parents on the other—has played out in the media and on parenting blogs in recent years. But there is little scientific evidence to support claims on either side of the discussion.
Jane Barker, a CU-Boulder doctoral student working with Munakata and lead author of the study, said, “These are societally important questions that come up quite often in social commentary and casual conversations among parents. So it’s important to conduct research in this area, even if the questions are messy and not easy to investigate.”
For the study, parents of 70 6-year-olds recorded their children’s daily activities for a week. The scientists then categorized those activities as either more structured or less structured, relying on existing time-use classifications already used in scientific literature by economists.
“These were the best and the most rigorous classifications we could find,” Barker said. “They still fail to capture the degree of structure within specific activities, but we thought that was the best starting point because we wanted to connect this with prior work.”
In that classification system, structured activities include chores, physical lessons, non-physical lessons and religious activities. Less-structured activities include free play alone and with others, social outings, sightseeing, reading and media time. Activities that did not count in either category include sleeping, eating meals, going to school and commuting.
The children also were evaluated for self-directed executive function with a commonly used verbal fluency test.
The results showed that the more time children spent in less structured activities, the better their self-directed executive function. Conversely, the more time children spent in more structured activities the poorer their self-directed executive function.
Because some of the existing time-use categories might not reflect the real amount of structure involved in an activity, the researchers also did several rounds of recalculation after removing categories that were questionable. In each case the findings still held. For example, the time-use categories classify media screen time as unstructured, but the degree of structure depends on whether a child is watching a movie or playing a video game. However, when media time was removed from the data, the results were the same.
“This isn’t perfect, but it’s a first step,” said Munakata. “Our results are really suggestive and intriguing. Now we’ll see if it holds up as we push forward and try to get more information.”
The researchers emphasize that their results show a correlation between time use and self-directed executive function, but they don’t prove that the change in self-directed executive function was caused by the amount of structured or unstructured time. The team is already considering a longitudinal study, which would follow participants over time, to begin to answer the question of cause.
Other study co-authors are undergraduate alumnus Andrei Semenov, doctoral student Laura Michaelson and professional research assistant Lindsay Provan, all from CU-Boulder, and Hannah Snyder, a former CU-Boulder doctoral student and current postdoctoral researcher at the University of Denver. The study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Read the study at http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00593/abstract.
- See more at: Kids whose time is less structured are better able to meet their own goals | University of Colorado Boulder

We must not so over-schedule children that they have no time to play and to dream. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

The ‘whole child’ approach to education http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools http://drwilda.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests http://drwilda.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play http://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © http://drwilda.com/

University of Buffalo study: Caffeine affects boys and girls differently

22 Jun

Moi wrote about caffeine and children in Energy drinks may pose a danger:
The American Academy of Pediatrics is reported at its site, Healthy Children.Org in the study, Energy Drinks Can Harm Children:

Energy drinks may pose a risk for serious adverse health effects in some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders.
A new study, “Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults,” in the March issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 14), determined that energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events.
Youth account for half of the energy drink market, and according to surveys, 30 percent to 50 percent of adolescents report consuming energy drinks. Typically, energy drinks contain high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, taurine, and guarana, and safe consumption levels have not been established for most adolescents. Because energy drinks are frequently marketed to athletes and at-risk young adults, it is important for pediatric health care providers to screen for heavy use both alone and with alcohol, and to educate families and children at-risk for energy drink overdose, which can result in seizures, stroke and even sudden death.

Several deaths have been attributed to energy drinks.

The Washington Post reported in the article Energy drink popularity booms at college, despite health concerns:

A 2008 study of undergraduates at a large public university found that 39 percent of students had consumed at least one energy drink in the past month, with considerably higher rates for males and white students. The study, funded with a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant, noted that energy drink marketing tactics are “similar to those used to sell tobacco and alcohol to youths….”
Red Bull, which hit the country in the late 1990s, is credited with creating this industry using a Thai recipe. Today there are hundreds of energy drinks on the market, ranging from 1.93-ounce 5-Hour Energy shots to 32-ounce cans of Monster. Even Starbucks has gotten into the game, producing sparkling energy drinks and canned espresso beverages.
That proliferation has intensified debate about a long-standing question: Are energy drinks safe?
The focus of that question is often one of the main ingredients: caffeine. Energy drinks contain from 2.5 to 35.7 milligrams of caffeine per ounce; energy shots may have as much as 170 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, according to researchers. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/energy-drink-popularity-booms-at-college-despite-health-concerns/2012/12/18/740e994e-45f8-11e2-8e70-e1993528222d_story.html

As more young people consume energy drinks, more problems are occurring. http://drwilda.com/2012/12/18/energy-drinks-may-pose-a-danger/

Alexandra Sifferlin reported in the Time article, Boys and Girls Are Impacted By Caffeine Differently:

New research shows even low doses of caffeine impact kids, and bodies of boys and girls react differently
Boys and girls’ bodies react differently to caffeine after they hit puberty, new research shows.
It’s established that caffeine consumption can increase blood pressure and lower heart rate in adults, and researchers from University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, have shown in the past that the same side effects happen in kids. This new research, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the different ways caffeine affects males and females starts at puberty, with boys’ hearts more affected than girls’.
The researchers are unsure why exactly there are reaction differences—it could be due to hormones or other physiological factors—but it’s concerning since doses were low, at 1 and 2 mg/kg, and since caffeinated energy drinks are popular among kids and teens….
Currently, the FDA does not require the amount of caffeine in a product to be included on food labels. Since the FDA says caffeine is a natural chemical found in items like tea leaves and coffee beans, it’s regulated as an ingredient not a drug. Energy drinks are not regulated because they are sold as dietary supplements. A 2012 Consumer Reports review of 27 best-selling energy drinks found that 11 do not list caffeine content. Among those that do, the tested amount was on average 20% higher than what was on the label.
The FDA says 400 milligrams a day, about four or five cups of coffee, is generally not considered dangerous for adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages caffeine consumption among young kids and adolescents.
The latest study did have weaknesses, since its study group was primarily among white, middle class, and well educated, and they could not completely confirm that control groups were totally abstinent when it came to consuming caffeine. Still, the research is important as medical and governmental groups take a closer look at how the stimulant may be impacting children’s health. http://time.com/2878504/boys-and-girls-are-impacted-by-caffeine-differently/

Citation:

Cardiovascular Responses to Caffeine by Gender and Pubertal Stage
1. Jennifer L. Temple, PhDa,b,
2. Amanda M. Ziegler, MPHa,
3. Adam Graczyk, MSa,
4. Ashley Bendlin, BSa,
5. Teresa Sion, BSa, and
6. Karina Vattana, BSa
+ Author Affiliations
1. aDepartment of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and
2. bCommunity Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Caffeine use is on the rise among children and adolescents. Previous studies from our laboratory reported gender differences in the effects of caffeine in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that gender differences in cardiovascular responses to caffeine emerge after puberty and that cardiovascular responses to caffeine differ across the phases of the menstrual cycle.
METHODS: To test these hypotheses, we examined heart rate and blood pressure before and after administration of placebo and 2 doses of caffeine (1 and 2 mg/kg) in prepubertal (8- to 9-year-olds; n = 52) and postpubertal (15- to 17-year-olds; n = 49) boys (n = 54) and girls (n = 47) by using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response design.
RESULTS: There was an interaction between gender and caffeine dose, with boys having a greater response to caffeine than girls. In addition, we found interactions between pubertal phase, gender, and caffeine dose, with gender differences present in postpubertal, but not in prepubertal, participants. Finally, we found differences in responses to caffeine across the menstrual cycle in postpubertal girls, with decreases in heart rate that were greater in the midfollicular phase and blood pressure increases that were greater in the midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that gender differences in response to caffeine emerge after puberty. Future research will determine the extent to which these gender differences are mediated by physiological factors, such as steroid hormones, or psychosocial factors, such as more autonomy and control over beverage purchases.

Here is the press release from the University of Buffalo:

Caffeine affects boys and girls differently after puberty, study finds
Jennifer Temple
“In this study, we were looking exclusively into the physical results of caffeine ingestion.”
Jennifer Temple, associate professor of exercise and nutrition science
University at Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Caffeine intake by children and adolescents has been rising for decades, due in large part to the popularity of caffeinated sodas and energy drinks, which now are marketed to children as young as four. Despite this, there is little research on the effects of caffeine on young people.
One researcher who is conducting such investigations is Jennifer Temple, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
Her new study finds that after puberty, boys and girls experience different heart rate and blood pressure changes after consuming caffeine. Girls also experience some differences in caffeine effect during their menstrual cycles.
The study, “Cardiovascular Responses to Caffeine by Gender and Pubertal Stage,” will be published online June 16 in the July 2014 edition of the journal Pediatrics.
Past studies, including those by this research team, have shown that caffeine increases blood pressure and decreases heart rate in children, teens and adults, including pre-adolescent boys and girls. The purpose here was to learn whether gender differences in cardiovascular responses to caffeine emerge after puberty and if those responses differ across phases of the menstrual cycle.
Temple says, “We found an interaction between gender and caffeine dose, with boys having a greater response to caffeine than girls, as well as interactions between pubertal phase, gender and caffeine dose, with gender differences present in post-pubertal, but not in pre-pubertal, participants.
“Finally,” she says, “we found differences in responses to caffeine across the menstrual cycle in post-pubertal girls, with decreases in heart rate that were greater in the mid-luteal phase and blood pressure increases that were greater in the mid-follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.
“In this study, we were looking exclusively into the physical results of caffeine ingestion,” she says.
Phases of the menstrual cycle, marked by changing levels of hormones, are the follicular phase, which begins on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation, and the luteal phase, which follows ovulation and is marked by significantly higher levels of progesterone than the previous phase.
Future research in this area will determine the extent to which gender differences are mediated by physiological factors such as steroid hormone level or by differences in patterns of caffeine use, caffeine use by peers or more autonomy and control over beverage purchases, Temple says.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
It examined heart rate and blood pressure before and after administration of placebo and two doses of caffeine (1 and 2 mg/kg) in pre-pubertal (8- to 9-year-old; n = 52) and post-pubertal (15- to 17-year-old; n = 49) boys (n = 54) and girls (n = 47).
Co-authors are Amanda M. Ziegler, project coordinator for the Nutrition and Health Research Lab, and graduate student Adam Gracyzk, both in the UB Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, UB School of Public Health and Health Professions; Ashley Bendlin, undergraduate student in the Environmental Studies Program and the Department of Psychology, UB College of Arts and Sciences; Theresa Sion, undergraduate student in family nursing, UB School of Nursing; and Karina Vattana, who recently graduated with a BS in biomedical sciences, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
For an embargoed copy of the study, contact Noreen Steward, nstewart@aap.org, American Academy of Pediatrics Department of Public Affairs. For an interview with the lead author, contact Patricia Donovan, Office of Communications, University at Buffalo, 716-645-4602 or pdonovan@buffalo.edu.
Media Contact Information
Patricia Donovan
Senior Editor, Arts, Humanities, Public Health, Social Sciences
Tel: 716-645-4602
pdonovan@buffalo.edu
- See more at: Caffeine affects boys and girls differently after puberty, study finds – News Center

Because children are still growing and developing, caffeine affects their development.

Diet Health Club has some excellent information in the article, Caffeine and Teenagers:

Café shops have become a common place for teen’s hangout. But they don’t realize that they are just sitting with a cup of fat, sugar and caffeine, unless they choose skim milk instead of cream in their coffee.
Side effects of caffeine on teenagers
1. Caffeine when taken in moderate amounts can increase mental alertness. However when taken in higher doses, it can cause anxiety, headaches, moods, dizziness and may also interfere with normal sleep. Caffeine when taken in very high dose can be very harmful to the body.
2. Caffeine is addictive and if stopped abruptly can cause many withdrawal symptoms like headache, irritability, temporary depression and muscle ache.
3. Regular caffeine consumption can reduce caffeine sensitivity that means the caffeine required is higher to achieve the same effects. Thus more caffeine a teenager consumes the more will be its need to feel the same effects.
4. Caffeine is a diuretic it causes water loss from the body (through urination). Especially in summers caffeine is a very bad choice and it may cause dehydration.
5. Caffeine is not stored in the body and is passed through the urine, but if the person is sensitive to caffeine he/she might feel its effects up to six hours.
6. Caffeine when consumed in large amounts can cause loss of calcium and potassium from the body that can lead to sore muscles and delayed recovery time after any exercise.
7. Some teenagers may be unaware of the fact that caffeine in high amounts can cause nervous disorders and may also aggravate heart problems.
Try to cut down the caffeine in your diet gradually; moderation is the key (amounts less than 100 milligrams). Include healthy options like fresh fruit juices, water, milk, flavored seltzer, decaffeinated soda or tea instead of caffeinated beverages, soft drinks, sodas and other caffeine rich drinks. Make sure to read the nutritional fact labels for caffeine content before consuming the product. http://www.diethealthclub.com/caffeine/caffeine-and-teenagers.html

Children and teens should limit their caffeine intake.

Resources:

Energy Drinks (Audio Description) http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/pages/Energy-Drinks.aspx

Nutrition and Sports http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sports/pages/Nutrition-and-Sports.aspx

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

http://drwilda.com/

Tulane University Medical School study: Family violence affects the DNA of children

17 Jun

Moi reported about the effect stress has on genes in Penn State study: Stress alters children’s genomes http://drwilda.com/2014/04/08/penn-state-study-stress-alters-childrens-genomes/ A Tulane Medical School study finds that family violence or trauma alters a child’s genomes.

Science Daily reported in the article, Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children:

A new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.
Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. The findings are published online in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood. Researchers took genetic samples from 80 children ages 5 to 15 in New Orleans and interviewed parents about their home environments and exposures to adverse life events….
The study found that gender moderated the impact of family instability. Traumatic family events were more detrimental to young girls as they were more likely to have shortened telomeres. There was also a surprising protective effect for boys: mothers who had achieved a higher level of education had a positive association with telomere length, but only in boys under 10.
Ultimately, the study suggests that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the biological impacts of adversity in the lives of young children, Drury said. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102505.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

Citation:

Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children
Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Tulane University
Summary:
Children in homes affected by violence, suicide, or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres -— a cellular marker of aging — than those in stable households. The study suggests that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the biological impacts of adversity in the lives of young children.
Journal Reference:
1. S. S. Drury, E. Mabile, Z. H. Brett, K. Esteves, E. Jones, E. A. Shirtcliff, K. P. Theall. The Association of Telomere Length With Family Violence and Disruption. PEDIATRICS, 2014; 134 (1): e128 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-3415

Here is the press release from Tulane University:

Study: Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children
June 16, 2014
Keith Brannon
Phone: 504-862-8789

kbrannon@tulane.edu
A new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.
Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. The findings are published online in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood. Researchers took genetic samples from 80 children ages 5 to 15 in New Orleans and interviewed parents about their home environments and exposures to adverse life events.
“Family-level stressors, such as witnessing a family member get hurt, created an environment that affected the DNA within the cells of the children,” said lead author Dr. Stacy Drury, director of the Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory at Tulane. “The greater the number of exposures these kids had in life, the shorter their telomeres were – and this was after controlling for many other factors, including socioeconomic status, maternal education, parental age and the child’s age.”
The study found that gender moderated the impact of family instability. Traumatic family events were more detrimental to young girls as they were more likely to have shortened telomeres. There was also a surprising protective effect for boys: mothers who had achieved a higher level of education had a positive association with telomere length, but only in boys under 10.
Ultimately, the study suggests that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the biological impacts of adversity in the lives of young children, Drury said.

See, School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children http://drwilda.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Our goal as a society should be:
A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’ http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:

About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed? http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © http://drwilda.com/

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