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What We’re Reading: Social Media & Body Image, Pediatric Social Media Guidance, Junk Food Ads as Apps, Gifts Without Screens

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By Lynette Owens

Week of December 9, 2013

To help you keep up with what’s going on with kids, families, schools, and technology, we’ve compiled a list of stories, tips, and insights, we’ve found most useful over the past week.  What have you been reading? Tell us below or Tweet @TrendISKF.

SOCIAL MEDIA & BODY IMAGE:  Babble reports that in a recent American University study, adolescent girls were surveyed about their Facebook habits and body image. The study found that it wasn’t total time spent on Facebook or the Internet, but the amount of Facebook time allocated to photo activity and appearance exposure that was positively correlated with girls’ thin ideal internalization, self-objectification, weight dissatisfaction, and drive for thinness. Author Erin Whitehead suggests setting good examples offline for girls by helping them equate eating and exercising with staying healthy and strong.  Parents and mentors of girls can also set good examples by posting, liking, pinning or retweeting photos on social media that depict women and girls that are engaging in activities that promote health, strength, athleticism, etc. rather than a glorified, airbrushed, unrealistic image.

PEDIATRICIANS’ SOCIAL MEDIA ADVICE: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its guidance concerning children’s media use.  The AAP calls for a “healthy media diet” but also seems to cast all devices and apps in a negative light.  In response, privacy advocate Mark Weinstein agrees with balancing technology use, but also argues that great parenting is as important as media restriction to ensure kids are using technology in ways that are both safe and savvy.  Parents who are involved and good role models has been effective in other areas of parenting, so why not in the context of media and technology? Here, here Mr. Weinstein.

JUNKFOOD ADS AS GAMING APPS: Some advocates in Australia are warning of a trend in which children are being advertised junk food in the form of mobile phone app games and social media competitions. KFC’s Snack! in the Face online game, Hungry Jack’s Shake and Win app and Mars Australia’s M&Ms app are just three examples of advertising entertainment that are prompting them to demand limits on this type of advertising similar to those on tobacco products.

In the U.S., McDonald’s launched a gaming app this October called McPlay to promote Happy Meals to kids and PepsiCo introduced 2 apps this summer promoting their Frito Lay (with a tie-in to Skylanders Giants toys) and Cracker Jack products.  They are simple games designed to engage kids in ways both subtle and overt to encourage them to consume these products, and most certainly to have positive associations with them. This appears to be a newer trend, as not all major junk food restaurants and brands have gaming apps yet, but I expect we will see them in time. We’ll be keeping an eye on this and what it means to our kids.

GIFTS WITHOUT SCREENS: In this Boston Globe piece, Taryn Luna discusses the trends in popularity of toys without screens such as the highly popular Rainbow Loom.  In an effort to achieve a balanced media diet, why not try some of these for the kids on your list this holiday?

See you next week!

Tags :advertisingappscell phonesdigital citizenshipdigital literacyeducationFacebookinternet safetykidsmedia literacymobileonline gamingonline privacyonline safetyparentsprivacysocial mediasocial networkingteens

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