Dr. Yalda Uhls, a faculty member and senior researcher at the Children's Digital Media Center at the UCLA campus and the Regional Director for the national non-profit, Common Sense Media will be joining our community for the day. She will spend the day meeting with students at the Middle School and High School, and at 6 p.m. at the High School library will present to parents of students in grades K-12.
The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers' lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. While there are benefits to living in a digital world, there are also risks. Research has shown that adolescents who engage in various forms of social media as part of a routine activity enhance their communication, social connection, and technical skills. However, teens may miss out on critical social skill development when they spend the majority of their free time connected to and interacting through a screen. Adolescents have a limited capacity for self-regulation and are susceptible to peer pressure which puts them at risk for problems such as cyberbullying, privacy issues, sexting, internet addiction, and sleep deprivation.
Dr. Uhla has dedicated her research to how media content is created and the science of how media can affect the social behavior of adolescents. She is also the author of the parenting book Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact not Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age. Dr. Uhla's presentation is on cellphone awareness and the impact these devices have on a child's mental and emotional well-being.
Dr. Uhls will be meeting with students in grades 5-12 during the school day to discuss various topics about cellphone use and social media including:
- Connection of social media to anxiety and depression
- Blue light and sleep problems
- Peer pressure/cyberbullying/sexting
- The developing brain (phone addiction)
- Setting tech limits (finding a balance in daily life)
This event is made possible through a generous grant donation by the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation.