A Screen-Free Holiday In 2020

A screen-free holiday in 2020 may sound crazy, but this year of all years is a good time to re-center and focus on what really matters: your loved ones right in front of you.

A compromise could be that at the beginning of the day you do all your scheduled calls, especially family video calls, and the remainder of the day is just for the people you’re with right now.

But I urge you to try it, and think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Instead of focusing on how inconvenient it will be to lose the screens, focus on the benefits of reclaiming yours or your child’s brain, body and spirit.  Screens and electronic gadgets aren’t going anywhere, but time is precious and fleeting—and there’s nothing like the New Year to remind us of this.  In our hurried and hectic lives, we should use the holidays as a time to reflect on what we want for us and our children, and stop and let them smell the roses.

The benefits of limiting screentime are numerous including:

  • Improved sleep: more time spent in the deep stages of sleep (3 &4); reduced muscle tone during sleep; melatonin (sleep chemical) levels return to normal, which in turn affect serotonin  balance (mood and sense of well-being)
  • Reduction of neuropsychiatric phenomenon, like tics, seizures (all kinds), and headaches
  • Improved blood flow to the frontal lobe and to vital organs
  • Decreased time spent in fight-or-flight, and more time spent in healing states
  • Brighter, more relaxed mood
  • Improved sportsmanship (tolerates losing better, less cheating etc)
  • Increased creativity and interest in physical play
  • Improved eye contact and verbal conversation
  • Enhanced empathy (yes, this can happen after only a couple of weeks!)
  • Renewed interest in old activities (legos, models, sports, board games, jewelry making, puzzles, etc, being with family)

Source: Psychology Today

 

Screen Kids

In this digital age, children spend more time interacting with screens and less time playing outside, reading a book, or interacting with family. Though technology has its benefits, it also has its harms.

In Screen Kids, Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the tools you need to make positive changes. Through stories, science, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.

Now is the time to equip your child with a healthy relationship with screens and an even healthier relationship with others. Technology has helped children stay in school during the pandemic. But what are the hidden costs of so much screen time? On the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author and speaker Arlene Pellicane will help parents and grandparents who are struggling with this topic. What are the skills every child needs in a tech-driven world? Hear a practical program on this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

 

 

COVID Tracing- A Privacy Minefield

WHEN THE NOTION of enlisting smartphones to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic first surfaced last spring, it sparked a months-long debate: Should apps collect location data, which could help with contact tracing but potentially reveal sensitive information? Or should they take a more limited approach, only measuring Bluetooth-based proximity to other phones? Now, a broad survey of hundreds of Covid-related apps reveals that the answer is all of the above. And that’s made the Covid app ecosystem a kind of wild, sprawling landscape, full of potential privacy pitfalls.

Late last month Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital Forensics Initiative at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, released the results of his analysis of 493 Covid-related iOS apps across dozens of countries. His study of those apps, which tackle everything from symptom-tracking to telehealth consultations to contact tracing, catalogs the data permissions each one requests. At WIRED’s request, Albright then broke down the data set further to focus specifically on the 359 apps that handle contact tracing, exposure notification, screening, reporting, workplace monitoring, and Covid information from public health authorities around the globe.

The results show that only 47 of that subset of 359 apps use Google and Apple’s more privacy-friendly exposure-notification system, which restricts apps to only Bluetooth data collection. More than six out of seven Covid-focused iOS apps worldwide are free to request whatever privacy permissions they want, with 59 percent asking for a user’s location when in use and 43 percent tracking location at all times. Albright found that 44 percent of Covid apps on iOS asked for access to the phone’s camera, 22 percent of apps asked for access to the user’s microphone, 32 percent asked for access to their photos, and 11 percent asked for access to their contacts.

“It’s hard to justify why a lot of these apps would need your constant location, your microphone, your photo library,” Albright says. He warns that even for Covid-tracking apps built by universities or government agencies—often at the local level—that introduces the risk that private data, sometimes linked with health information, could end up out of users’ control. “We have a bunch of different, smaller public entities that are more or less developing their own apps, sometimes with third parties. And we don’t we don’t know where the data’s going.”

The relatively low number of apps that use Google and Apple’s exposure-notification API compared to the total number of Covid apps shouldn’t be seen as a failure of the companies’ system, Albright points out. While some public health authorities have argued that collecting location data is necessary for contact tracing, Apple and Google have made clear that their protocol is intended for the specific purpose of “exposure notification”—alerting users directly to their exposure to other users who have tested positive for Covid-19. That excludes the contact tracing, symptom checking, telemedicine, and Covid information and news that other apps offer. The two tech companies have also restricted access to their system to public health authorities, which has limited its adoption by design.

But Albright’s data nonetheless shows that many US states, local governments, workplaces, and universities have opted to build their own systems for Covid tracking, screening, reporting, exposure alerts, and quarantine monitoring, perhaps in part due to Apple and Google’s narrow focus and data restrictions. Of the 18 exposure-alert apps that Albright counted in the US, 11 use Google’s and Apple’s Bluetooth system. Two of the others are based on a system called PathCheck Safeplaces, which collects GPS information but promises to anonymize users’ location data. Others, like Citizen Safepass and the CombatCOVID app used in Florida’s Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, ask for access to users’ location and Bluetooth proximity information without using Google’s and Apple’s privacy-restricted system. (The two Florida apps asked for permission to track the user’s location in the app itself, strangely, not in an iOS prompt.)

 

Article Source: WIRED

Wi-FRIED

Mobile technologies have shaped our way of life, but are they also discreetly killing us? That’s the question raised by the documentary short WI-FRIED?, a thought-provoking look at the secret dangers which may lurk in the midst of our globally connected society.

Everywhere you turn, people are buried in their mobile devices and tablets. Children are also an integral part of this phenomenon as these technologies take greater precedence in the school system. As a result, users of all ages worldwide are being exposed to minute amounts of microwave radiation that they never had to contend with in years past before these devices came into being. While officials have dismissed the notion that this exposure can harbor ill health effects in the long term, many scientists and other insiders are speaking out in disagreement.

Dr. Devra Davis, a highly regarded cancer epidemiologist, is one such critic of the widespread and frequent use of these devices. Her arguments are based upon common medical sense. The heart and brain thrive on electrical impulse. When these internal mechanics absorb an influx of electromagnetic signals for countless hours, it stands to reason that a biological disturbance could likely occur as a result.

Have these technologies advanced too quickly to allow for the thorough evaluation and study of their potential dangers, or does this represent a sinister corporate cover-up? Perhaps both of these points possess more than a shred of truth. The film highlights a few factors to which the public is largely unaware. Safety protocols have been advertised for the use of cellular technologies among users with pacemakers, but should this admonition be expanded to include all users? Radiofrequency radiation – the same energy that powers our cell phones and tablets – has been classified as a possible carcinogen. In the face of this uncertain determination, should additional safety measures be adopted as a precautionary measure until further study proves more conclusive?

Watch the documentary here: WI-FRIED DOCUMENTARY

Increased Cell Phone Use = Increased Tumors

 

New review study finds that heavier cell phone use increases tumor risk 

November 2, 2020

A review of research on cell phone use and tumor risk finds that cell phone use with cumulative call time more than 1000 hours significantly increased the risk of tumors.

(Berkeley, CA, November 2, 2020)  Today, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a systematic review and meta-analysis of the case-control research on cell phone use and tumor risk.

This study updates our original meta-analysis (i.e., quantitative research review) published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2009. The new review examined twice as many studies as our original paper.

“In sum, the updated comprehensive meta-analysis of case-control studies found significant evidence linking cellular phone use to increased tumor risk, especially among cell phone users with cumulative cell phone use of 1000 or more hours in their lifetime (which corresponds to about 17 min per day over 10 years), and especially among studies that employed high quality methods.”

The abstract and excerpts from this open access paper appear below:

Yoon-Jung Choi+, Joel M. Moskowitz+, Seung-Kwon Myung*, Yi-Ryoung Lee, Yun-Chul Hong*. Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020, 17(21), 8079; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218079 (registering DOI).

Abstract

We investigated whether cellular phone use was associated with increased risk of tumors using a meta-analysis of case-control studies. PubMed and EMBASE were searched from inception to July 2018. The primary outcome was the risk of tumors by cellular phone use, which was measured by pooling each odds ratio (OR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI). In a meta-analysis of 46 case-control studies, compared with never or rarely having used a cellular phone, regular use was not associated with tumor risk in the random-effects meta-analysis. However, in the subgroup meta-analysis by research group, there was a statistically significant positive association (harmful effect) in the Hardell et al. studies (OR, 1.15—95% CI, 1.00 to 1.33— n = 10), a statistically significant negative association (beneficial effect) in the INTERPHONE-related studies (case-control studies from 13 countries coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC); (OR, 0.81—95% CI, 0.75 to 0.89—n = 9), and no statistically significant association in other research groups’ studies. Further, cellular phone use with cumulative call time more than 1000 hours statistically significantly increased the risk of tumors. This comprehensive meta-analysis of case-control studies found evidence that linked cellular phone use to increased tumor risk.

+Contributed equally to this study as the first author. *Correspondence: msk@ncc.re.kr (S.-K.M.); ychong1@snu.ac.kr (Y.-C.H.)

Excerpts

3.5. Exposure–Response Relationship Between Use of Cellular Phones and Risk of Tumors

Table 3 shows an exposure-response relationship between cellular phone use and tumor risk. In the subgroup meta-analysis by time since first use or latency, overall the risk of tumors by cellular phone use non-significantly increased from an OR of 0.97 to 1.29 as latency increased from less than 5 years to 10 or more years. This finding was observed in each subgroup meta-analysis by research group. Especially, statistically significant increased tumor risk was observed for latency of 10 or more years in the Hardell studies (OR, 1.62; 1.03 to 2.57; n = 5; I2 = 39.9%). Similarly, the use of cellular phones non-significantly increased the risk of tumors as the cumulative or lifetime use in years and the cumulative number of calls increased in all studies and in each study group. Remarkably, in the subgroup meta-analysis of all studies by cumulative call time, cellular phone use greater than 1000 hours statistically significantly increased the risk of tumors (OR, 1.60; 1.12 to 2.30; n = 8; I2 = 74.5%). Interestingly, the use of cellular phones overall and in the Hardell studies (OR, 3.65; 1.69 to 7.85; n = 2, especially in the Hardell studies) non significantly increased the risk of tumors with cumulative call time of 300–1000 h and more than 1000 h, while it decreased the risk of tumors in most subgroup meta-analyses of the INTERPHONE studies.

  1. Conclusions

In sum, the updated comprehensive meta-analysis of case-control studies found significant evidence linking cellular phone use to increased tumor risk, especially among cell phone users with cumulative cell phone use of 1000 or more hours in their lifetime (which corresponds to about 17 min per day over 10 years), and especially among studies that employed high quality methods. Further quality prospective studies providing higher level of evidence than case-control studies are warranted to confirm our findings.

Sources:  SAFE EMR,

Cellular Phone Use and Risk Of Tumors: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis