Decreases in Psychological Well-Being Among American Adolescents After 2012 and Links to Screen Time During the Rise of Smartphone Technology.

In nationally representative yearly surveys of United States 8th, 10th, and 12th graders 1991–2016 (N = 1.1 million), psychological well-being (measured by self-esteem, life satisfaction, and happiness) suddenly decreased after 2012. Adolescents who spent more time on electronic communication and screens (e.g., social media, the Internet, texting, gaming) and less time on nonscreen activities (e.g., in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, attending religious services) had lower psychological well-being. Adolescents spending a small amount of time on electronic communication were the happiest. Psychological well-being was lower in years when adolescents spent more time on screens and higher in years when they spent more time on nonscreen activities, with changes in activities generally preceding declines in well-being. Cyclical economic indicators such as unemployment were not significantly correlated with well-being, suggesting that the Great Recession was not the cause of the decrease in psychological well-being, which may instead be at least partially due to the rapid adoption of smartphones and the subsequent shift in adolescents’ time use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

Marijuana Farms Expose Spotted Owls to Rat Poison in Northwest California

Northern spotted owl. (J. Mark Higley/Hoopa Tribal Forestry)

Quick Summary
70 percent of northern spotted owls and 40 percent of barred owls tested positive for poison
Issue expected to intensify with Proposition 64 recreational marijuana law in effect
Wildlife species are being exposed to high levels of rat poison in northwest California, with illegal marijuana farms the most likely source point, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis, with the California Academy of Sciences.

The study, released Jan. 11 in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology, showed that seven of the 10 northern spotted owls collected tested positive for rat poison, while 40 percent of 84 barred owls collected also tested positive for the poison.

[Press release of images, owl calls and study documents.]

The study is the first published account of anticoagulant rodenticide in northern spotted owls, which are listed as a threatened species under federal and state Endangered Species acts.

The study area encompasses Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties. It supports previous accounts that rat poison is contaminating the food web in this region, as the primary food source for owls — rodents — is being contaminated.

Timberland converting to marijuana farms
Mourad Gabriel
Lead author Mourad Gabriel is research faculty with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and director of nonprofit Integral Ecology Research Center. (Morgan Heim/Day’s Edge Productions)
Driving the issue is the increasing conversion of private timberland into private, illegal and unpermitted marijuana cultivation sites. These sites often overlap with designated critical habitat for northern spotted owls, and the owls feed at their edges.

“Spotted owls are inclined to feed along forest edges. Because grow sites break apart these forest landscapes, they are likely source points for exposure,” said lead author Mourad Gabriel, a research faculty member with the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center within the School of Veterinary Medicine’s One Health Institute. He’s also executive director of nonprofit Integral Ecology Research Center.

Gabriel’s studies in 2012, 2013 and 2015 were the first to link rat poison and illegal marijuana farms to the deaths of fishers, a weasel-like mammal living in remote forests of California and the Pacific Northwest, bringing broad attention to the issue.

Abundance of grow sites, lack of oversight
owl collection sitesProposition 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana in the state, took effect this month. With its arrival, resource managers expect the number and size of unpermitted, private cultivation sites to grow, which could exacerbate the problem.

The study authors note that an estimated 4,500 – 15,000 private cultivation sites are in Humboldt County alone, yet the county has seen legal permits for only a small fraction of them. That means there are thousands of unpermitted private grow sites with no management oversight.

“When you have thousands of unpermitted grows and only a handful of biologists that regulate that for multiple counties, we’re deeply concerned that there aren’t sufficient conservation protective measures in place,” Gabriel said. “If no one is investigating the level at which private marijuana cultivators are placing chemicals out there, the fragmented forest landscapes created by these sites can serve as source points of exposure for owls and other wildlife.”

Anticoagulant rodenticides inhibit the ability of mammals and birds to recycle vitamin K. This creates a series of clotting and coagulation problems, which can lead to uncontrollable internal bleeding.

Barred owls and added stressors
Barred owls are a physically larger group of owls currently competing for resources and space in critical habitat designated for northern spotted owls. Forty percent, or 34 of 84, of the barred owl tissue samples collected for this study tested positive for anticoagulant rodenticide. The owls are being exposed through the prey they eat.

Environmental contamination, when coupled with ongoing competition from barred owls, poses an additional stressor on northern spotted owls, the study said. The fact that barred owls are contaminated as well shows that the species may be used as potential surrogates for detecting these contaminants in northern spotted owls.

scientist with owl specimens
Jack Dumbacher with the owl collection at the California Academy of Sciences. (2017 California Academy of Sciences)
“Access to these owl specimens allows us to explore the health of the entire regional forest system,” says Jack Dumbacher, curator of Ornithology and Mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences. “We’re using our collections to build a concrete scientific case for increased forest monitoring and species protection before it’s too late to intervene.”

This study’s researchers did not kill any owls for this study. Northern spotted owls were opportunistically collected when found dead in the field, while barred owl tissue samples were provided by outside investigators conducting an unrelated barred-owl project.

The necropsies for this study were conducted at the California Academy of Sciences and the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, which is part of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Additional co-authoring institutions include Green Diamond Resource Company, Hoopa Valley Tribe and Humboldt State University.

The study was funded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata and Yreka California Field Offices.

Surfers more likely to harbour antibiotic resistant superbugs, study finds

Beach Bums project looked at surfers’ faeces and found they are three times more likely to carry drug-resistant E coli bacteria
Despite improvements in coastal cleanliness, sewage runoff still leads to increased levels of infectious bugs Surfers Against Sewage

UK surfers are around three times more likely to be harbouring antibiotic resistant superbugs, which could cause serious untreatable infections, a study has found.

Researchers from the University of Exeter said surfers swallow ten times more seawater than swimmers and bacteria from sewage runoff can get into the body, despite coastal cleanliness improvements.

Worryingly, surfers were also much more likely to be carrying bacteria which are able to pass on resistance DNA to other bugs in the body.

“This research is the first of its kind to identify an association between surfing and gut colonisation by antibiotic resistant bacteria,” said Dr Anne Leonard, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research.

The increasing prevalence of drug resistance in bacteria has led to England’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, to warn of an approaching “post-antibiotic apocalypse”.

Modern surgery relies on antibiotics being able to effectively treat infections that may occur after patients have been under the knife.

But bacteria are increasingly evolving to tolerate or neutralise even our most potent treatments, so-called “last resorts” like Colistin.

Resistance is spreading in part because of inappropriate use in healthcare, such as antibiotics being taken for viral infections – where they have no effect – and the veterinary medicine, with antibiotics mixed into animal feed preventatively.

But the team at Exeter established the Beach Bums project to focus on environmental sources of spreading resistance.

“We urgently need to know more about how humans are exposed to these bacteria and how they colonise our guts,” adds Dr Leonard.

The team took faecal samples from 273 people, with half of the participants being regular surfers and tested the resistance of their gut bacteria to key clinical antibiotic, cefotaxime.

It found nine per cent of surfers were harbouring an antibiotic resistant form of the E coli bacteria, compared to just three per cent of non-surfers.

It’s false to believe that antibiotic resistance is only a problem
Professor Colin Garner, chief executive and founder of Antibiotic Research UK, the world’s only charity set-up to specifically combat antibiotic resistance, said this was a “pioneering finding”.

He warned that antibiotics leach into the environment from farms, sewage and other means and, in some areas, environmental samples “have higher antibiotic concentrations than patients being administered antibiotics”.

“Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health,” Professor Garners added.

“We know very little about the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes between our environment, farm animals, wild animals and humans.

“This research helps us understand better the movement of resistant bacteria in surfers,” he said, but the next step should be testing if surfers and those in close contact with them are at greater risk of serious infection.

Science and policy officer at campaign group Surfers Against Sewage, David Smith, said: “While this research highlights an emerging threat to surfers and bodyboarders in the UK it should not prevent people from heading to our coasts.

“Recognising coastal waters as a pathway for antibiotic resistance can allow policy makers to make changes to protect water users and the wider public from the threat of antibiotic resistance.

“We would always recommend water users check the Safer Seas Service before heading to the sea to avoid any pollution incidents and ensure the best possible experience in the UK’s coastal waters.”

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “The UK has an AMR strategy to ensure appropriate action is taken and we already have achieved positive results in this area.

“We welcome this research in advancing insights into the issue, and recognise the continuing efforts by British scientists and the Research Councils to further this knowledge.”

A black hole’s “double burp” shows its behavior over time

The galaxy SDSS J1354+1327 (just below the center of the image) hosts a supermassive black hole that has let out two "burps" in the past 100,000 years. The older burp can be seen to the lower left of the galaxy as a diffuse, blue-green glow. The more recent burp appears as a bright blue-white arc to the upper left of the galaxy's center. Its companion galaxy, SDSS J1354+1328, lies just above the center of the image.
NASA , ESA, and J. Comerford (University of Colorado-Boulder)
Supermassive black holes reside at the center of most, if not all, massive (and possibly low-mass) galaxies. They range in size from millions to billions of solar masses, and they can eat voraciously or not at all, depending on their surroundings. But one thing is clear: Black holes don’t have very good table manners, as a team led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder confirmed last week at the 231st Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C. 

The team caught a supermassive black hole in the galaxy SDSS J1354+1327 (or J1354, for short) with a history of “snacking” on material in its vicinity, then letting out “burps” of energy as a result. In between meals, the black hole is relatively dormant. That dormant period lasted about 100,000 years, which is an eyeblink on cosmological timescales, but certainly not for humans. The work, presented at the Washington, D.C., meeting by Julie Comerford of the University of Colorado and published November 6 in The Astrophysical Journal, identifies two separate burps, or outflow events: one ancient burp on the verge of dissipating and one hinting at a much more recent meal. It is the first time two separate events have been identified for a single galaxy.

Two separate events
J1354 is a galaxy identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey; it sits about 800 million light-years away. Astronomers imaged J1354 in X-rays and optical light using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, the W.M. Keck Observatory, and the Apache Point Observatory. By combining the data from these different images, they spotted a large, diffuse “cone” of gas extending 30,000 light years below the bulge of the galaxy (where the supermassive black hole is located). This gas is ionized — meaning its atoms have been stripped of their electrons — by a huge burst of radiation from the supermassive black hole that occurred about 100,000 years ago.

Centaurus A is an active galaxy currently "snacking" on a meal of gas and dust. As it eats, the galaxy's supermassive black hole shoots out jets of highly energetic material.
ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)
To the north of the black hole, astronomers saw a shock wave propagating through the gas from the black hole, already at a distance of 3,000 light-years from the black hole. This burp is from a second, more recent meal the black hole consumed. Between the two events, the black hole was likely much more dormant expected behavior for such objects, which, according to Comerford, go through a cycle of snacking, burping, and napping, then snacking and burping again. 

An additional piece of the puzzle falls into place as one zooms out on the images of J1354 — the galaxy is located near a second, companion galaxy, which likely interacted with it in the past. The collision between the two galaxies then funneled material in toward the supermassive black hole and provided those large meals that prompted the burps.

The Milky Way’s burp
If you think this burping behavior is unique to distant (or other) galaxies, think again. This behavior is thought to be common for black holes, which should “flicker” on and off on 100,000-year timescales many times over the course of their existence. But while catching a single event isn’t necessarily rare, identifying the remnants of twopast meals has never before happened. “Fortunately, we happened to observe this galaxy at a time when we could clearly see evidence for both events,” said Comerford in a press release.

The Milky Way's own Fermi Bubbles are left from a past burp our supermassive black hole let out millions of years ago.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
The Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, now in its “napping” phase, has also gone through this cycle. Its most recent burp can still be seen today as two bubbles of gas extending above and below the galactic plane, called the Fermi Bubbles. These bubbles were spotted in 2015 by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope, and are remnants of a meal our black hole consumed between 6 and 9 million years ago. 

Right now, both J1354 and the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole are experiencing what Comerford calls a “galactic food coma.” But that may change — “Our galaxy's supermassive black hole is now napping after a big meal, just like J1354’s black hole has in the past. So we also expect our massive black hole to feast again, just as J1354's has,” said Scott Barrows of CU.



The Connection Between Writing and Sleep

A new study shows journaling helps you fall asleep, but content matters.

Writing before bed helps us get to sleep faster. But what we write about matters.
Worry keeps us awake. Forty percent of American adults say they have difficulty falling asleep at least a few times each month. The most common reason is an inability to stop thinking about...whatever it is you can’t stop thinking about. A project for work. Unpaid bills. That thing you said that you wish you hadn’t. We call it “whirring” in my house.

A new study (link is external) in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests an easy an effective solution: Write in a journal for five minutes before bed. But critically, what helps most is not writing about what you accomplished during the day, but writing out your to-do list for tomorrow.

In the study of 57 young adults, scientists from Baylor University and Emory University found that writing to-do lists rather than writing about completed tasks helped people fall asleep an average of nine minutes faster—in about 16 minutes versus 25. That’s an effect size that’s comparable to recent pharmaceutical clinical trials in which people taking sleep aids have fallen asleep nine to ten minutes faster than usual, says lead author Michael Scullin (link is external), a psychological scientist and sleep researcher at Baylor. “This seems to be a quick little thing people can do in the evening not to fall asleep in two minutes, but to fall asleep faster than they probably would have otherwise.”

Previous research has connected writing and lessening of anxiety, and even writing and better sleep, but Scullin’s is the first study to use the gold standard of sleep measurement, EEG, to determine exactly how much faster people fall asleep. And it’s the first to specify the content of the writing.

This news hit unusually close to home for me. One of my Christmas presents was a “Night Thoughts” journal (it says so right on the cover). At bedtime, for the last week, I’ve been diligently writing about what I got done and how I feel about it. Oops. So I called Scullin to ask what he thinks might be at work here.

Why does writing at bedtime help you get to sleep?

Throughout the day, we have all these things cycling through our head. Some of them seem to continue to cycle. There’s something about the act of writing, physically writing something on paper, that tends to offload it a little bit, or help us hit the pause button on it. The outcome seems to be [that] you decrease cognitive arousal, and you decrease rumination and worry. If you decrease those two things, it makes sense that you’re going to fall asleep faster because having stuff on your mind is one of the main barriers to falling asleep at night.

Why would a to-do list be more helpful than a list of completed tasks?

When you have a task that’s unfinished, it’s on your mind a lot more than any task you have completed. If you test people’s memory for things that were unfinished versus things that were completed, people remember the things that were unfinished a lot better. It seems that unfinished tasks rest at what we call a heightened level of cognitive activation. We think that’s the key ingredient. With our day to day lives and work schedule, unfinished tasks pile on one another and create this cognitive activation that’s difficult to set aside. Unless, of course, you write about it.

How might this apply more broadly?

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I’m curious about the generalizability to clinical groups, especially individuals with a specific subtype of insomnia [in which] they’re fine on total sleep time, they just have a lot of difficulty falling asleep. They already have some good treatments. Can we make those current treatments even better? They sometimes incorporate some writing activities, like writing about what you’re anxious about during the day. None of them are incorporating any bedtime writing about to-do lists. The question is: Would adding that on benefit these patients?

Did to-do lists improve sleep in other ways?

Not to statistically significant levels. Sleep onset latency was [always] our primary measurement, but we had one other effect that was trending toward significance. The number of times that people woke up in the middle of the night seemed to be lower. [And anecdotally,] people say, yeah, when I’ve got a lot on my mind, I tend to wake up earlier. So maybe for some people, a to-do list could help you sleep a little bit longer. I’ll be interested to see whether that turns up again in future studies.

The study only looked at one night. Do you think the effect can be sustained?

We haven’t tested that. It could be, yes, because each night you’ve got this big to-do list. But [it’s also true that] the to-do list fluctuates, and how much you accomplish during the day also feeds into that. So maybe it’s going to be most effective on the nights when you have a whole lot of stuff to do, and it’s more likely to be eating at you if you don’t write things down.

Scullin plans to study these open questions. I plan to write a to-do list in that Night Thoughts journal tonight.


Michael K. Scullin et al. "The Effects of Bedtime Writing on Difficulty Falling Asleep: A Polysomnographic Study Comparing To-Do Lists and Completed Activity Lists." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2018, Vol. 147, No. 1, 139-146.

Kids Don’t Have Parents Anymore—They Have ‘Sharents’

Kids Don’t Have Parents Anymore—They Have ‘Sharents’
Your kid could be your ticket to likes, fame, and money. Or your kid could be your kid.

Who and what is a “sharent” exactly? If you have both a child and a smartphone, it’s probably you.

Sharenting, a term to describe parents who actively share their kids’ digital identities online, is rampant in the United States, with 92 percent of toddlers under the age of 2 already having their own unique digital identity. As 2017 comes to a close, it appears to be a phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down.

“When I first started looking into the topic, I was wrestling with the issue as a mother myself,” says Stacey Steinberg, one of the most noted researchers on the issue and the author of “Sharenting: Children’s Privacy in the Age of Social Media.” “The more I looked into it, the more I realized, this isn’t just a moral issue, this is actually a public health issue.”

It’s no surprise then that international child advocacy organization UNICEF released a report this month lamenting the dangers of the “bedroom culture” which is leading to reckless sharenting—one that can have profound implications on safety and psychological welfare, not to mention a child’s right to privacy now, or later in life, their right to be digitally erased.

The statistics are stressful to consider:

One in four children said their parents’ sharenting made them feel embarrassed, anxious, worried, or sad.
Fifty percent of images shared on pedophile sites are stolen from social media sites.
Eighty-eight percent of teens think people are sharing too much online.
Fourteen percent of American moms maintain their own blogs of which there are an estimated 3.9 million in North America—with the top 10 percent making six figures.
The pull to sharent—for profit, fame, and approval—is increasingly lucrative. “InstaMom” influencers make thousands of dollars with every campaign while YouTube’s top family vloggers make hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Examining sharenting is more about truly understanding the implications of what we are doing and how it’s affecting kids,” Steinberg says. “This is a huge children’s rights issue, but we can’t alienate parents who are doing this. Most parents truly crave more information to make informed decisions.”

Not just amongst parents but internationally, opinions are often mixed. In the United Kingdom, opinion on the topic is split right down the middle, with half of parents keeping their kids’ identities private. In France, it might get you sent to jail. In Austria, a woman sued her parents for the embarrassing photos they posted of her on Facebook. And in America, it’s a topic sometimes treated with very jaded eyes, even in the press, such as The New York Times’ piece asking the question, “Why Isn’t Your Toddler Paying the Mortgage?”

Upon closer examination, however, sharenting is less fun trend-piece or made-up media portmanteau (it was an official word of the year in 2016) and much more wake-up call as to how few protections exist for children in this emerging space. Unlike, say, in Hollywood, which employs the Child Actor’s Bill (sometimes known as Coogan Law) as protection, for all those babies who are now being literally born on YouTube or kids who daily are being asked by their parents to shill for brands for money, there is no equivalent protection.

A number of Daily Dot pieces get straight to the heart of examining the sharenting-over-parenting monster: “The Problem With Viral ‘Sassy’ Toddler Videos,” or “Is Creating ‘Mommy-blog’ Content the New Child Labor?” Indeed, when a viral exposé like James Bridle’s “Something is Wrong on the Internet,” which published in November, unveiled just how disturbing the children’s landscape on YouTube has become, advertiser reaction was brutal and swift, essentially forcing the video giant to take action.

In the weeks since, YouTube has kicked off a number of channels including Toy Freaks, which had more than 8 million subscribers and featured disturbing content of the father appearing to traumatize his children with “pranks” that left them terrorized. In 2018, YouTube plans to hire 10,000 manual reviewers to monitor the issue.

A shift may be starting to take place. In the wake of the contentious viral saga of bullied child Keaton Jones, an editorial in The Washington Post this month pleaded, “Parents, Please Stop Turning Your Kids Into Viral Sensations,” in which Sonny Bunch wrote, “For God’s sake: Stop putting your kids’ tears online for the rest of us to either laugh at or empathize with. Everything on the Internet will be there forever. Your children shouldn’t be forced to live with your need for attention.”

Another article in Slate wryly summed up the naked appeal for so many sharents trying to break into “The Multimillion-Dollar Industry of Being a Happy Family on YouTube.” As Leigh Alexander wrote, “Can kids even truly consent to this use of their image? For that matter, what does it mean when a parent is, essentially, a child’s employer? In the case of ‘DaddyofFive,’ two parents played tricks on their children and lied to them in order to film and monetize their distress as comedy—and ultimately lost custody of those children, facing charges of child neglect.”

Most soberly of all, earlier this year in JAMA Pediatrics, the warning could not be clearer to both pediatricians and parents who might be oblivious. The report, co-authored by Steinberg warns: “The disclosures parents share online will follow their children into adulthood, and although there are benefits to this, there are also potential harms that are unrecognized by many parents. Harms may include identity theft, resharing pirated information on predator sites, sharing psychosocial information that should remain private, and sharing revealing or embarrassing information that may be misused by others.”

Child safety advocates are trying to determine best practices, but it’s an uphill battle when the spectrum for what one parent feels comfortable with versus another is so wildly different. Indeed, earlier this year gossip sites reported that Stella McCartney was upset when her friends the Beckhams posted a picture of her 6-year-old.

Actress Romola Garai spoke out even more angrily, saying, “The privacy of children is invaded on a catastrophic scale… I think we’ll look back at this period as utterly perverse. It should be illegal to post pictures of children without their permission. If you have a private channel to share things among friends, that’s one thing. But I can’t imagine that this generation of children won’t turn round in 20 years and say, ‘I didn’t want to be naked in a picture seen by millions of people I don’t know.’ Privacy is very valuable.”

No matter a parent’s stance on the topic, there are certain privacy and safety fundamentals to follow. Like hiding birthdates, addresses, school information, medical data—anything that could be misused in the wrong hands.

“It amazes me when parents are so flippant about posting so much information online about their children—including standing in front of their homes, with their address featured in the pictures and their schools, too,” says Sue Scheff, the author of Shame Nation. “It’s not only about child predators. Many kids simply don’t want their parents oversharing on social about their lives.”

Alicia Blum-Ross, a researcher at the London School of Economics, suggests parents seize upon some of the recent sharenting controversy as an “opportunity to engage” with children, thereby figuring out the “extent that they understand what social media is” and “what is appropriate or not and what might you share to one person and not the other?” Weighing the pros and cons can be tricky, Blum-Ross says, because “telling parents to ‘share nothing’ may in effect cut them off from much needed and valued sources of support.” That’s why, “ultimately, parents need to be mindful about what they share, why, and with whom and to involve their children in that decision wherever possible.”

That is exactly the golden rule that Jessica Delfino lives by in protecting the privacy of her son, and only sharing photos with close family and friends. She writes about the challenges of parenting on her blog “One and Done Mom”—but never shows her child’s face.

“I just can’t do it,” says Delfino, who ironically in her own life has extensively chronicled herself digitally—from songs she’s recorded about her vagina to a stunt where she wore a garbage bag around New York to see how people reacted. “Trust me, resisting the urge to sharent goes against every natural instinct I have as a performer. That part of me is like, ‘This kid is a goldmine. His face is worth millions!’ As a mother, I’m like, ‘Don’t screw this baby up. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be that person.’”

Interestingly, Delfino say it’s not an issue of consent, but that “even if he could and did beg me to post his face, I’d say no. It’s about me protecting him from the scary world out there.”

Even for avid sharenters like writer Marina Gomberg, who recently published, “Do I Post Too Much About My Son? Yup, But I Can’t Stop (and Won’t Stop)” in The Salt Lake Tribune, her sentiments echo Delfino’s, and she holds herself to a personal standard that ensures parenting takes the priority—always. She’s also knowledgeable about sharenting’s dark side.

“The extremes of sharenting are definitely exploitive and concerning,” she says. “Which is why my wife and I are strict about what we share. We never post pictures of our son when he is crying or upset. I honestly don’t understand why people do that. Why aren’t they attending to their child?”

That is the big question it’s shocking more people do not ask. In a must-read piece about the aftermath and estrangement of family YouTubers, a 13-year-old toy reviewer reveals the awful reality of what it’s like to have your mother so focused on sharenting, the parenting seems to go almost entirely by the wayside.

Interestingly, while sharenting is a new phenomenon in the realm of digital dissemination, in terms of the controversy it stirs in protecting vulnerable children, the issue is not new at all. The godmother of sharenting just might be controversial photographer Sally Mann and her stirring, disturbing portraits of her children in 1992, which ignited a firestorm that in some ways has never stopped. Indeed, art historian Anne Higonnet’s words on Mann’s photographs then ring just as true (and as unresolved) as they do today: “No subject is as publicly dangerous now as the subject of the child’s body.”

Just like the YouTube family vloggers of 2017 who bring up how it is actually the children begging to do all those sponsored videos, Mann once famously explained, “The children love to model and are continuously thinking of new pictures.” But like those vloggers of today, whose privacy selectivity is striking, Mann is notorious for the same. In 1994, when a documentarian made a short film on her work, she blocked its release because it “felt too much like real life; that was an invasion.” In her 2015 memoir (one year before the suicide of her eldest son, who had long grappled with schizophrenia), Mann discussed when she stops filming. “As my father weakened with brain cancer,” she wrote, “I tried to photograph him… But I put away my camera when I began to see that photographing his loss of dignity would cause him pain.”

That’s the fundamental question inherent in all of this, really: loss of dignity.

Incredibly, it is often the children—not the adults—who are more sensitive to the issue. Already, researchers are finding that it is the young people in our digital sharenting culture trying to talk sense into the parents, and not the other way around. (In a 2014 academic journal article called “‘I Would Never Post That’: Children, Moral Sensitivity and Online Disclosure,” the article revealed it was the young people who had an acute understanding of the “moral consequences of disclosing personal information about oneself and about others.”)

For London writer Charlotte Philby, who announced in a touching piece why she was quitting sharenting, she described the heartbreaking moment her daughter came across an image of herself on her mom’s phone, and quietly reacted to it how it made her feel. “I hate this one,” she said, pleading to her mother’s better nature. “I look really sad. Please delete it.”

Philby fell into the parenting market by accident when she became editor of a successful parenting website, and over time found herself desensitized by the glut of pictures bombarding her news feed.

“I found myself increasingly sharing pictures, albeit largely ones I thought were funny or shone a meaningful light on what it is to be a multi-tasking parent, until there came a point where I no longer felt comfortable with my own behavior,” she explains. In June last year, Philby announced a 12-month hiatus from social media, amidst wider concerns about the amount of information she shared with her 10,000 followers, and the amount of time and energy that social media had started to occupy in her life.

“It was time stolen bit by bit—a bus ride here, a lunchtime there,” she says.

Moreover, it was about setting an example to her children who were nearing ages where they, too, would soon be starting to use social media themselves.

“How could I expect them to behave responsibly online,” she asks, “when I was demonstrating such a lack of restraint myself?”

Sharenting and social addiction can indeed result in kids becoming overly conscious of how they appear because they’re highly aware of how concerned their parents are. Indeed, a BBC study showed that 25 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds who post selfies say it is “very important” to look good.

Josie Denise, once a rising mommy-blogger influencer, is currently wrestling with where she falls on the sharenting spectrum. Having gained a great bit of attention when she dramatically quit (and revealed the artifice behind) the world of mommy blogging a year ago, now she says, “In the beginning, I was happy to whore myself out for anyone willing to send me free lipstick, you know?... When I quit posting to The American Mama, I was earning between $725-$1500 per partnership, sometimes more or less depending on the length of the campaign and number of posts. New ‘influencers’ gasp and awe over the six-figure dream, but in reality for the majority of online content creators, the workload is unsustainable unless you are ready to hire a team of people.”

Fortunately, there are a radical array of options for parents wrestling with how to determine their own sharenting approach. All of which contain a single commonality: Please do not forget to ask how the child feels about what is occurring.

As the New Statesman underscores in a piece about sharenting’s most extreme forms on YouTube, the “responsibility lies with parents themselves to decide whether or how they should film their children. The consequences of this lack of regulation will most likely become apparent in a decade, when YouTube’s child celebrities have grown up.”

Sharenting law scholar Steinberg predicts: “At some point in the future, courts may weigh in, framing the question not as a moral one but as a legal one, asking, ‘Where does a parent’s right to share end and a child’s right to privacy begin?’”

Another question to ask: How important is a child’s right to attention?

An incredible piece in the Harvard Business Journal titled “What Captures Your Attention Controls Your Life” offers an illustrative anecdote that slices right through any justification a parent might make for how children prefer sharenting over parenting. The author Kare Anderson explains how she was once hired by Disney executives to figure out exactly what—of all the magical wonders and costumed characters and rides and sugary delights—captivated toddlers and infants visiting the theme park the most.

“[A]fter a couple of hours of close observation,” Anderson wrote, “we realized that what most captured the young children’s attention wasn’t Disney-conjured magic. Instead it was their parents’ cell phones, especially when the parents were using them. Those kids clearly understood what held their parents’ attention—and they wanted it too.”

In one of the most viral blog pieces ever written on the topic, Rachel Macy Stafford dives clear-eyed into the mindset of a child and what translates to them as love and attention. It’s not a photo. It’s definitely not a half-hour spent taking a photo, editing it, and then uploading it. And my God, it is not monetization.

Called “How to Miss a Childhood,” her manifesto speaks to parents and their relationship to their son or daughter.

“Look in to her eyes when she speaks to you… Your uninterrupted gaze is love to your child… The gift of your total presence is love to your child… Hold her hand, rub his back, listen to her heart beat, and smooth his hair.”

No one sees any of this. No one “likes” it. The experience certainly can’t be shared, monetized, preserved, documented, or tweaked with a filter. No one might even know the moment ever existed. No one, that is, except for parent and child.

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