Mewing, Orthorexia, and New Screen Time Research

Words by
Jackie Baucom

MAR 07, 2024

Mewing, Orthorexia, and New Screen Time Research

Another week, another whirlwind of tech happenings! Here are the most significant tech developments parents should stay informed about since our last recap.

Florida’s Social Media Ban Vetoed by DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a Florida bill preventing kids under 16 from joining social media, citing concerns about parental rights being violated by it. He went on to announce on X that another bill is in the works that addresses addictive social media features.

States are enacting laws to protect minors online, which is promising, but they keep facing legal challenges. DeSantis emphasized the new bill must balance parental rights with policy for his support.

New York Times | DeSantis Vetoes Florida Social Media Ban for Kids Under 16

Warner Bros. is Pushing Live Services

Despite the success “Hogwarts Legacy” saw in 2023, JB Perrette, the CEO of Global Streaming and Games for Warner Bros. Discovery announced that going forward they will be focusing on live services instead. 

A live service game involves continuous updates and expansion after its initial release, usually requiring additional payments. So parents beware, your child will have more opportunities to pester you for those expansion packs.

GameSpot | Warner Bros. Discusses “Volatile” AAA Console Games, Will Lean Into Free-To-Play And Mobile

Signal Users Can Now Share Usernames Instead of Phone Numbers

In an effort to enhance privacy on its encrypted messaging service, Signal is now allowing users to create unique usernames, generate QR codes or links, and connect without revealing their phone numbers. The free communication app includes additional security features such as restricting contact visibility and hiding phone numbers by default.

It’s a step in the right direction, but some of Signal’s features (such as disappearing messages) can facilitate the spread of inappropriate content and cyberbullying.

The Verge | Now all Signal users can share usernames instead of phone numbers

Orthorexia, an eating disorder often misunderstood and even praised, entails rigid food rules, not just healthy eating preferences. Though not officially in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), its prevalence is rising. 

Orthorexia blurs the line between “clean” eating and obsession. Eating healthy is commendable, but when it morphs into a strict regimen, it can result in physical and mental harm.

CNN | Orthorexia: An eating disorder that few people understand and many accidentally applaud

Widespread Facebook and Instagram Outage

On Tuesday, Mar. 5, users reported issues logging in to Facebook and Instagram. The outage lasted for about two hours and affected users worldwide. 

The issue prompted concerns of hacking, with thousands taking to X in panic. The incident coincided with the impending EU Digital Markets Act compliance.

The New York Times | Meta Says Access Is Restored After Facebook and Instagram Outage

Mewing Trend and Disrespectful Silent Statements

Mewing is a social media trend where teens flatten their tongues against their palate to define their jawlines. 

Instead of its original beauty purpose, teens are now using it as a nonverbal way to avoid participating in class discussions, raising concerns about respect from teachers and parents. 

Educators suggest that parents discuss with their kids the broader issue of respect rather than just the mewing act itself.

Parents | What is ‘Mewing’? The Latest Social Media Trend That Is Infiltrating Classrooms

New Research Finds Screen Time Interferes with Speech Development 

A new study involving 220 families and utilizing advanced speech recognition technology, found that increased screen time led to fewer adult words heard, fewer child vocalizations, and less conversational turn-taking among children aged 12 to 36 months.

These findings suggest that screen exposure may limit the language-rich interactions essential for early development.

Newsweek | Screen Time May Be ‘Interfering’ With Kids’ Speech Development

Moms Group Formed to Fight Social Media Addiction

Backed by the Center for Humane Technology, a new initiative called Mothers Against Media Addiction (MAMA) has been launched to address the growing concern over social media’s impact on children. 

Inspired by the success of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MAMA aims to empower parents through grass-roots organizing and advocating for policies that safeguard children online.

The Washington Post | Moms’ group launches grassroots fight against social media ‘addiction’

Any stories we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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