Device management goes to school

Management of mobile devices is a huge issues in schools this fall.

Some schools have banned smartphones, laptops and all personal technology, choosing instead to give students “tech breaks.”

Other teachers are using a system which shuts down smartphones. Compliance is digitally tracked by the teacher and punished with grade deductions.

This attention to curbing device usage has roots in research: data shows that multitasking is a myth. When our brain focuses on one thing, it shuts down something else. This rapid attention-switching can result in lower grades, which is the reason educators are rethinking their previous, lenient approach to digital devices.

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Ten days and counting

Nickelodeon’s 15th annual Worldwide Day of Play is scheduled for Saturday, September 29.

As usual, the kidcaster will suspend programming from noon to 3 pm (EST) to encourage health and wellness through play.

Seeing through the glass

Around the world, transparent drinks have become the newest “must have” beverage.

As I write this, Starbucks hasn’t started to offer clear coffee, but coffee-stained teeth might become a problem of the past if this trend catches on.

Overseas, Coke has launched a transparent variety, minus the caramel which colors the drink.

I can’t help but wonder how soon kids will be packing school lunches with drinks that are as clear as day.

Fast-rising fakes

“Authentic” and “real” have driven marketers trying to reach millennial parents, but change is coming.

The word “fake” might attract the next generation of parents.

Fake meat, which uses plant alternatives that look and taste like meat, is growing in popularity among young adults.

Will new moms and dads serve children vegan burgers that sizzle (like meat) on the grill? Serve sushi made from tomatoes?

When preschooler’s play food assortments offer “plant-based alternatives,” we’ll know the shift is real.

Fading football fever

Football fever is starting to fade in some high schools.

Although Friday night games will still be a tradition in many areas this fall, research shows a declining percentage of participating students. Concussion awareness has made coaches work harder at recruiting athletes and convincing parents the game is safe.

A ripple effect is inevitable for cheerleading squads, marching bands and booster clubs.

Participation in sports looks good on college applications, but fewer students will be listing football.

Empowered to cope?

At all levels of education, the first weeks of the school year include active shooter drills.

However, parents and some mental health professionals are increasingly concerned that practicing how to respond in these potentially dangerous situations is adding emotional stress, starting in early childhood.

This fall, school systems are walking a fine line between empowering students to cope with situations, without creating unnecessary anxiety. Some say the next “new normal” for schools will be to help kids develop resilience. From what I’m seeing, we’re not there, yet.

“My plate” revisited

Remember when the government updated the food pyramid and gave us “My Plate?”

The color-coded plate was divided into fruit, grains, protein and veggies, with the dairy cup to the side.

We’re shopping so smart, we’ve created our own pyramid, based on fresh, clean and nutrient dense, all wrapped in quality.

The government doesn’t need another “Plate” update. We’ve already created it for our families.