Recent Articles:

Below are past articles previously published in Drugs & Addiction Magazine. These are filled with current and relevant information and statistics and can be used as great conversation starters with youth.

A “gold standard” study finds deleting Facebook is great for your mental health

January 31, 2019

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!

January 30, 2019

FDA’s opioids adviser accuses agency of having ‘direct’ link to crisis

January 25, 2019

New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long Efforts

January 22, 2019

Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme

January 17, 2019

Resolve to Detox Your Social Circle

January 16, 2019

Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology grades

January 15, 2019

Craving insight into addiction

January 14, 2019

New book looks at the heart of Edmonton’s opioid epidemic through stories and art

January 11, 2019

People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study finds

January 10, 2019

Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1

January 9, 2019

Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answer

January 8, 2019

Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown

January 7, 2019

For-profit college cancels $500M in student debt after fraud allegations

January 4, 2019

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

January 3, 2019

Sexting Teens

December 19, 2018

Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?

December 19, 2018

Texting Etiquette & Safety: 5 Rules for Keeping Your Kids & Teens Secure & Drama-Free

December 17, 2018

Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rights

December 17, 2018

New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights Day

December 13, 2018

Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights Day

December 12, 2018

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

December 12, 2018

The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 11, 2018

Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy drive

December 10, 2018

Malala Yousafzai Honored by Harvard for Her Work Promoting Girls’ Education

December 7, 2018

Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight ban

December 6, 2018

Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehab

December 5, 2018

Clarity on Cannabis

December 4, 2018

Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquest

November 30, 2018

Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

November 28, 2018

Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

November 27, 2018

#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED

November 27, 2018

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

November 26, 2018

#ENDViolence in schools

November 23, 2018

Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child Day

November 22, 2018

November 20th marks National Children’s Day across Canada

November 21, 2018

National Child Day

November 20, 2018

Facts & Figures

November 16, 2018

The Push For Change®

November 15, 2018

Winter Giving 101

November 14, 2018

First came the stroke, then the inspiration…

November 13, 2018

Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott Hammell

November 9, 2018

John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speech

November 9, 2018

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone

November 8, 2018

This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancer

November 6, 2018

Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar exam

November 5, 2018

More teens in Sask. are smokers than in any other province: Health Canada survey

November 5, 2018

MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in Halifax

November 2, 2018

Young cannabis users who quit see improvements in memory, ability to learn

October 31, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention site

October 31, 2018

Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies: ‘There’s no lack of meth on the street’

October 29, 2018

Opioids Don’t Discriminate: An Interactive Experience.

October 26, 2018

Guelph police warn drug users of spike in purple fentanyl

October 25, 2018

Canadians share powerful stories of teachers who made lasting impressions

October 24, 2018

What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?

October 23, 2018

Study ADHD Medication Overdoses

June 14, 2018

A Cry for Guidance

January 18, 2018

Vaping 101 – Health Relation, Benefits, Dangers, Fun Facts and More

January 2, 2018

Your Friend’s Substance Abuse

September 15, 2017

Depression

September 15, 2017

Methamphetamines

September 15, 2017

Alcohol

September 15, 2017

25 Healthy Ways to Feel Better

September 15, 2017

Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?

December 19, 2018

The distractions of the digital era are upon us: Most American tweens and teenagers now have access to mobile devices and they spend an average of nine hours per day on entertainment media. This development has enormous implications for schooling. Educating children at a very high level is hard even in the best of conditions, particularly when they bear the burden and stresses of poverty. Addiction to screens makes this job even harder; indeed, as a leader of a large charter school network that serves many low-income children, at times I find it to be an even more pernicious obstacle than poverty itself.

To become educated to the level they need for college success, students must be well-rested and focused during the school day. Precious hours after school and on weekends must also be well-spent. Much of high school learning takes place through homework, independent reading, and extracurricular experiences like clubs, sports teams, volunteering, and interning. When kids have on-demand access to 24-hour entertainment without even leaving their beds, however, their motivation to engage in more valuable activities plummets.

We watch this phenomenon playing out every day at Success Academy. Our kids submit their assignments online and we can see that many high schoolers, and even middle schoolers, are completing and handing in their homework at 2 or 3 in the morning. When probed about the late hour, they admit they were spending the evening hours texting or on Instagram or Netflix. Scholars who were passionate readers in elementary school have lost interest as teenagers, thanks to the unyielding grip of “apps” that have been ingeniously designed to grab and hold the attention of even the most self-disciplined adults.

Social-emotional learning also suffers. When kids socialize online, they miss opportunities to practice essential speaking, communication, and conflict resolution skills. Ensconced safely behind their devices, they are more likely to engage in bullying behavior that tends to be more constrained in real-world interactions. In the old days, a bloody nose was concrete evidence of a conflict that needed solving. Today, school staff are forced to become cyber security sleuths, monitoring and investigating seemingly endless incidents of online bullying.

These developments are even more concerning when placed in the context of the vast inequities between rich and poor children that continue to plague our nation. A recent New York Times article chronicled a growing awareness among affluent parents about the adverse effects of excessive screen time. In wealthy enclaves like Silicon Valley, parents are flocking to “tech-free” private schools, restricting their kids’ device usage, or prohibiting it altogether.

Meanwhile, poor and middle-income parents aren’t getting the message. On average, their children spend two hours more on screens each day than those from affluent backgrounds. For kids who need robust academic and extracurricular experiences to close gaps with more privileged peers, every minute is precious. Growing dependence on screens threatens to pull  them further behind.

Schools have a critical role to play in closing this “knowledge gap.” At Success Academy, we work to educate our parents on the dangers of screen time, outlining its harms and potential impact on their scholars’ academic readiness for college. There are now many applications available to monitor and limit device use, and we explicitly recommend that parents employ these to restrict the time their children spend on smartphones and tablets.  

Educating parents must start early: As elementary school educators know, children are bringing mobile devices to school as young as kindergarten. France recently banned cell phones in schools, and while a growing number of districts — and even states — in the United States are also adopting this policy, most districts still take a laissez-faire approach. While teachers are free to impose a no-phones policy in their individual classrooms, it is almost impossible to uphold such bans when they are not in place across the school.

It falls on principals to take the lead, therefore, in requiring students to keep phones out of sight or at home during the school day, implementing clear and consistent consequences for violating the ban, and communicating early and often to parents about the “why” behind the policy.  

Schools are already burdened with myriad responsibilities and competing priorities when it comes to ensuring the well-being of kids in their care. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that actively working to curb screen addiction should rise to the top of those priorities. Mitigating this scourge will be an ongoing endeavor, but it will have a direct impact on schools’ capacity to fulfil the responsibility that is most central and sacred: ensuring children get the academic foundation they need for success in college, professional life, and citizenship.

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