When I spoke recently to Faye Mishna about online bullying, she showed me, as an aside, a video of an iPad-savvy one-year-old who can’t work out why magazine images don’t scroll and zoom at the touch of a finger.
The video concludes with the line, “For my 1 year old daughter, a magazine is an iPad that does not work. It will remain so for her whole life. Steve Jobs has coded a part of her OS.”
Way to freak me out, Internet.
My first child just celebrated his first birthday and number two is due to touch down in November. Naturally, I’m in a perpetual tizz about the ubiquity of glowing rectangles. TVs are everywhere – restaurants, doctors’ waiting rooms, shopping malls, highway billboards. Not to mention my own collection of touch-sensitive devices courtesy of Jobs.
So far, we’ve been good about keeping our devices switched off when the boy is awake, but the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum, suggests that might all change soon.
“As a new parent, I dutifully followed the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines—no TV until two,” she wrote recently. “I did so in the manner of other parents I knew, which is to say with my first child. By 2007, when I was juggling a two-year-old and a newborn, a little TV watching in the pre-early morning seemed pretty appealing.”
Way to freak me out, legacy media.
Am I crazy to worry that glowing screens are effectively the zombie apocalypse, eating my kids’ brains and leaving them obese, sleepless, aggressive and unable to concentrate on one thing for more than a few minutes?
That’s TV. What about tablets? On one hand, they seem better because the user is active rather than passive. On the other, they can be more immersive. Intuitively, a tablet feels as though it more thoroughly cuts a child (or adult, for that matter) off from the world.
There is no shortage of videos featuring kids and iPads.
I can watch them endlessly, and have such a wide range of personal reactions (Cute! Terrifying! Fun! Don’t hurt your brain! Ten years from now, you will dominate me technologically!) that I ultimately want to seek refuge in data. As it happens, Kotsopoulos is part of a research project aimed at finding out more about the effects of mobile devices on young brains.
“We are in the middle of a study right now with tablets – funded through the Ontario Centres for Excellence,” she told me. “The one we are investigating is the VINCI . The research is rather grey on the issue because most of the [current] research or policy statements do not consider mobile devices.”
Kotsopoulos and her colleague Joanne Lee run a program called LittleCounters. In these workshops, they use interactive whiteboards but they will wait to see the results of more research before they consider using tablets.This puts my mind at greater ease, as this fall, I’m planning to participate in one of these workshops with my son, and report back here. I will also update any new research results related to kids and mobile devices.
Way to not freak me out, world of university research.
Gerald McMaster is fascinated by creative people who move in an out of, or are influenced by different communities and cultures. At once nomadic and connected, their experiences formed the basis of his early research.
Today, the Ontario College of Art and Design University professor, curator, author, and artist is about to dive back into this area of research. He is launching a multi-year project that will examine the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures interact, influence and inspire one another. read more »
Ten outstanding Ontario university scholars are being recognized for potentially life-changing research for women in Ontario and across the globe, as they look to develop health care in the areas such as HIV-care, contraceptives, and breast cancer.
The Council of Ontario Universities, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care introduced the Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Awards in 2001 to ensure that Ontario attracts and retains pre-eminent women’s health scholars. The awards aim to improve women’s health.
The 2016 recipients include postdoctoral, doctoral and master’s students from six Ontario universities. They each will receive scholarships of $25,000 to $50,000, along with research grants of $1,000 to $5,000.
This year’s recipients and their areas of research are:
Alisa Grigorovich, University of Toronto – how to create effective policies that address the sexual harassment of female workers by clients in Ontario residential long-term facilities.
Jocelyn Wessels, McMaster University – how female sex hormones found in contraceptives affect vaginal health and susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections.
Lori Chambers, McMaster University – the challenges and benefits to African immigrant women who are living with HIV and choose to work in prevention, treatment and advocacy for others with HIV.
Komal Shaikh, York University – assessing the effects of education-based therapy in treating and rehabilitating cancer survivors with cancer-related cognitive dysfunction.
Amanda D. Timmers, Queen’s University – how sexual arousal patterns vary across genders and how these variations can inform the treatment of sexual dysfunction.
Kelly Coons, Laurentian University – how to improve the ability of future health care professionals to counsel pregnant women on drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Sara King-Dowling, McMaster University – how the development of girls’ motor skills affects their overall health and activity levels over time.
Denise Jaworsky, University of Toronto – how living in rural and Northern areas of Canada affects the ability of women living with HIV to access care.
Justin Michael, Western University – developing tools to allow for a single-visit radiation treatment for women with breast cancer to make things easier for those living far from treatment facilities.
Shira Yufe, York University – how to encourage breast cancer survivors to adopt healthy lifestyle and weight management habits.
Each of the researchers has spent countless hours studying topics related to women’s health and improving the lives of women in Ontario. Their research (full descriptions available here) will contribute to the way that Ontarians (and the global community) live, work and play. Congratulations are in order to the award recipients!
First Nations women are up to 20 times more likely to develop cervical cancer compared to women in the general Canadian population, largely because very few First Nations women undergo Pap testing. But a project focusing on this population is coming up with new ways to improve screening and help get cancer rates down. read more »
New evidence shows an extensive Indigenous burial ground from as early as 4,900 years ago at “Hull Landing,” the present site of the Canadian Museum of History, directly across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill.
The find came to light last year thanks to the research of Carleton University journalism professor Randy Boswell and Canadian Museum of History curator, Jean-Luc Pilon.
While Bytown antiquarian Edward Van Cortlandt first investigated the site in 1843, knowledge of the burial ground’s true location was lost for more than a century. That is, until Boswell's recent series of discoveries in 19th-century Ottawa newspaper archives. read more »
Growing up in Northern Ontario as a member of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, Sheila Cote-Meek is no stranger to the impact of Canada's colonial history.
So when she set out to study colonized classrooms for her PhD dissertation — published as a book in 2014 — she had a good idea of the kind of stories she would hear from university students and professors.
Still, even she was taken aback: "I was shocked and saddened that in this day and age, students still have to deal with racism in overt and covert ways," she recalls. read more »