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Doctor offers advice on student wellness

As the mental health of students becomes an increasingly widespread concern for parents, the Town Crier asked Palo Alto Medical Foundation pediatrician Dr. Kellen Glinder to share advice on how to help children maintain their emotional stability and concentrate on their studies.

Glinder attributed many of children’s mental and even physical health problems to excessive use of electronic devices. In the aftermath of concussion after a sports accident, for example, it can take weeks longer for today’s children to recuperate because they use their cellphones all the time and don’t give their brains a break, he said.

“For the brain to recover from concussion, it needs rest,” Glinder said. “If a concussion patient uses electronic devices, even recreationally, it still burdens the brain. It’s like running a marathon on a sprained ankle.”

Glinder recommended limiting children’s time on cellphones as a preventive measure. His guidelines for regulating cellphone use:

• Don’t give a cellphone to a child under age 12.

• Tell teenagers that their cellphones aren’t really theirs – they belong to their parents, who paid for them and can confiscate them if they are not used appropri- ately.

• Make sure that teenagers get enough off-screen time for eating, sleeping, exercising and socializing in person. Take the cellphone away when they don’t obey the rules.

• Forbid the use of cellphones in the bedroom.

• Set a time in the evening, perhaps 8:30 p.m., for all family members to turn in their cellphones to charge in a public area to ensure a good amount of off-screen time before bed.

• Encourage teenagers to practice yoga and learn mindfulness meditation, which should make them less screen-dependent, increase their attention span during off-screen time and help them build healthful habits.

– Crystal Tai

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