Posted in mental-health, Parenting, Teen

Could Gaming be the Reason Teen Depression is on the Rise?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with working and Christmas shopping and writing. So, it has been productive. I had lunch today with a couple of friends from my writer’s group. I haven’t seen either one of them in a long time and it was good to see them.

Oddly enough we didn’t talk about writing. We talked about personal struggles and dealing with life. It was good to talk with them and open up about our fears for our kids and the trials we’re dealing with in our daily lives.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

It made me think about how different my childhood was compared to my own children’s. With the advances in technology, I find my kids spend more time in front of a computer screen than they do running around outside playing games like Kick the Can or Capture the Flag. This got me thinking about how teen depression is on the rise and it wasn’t a huge leap for me to think the advances in technology are to blame. Is that a fair conclusion for me to draw? Click here to see a study regarding this question.

The answer isn’t quite as simple as a definitive yes or no. Because there are some positive aspects to video games. Gaming is a great coping mechanism and it improves hand eye coordination and teaches teamwork when teens must work with another player to accomplish a goal. However, there are some negatives. Gaming can become addictive and it is isolating. It doesn’t provide the physical activity a young person needs to develop a strong body and physical activity, or exercise is a great way to combat depression.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

Especially in the Midwest, where it’s winter for nine months of the year, it’s important for kids to get outside and get that Vitamin D from the sun, and it’s equally important that they get outside and move their bodies.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

Statistics show that teen depression is on the rise. Exercise and getting out into nature are excellent ways to combat depression. Gaming doesn’t have the positive physical effects that exercise does. Exercise and getting out into nature are not only good for your soul they’re good for your body as well.

So, what is the answer? The answer is two-fold. I believe moderation is the key when it comes to gaming. Limiting the amount of time kids are on the computer is a key component to combating depression, but we need to also teach teens other coping mechanisms as well. We need to teach them to value nature and to respect our connection to it, and to get them into the habit of exercising at least one hour a day.

Photo on Visualhunt

This summer, I’m planning on taking my kids for a hike at least once a week. It will be a great way to stay connected to them and hopefully will develop some excellent ways for them to cope with the turbulent teen years they are about to start. They’ll be getting out into nature and exercising at the same time. I’m also going to insist they get outside for at least one hour during the day. We are fortunate that we have neighbor kids near us, and they do get together and play football or basketball when the weather permits.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

What about you? How do you feel about gaming? Do you think it’s the cause for the rise in depression? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Events, Literacy, Teen

Reading Rocks in Rockford this Saturday!

20111210_ABS_1296[1]Hello Everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today’s post is going to be a short one because I’m getting ready for the Reading Rocks in Rockford Festival this Saturday.

I’m really excited about this because I’m going to be conducting one of my Mystery Writing Workshops that day. So stop on down and check it out!  Information on the Festival is below! I hope to see you there!

Reading Flyer 2013 b (1)

 

Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Reviews for “If I Stay” and “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’ve been on vacation this week with the family and I must say it has been cold the last few days. So when I can’t enjoy the sun I like to read. And I must say I’ve read two awesome books this week. I read both of them in one day…they were that good.

The first one is titled, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. I must say this book rocked. The emotion and character development blew me away. I loved it. I identified with the main character Mia and I fell in love with her and her friends and family. All the characters were very real to me.

This is an incredibly sad story though. Make sure you have a box of tissue handy.

 The second book I read is the sequel to “If I stay.” It’s titled, “Where she went.” I loved this book even more than the first one. I got to know Mia’s boyfriend Adam in this story.  I must say I loved Adam. He was actually so strong and his love for Mia was unwavering. It’s one of those “I just can’t put down” books. It’s an emotional read so you’ll need another box of tissue for this one too, but this one has a happy ending.

I will definitely be reading more of Gayle Forman’s books.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. If you’ve got a book you’d recommend please do so by leaving the title in the comments. I’m trying to get back into the habit of reading. I’ve been writing so much lately that I haven’t had time to read.  I’m trying to change that.  🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

My thoughts on Video Games

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m here today talking about video games. My kids love them and when I was a kid I loved them too.

They could play them for hours if I let them. The game they love to play now is called Mine craft. At first, I didn’t get it. It seemed like such a pointless game. But then I had someone explain it to me and they put it in terms I could understand. It’s like Digital Legos and can be addicting. Well…Digital Legos… it can’t be that bad. I mean how violent can Legos be?

So, in that respect I don’t have a problem with Mine craft. In fact, it can be quite educational. I’ve explained to my boys that what is happening on the video game is Fiction. They learned about fiction and non-fiction in first grade so whenever I can I reinforce those lessons.

By playing Mine craft, my boys have been questioning what is fact and what is fiction. They will ask me questions like, is iron ore real? And I’ll say I don’t know, let’s look it up on the Internet. Well, after we research it and they learn iron ore is real…they’re on to the next question. Are cave spiders real?  And on it goes. We can spend a couple of hours researching these things that they were not even aware of if they hadn’t played Mine craft. So, in that respect, I’m glad my kids enjoy the game.

However, I do have a problem with video games as a whole. In my opinion, video games are a passive activity. What I mean is; it doesn’t require a lot of physical activity to play them. The industry is trying to combat this by attempting to make them more interactive. There are now dance games and sports games where the individual has to get up and move to play. This is a step in the right direction.

But, it doesn’t take the place of really getting involved and playing a game of soccer or baseball. This is where video games are unhealthy if they are played too much.

When kids play video games for hours on end or shut themselves in their rooms and play into the wee hours of the night then parents need to curtail their use. In my opinion, video games are okay if used in moderation.

Think about this, a child can’t play baseball for hours on end because they get tired and need a rest. I feel we should take that as a guideline, your child’s brain needs a rest too. But since playing video games is not physically taxing it’s easy to let an hour stretch into two… or three… or four.

As a parent I don’t ban video games from my home because they can be educational if used in the right way. But I do feel that they shouldn’t be the only activity my kids engage in. So, I limit the time my kids can play them.

In lieu of video games, I get the board games out. 🙂 That’s right good old fashioned board games…you remember those, right? Monopoly and Clue?

Just last night my sons and I played Monopoly. It was a great bonding experience, plus it’s educational too. They are still learning about money and how to count it in school, what a great way to reinforce that learning experience by playing a game about the exchange of money for goods and services.

Don’t overlook those oldies but goodies! We play Clue too! What a great way to teach your child to use their powers of deduction. 🙂 Kids will need that skill in life too!

And if all else fails…you could get the books out! 😉

Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my post. I would love to read your comments on video games or the oldies but goodies! So please share!

Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Paper Towns” by John Green

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you.  I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I know I am! The summer season goes by waaaayy to fast for me, so I try to fit as much fun as I can in during those three short months.

We were on vacation a couple of weeks ago and I actually had some down time. J So, I spent time lounging in the sun and reading! Yes, reading. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and just enjoyed a book! I’ve been so busy with my own writing and promoting that I’ve put reading on the back burner.

Well, needless to say, I read a book while sitting in the sun and enjoying the breeze that cooled my skin.  The book I read is titled “Paper Towns” by John Green.

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

 

 

I must say that I really enjoyed the book. I loved the character Margo. Such a brave girl and to see her through the eyes of Quentin who has had a crush on her forever was unique. I haven’t read that many books that gives the boys perspective on the “high school crush” theme.

I enjoyed the bond that Quentin developed with his two closest friends, Ben and Radar. It reminded me of my high school days and the bonds of friendship that I had developed with my friends.  I also enjoyed the secret crush that Quentin had on Margo and how she became a mystery that he needed to figure out.

That is the theme of this story, figuring out Margo Roth Spieglman. In the beginning, I said that she was brave and she was. I loved her character, her ability to find fun in any situation and her ability to stand up to her parents.

In the story, she chooses to disappear and Quentin is bent on finding her. He gets his friends involved and they travel cross country following clues that she has left behind for Quentin.

This story kept me turning the pages I wanted to solve the mystery of Margo Roth Spieglman just as much as Quentin did. The ending was a little sad. I’m a big believer in a happy ending so when Margo is found and they find out that she didn’t really want to be…well a few sparks fly.

It was also bittersweet to find out that while Quentin had been harboring a crush on Margo, she had been harboring a crush on him.  It reminded me of high school in so many ways and the secret crushes we all harbor and never get a chance to act upon.  So there you have it, my review of “Paper Towns” by John Green. It’s well worth the read! I’ll be getting another one of his books for my next trip up north!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to read my review. If you’d like to give me a suggestion for my next book, please do! Leave me a comment. I’m always looking for good reads!