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Screenagers Documentary Review

by leeroseemery on March 26, 2016

AR-160129887I just had the opportunity to screen the very topical documentary made by Delaney Ruston, called Screenagers. This provocative film explores the impact that screen time and media addiction has on kids today. This is one of the most relevant parenting issues of the day, and managing kids’ media habits is a huge challenge facing modern parents and teens. Delaney, a doctor, and concerned Mom, like all of us,  is attempting to find the balance between allowing her teens access to the devices they desire, while, at the same time trying to set reasonable limits to encourage them to use the devices responsibly. I can’t think of one parent I know that doesn’t struggle with the challenge of monitoring kids and their screen time.

In the film, Delaney interviews neuroscientists who study the teenage brain who, like her, are concerned about the impact of prolonged screen exposure and its effects on kids’ ability to concentrate. What’s scary is that these devices are still relatively new, and we really don’t fully know the long-term effects of screen exposure. Still, well over half of America’s teens have smart phones. Another frightening statistic is that kids spend, on average, 6.5 hours a day on screens, not including classroom or homework screen time! Kids themselves, in the movie, talk about how they have trouble focusing at times. One boy in the film even had to be checked into a treatment facility to recover from a video game addiction that resulted in his failing out of college. The experts in the film reiterate that addiction is addiction – regardless of the substance. In other words, the brain acts the same way whether it is craving drugs or screen time.

I watched the film with my son, and it sparked such an interesting discussion at our family dinner. One of Delaney’s personal solutions was to instigate “Tech Tuesday” where the weekly family dinner topic in her home, is about how technology is affecting their family’s lives. I recommend seeing this film, either with your family, or your school. Details on community screenings can be found on the Screenagers website. Setting boundaries and limits around technology for adults as well as children is an issue that is unique to this moment in time. The consequences for parents not being “tech savvy” in this regard could have severely detrimental consequences on the health and future of our children. Why not have a family screen night and watch this documentary together? It may be one of the most important and thought provoking family movie nights you have all year.

From the website. “Every week, screenings at schools, churches, synagogues, youth groups, Girl Scouts, community centers, companies and all kinds of organizations around the world mean that more and more people are seeing this film and talking about the important topics it raises. If you don’t see a screening you can attend, learn how to host one in your community.”

 

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Holiday Cheer

by leeroseemery on December 22, 2015

x-mas111_053One of my favorite things about the holidays is decorating gingerbread houses with the kids. I’d like to tell you that I make mine from scratch. But I don’t. I buy a kit. I’d like to tell you that ours looks like this one on the left, but it doesn’t. We bought our kit at Bed Bath and Beyond for $9.99. The kits are nifty as they contain all the little pieces of gingerbread and all you need to do is to stand the sides of the house up and frost them together. Then the fun part happens and you can decorate them. We also  buy extra colorful candy to adorn the roofs. The holidays can get so rushed, and hectic. I am really looking for ways to reign it in, to find the spirit, to create time spent with family just enjoying each other. Our gingerbread houses are not perfect. Sometimes half the roof falls off. But each time we begin this family tradition, I feel so grateful for time spent with the kids doing something fun and fanciful together. It makes me feel the true magic of the season.

img_3478This one’s not finished but you can see the potential.

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The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns at Descanso Gardens

by leeroseemery on October 11, 2015

Jack'o lanterns Descanso GardensThis just in from LACityMom’s intrepid Beth Szymkowski:

“Autumn in SoCal has always been a bit of mind trick. We know we should be wearing sweaters and sipping hot cocoa as we prep for Halloween, but the reality is October brings some of the hottest days of the year.

So I was excited to see a night-time activity to get in the spirit of the season: The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns  at Descanso Gardens Sure, my car thermometer still read 95 degrees as I drove my sons to La Canada Flintridge, but at least it was dark out so we could get into a spooky mindset to see the impressive display of pumpkin art.

Visitors buy tickets for predetermined times and are shunted along Descanso’s dimly-lit garden paths by guides waving lights like airport workers guiding planes. My kids liked the feel of being surrounded by dark woods. I found myself relieved that I wasn’t keeping track of a toddler. The paths are smooth enough for strollers, but they are winding and bordered by rocks in many places so it would take some maneuvering to navigate with a set of wheels. Piped-in music plays throughout. It’s Halloween appropriate but not particularly loud.

I liked watching two of the carving artists at work. Some of the pumpkins are foam, but others are real and are constantly replaced throughout the season.

Many of the the Jack O’Lanterns are simply cute with basic carved faces, but others are amazing works of sculpture made by clustering individual carved pumpkins. Organizers clearly tried to have a little something for everybody. One cluster showed Sesame Street characters. One of the larger areas is dedicated to dinosaurs. Several individual pumpkins had nods to video games or pop stars. Even Donald Trump made an appearance.”

For more info on The Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns at Descanso Gardens CLICK HERE.

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Family friendly fun at the Masters Horse show

September 29, 2015 Play

If you have any horse lovers in the family, there’s a wonderful event coming up October 1-4 at the LA Convention Center. The Longines Masters of Los Angeles will showcase the thrill of Olympic-level show jumping, meet and greets with the world’s top-ranked riders, and of course a chance to see all the beautiful horses! […]

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Spain with kids – Barcelona and Madrid

May 16, 2015 Play

With the dollar catching up to the Euro for the first time in many years, it’s a great time to think about a European family vacation! Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about our recent trip to Spain for family travel site, CiaoBambino. We have found that our family’s European holidays have created so many […]

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Whale of a Weekend at Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

February 6, 2015 Play

I love any excuse to go the Santa Monica Pier and Aquarium. They are hosting a fantastic whale themed event Valentine’s Day weekend which will be great for families. Here’s the info below. Sounds like a whale of a time for sure! “Santa Monica, CA (Jan. 27, 2015) – Sightings of whales along the Southern […]

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CHILL at the Queen Mary

December 17, 2014 Play

This just in from my intrepid editor Beth Szymkowiski, – a great idea for some chilly family holiday fun! “The holidays always get me hankering for some of the snowy fun I enjoyed growing up on the East coast, so I was eager to check out CHILL at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. One […]

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Deck the Halls at Disney Hall, Los Angeles

December 4, 2014 Play

One of my all time favorite things to do with the kids is to go to a concert at Disney Hall. My Dad is an opera buff and I remember as a little girl he would take me to Lincoln Center in New York and then later, when we moved to DC to hear music […]

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Pancakes for Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014 Eat

One of my all time favorite Thanksgivings was spent with my then 3 year old at a diner in Los Feliz. Just as we were heading over to our friend’s for dinner and we noticed that our little girl had a rash all over her. We knew one of our friends was going to be […]

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LEAF College Savings Gift Cards – A great holiday gift idea!

November 6, 2014 Uncategorized

*this is a sponsored post, but as always, the views and opinions on LACityMom.com are my own. Thinking about how much it will cost to send my two kids to college is enough to make my head spin in spite of the fact that they are still years away from enrolling. Still it’s never too early […]

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