Pfizer asks F.D.A. to authorize children emergency use
On Thursday, Pfizer and BioNTech requested emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, which could help protect more than 28 million people in the United States. The agency will review the request with a tentatively scheduled meeting on October 26 to consider it, and a decision is expected by Thanksgiving.
The approval depends on the strength of clinical trial data and whether the companies are able to properly manufacture a new pediatric version of the vaccine. Children are expected to receive a different dosage or formulation, and Pfizer has proposed giving children one-third of the adult dosage.
Although children rarely become severely ill from Covid-19, the Delta variant drove nearly 30,000 children to hospitals in August.
What the Facebook whistleblower said about children
On Tuesday, the Senate heard testimony from Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who leaked internal documents to the Wall Street Journal. The documents exposed how Facebook is working on issues like Instagram affecting teenagers’ mental health.
In the hearing, which was titled “Protecting Kids Online,” Haugen made clear that Facebook was deliberately making efforts to keep users, including children, hooked to its service. Even worse, she said that Facebook had purposefully hidden disturbing research about how teenagers felt worse about themselves after using Instagram, and how promoting hateful content on its apps keep users coming back.
At one point in the testimony, Haugen said, “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won’t make the necessary changes.”
Many are referring to this as Facebook’s “big tobacco” moment while calling for increased regulation for “big tech.” Even Facebook’s own website says, “it’s time for updated internet regulations.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, pushed back on the whistle-blower’s claims in a note to employees which he posted on his Facebook account. He wrote, “Most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted.”
Facebook had previously announced plans to temporarily stop developing a new app called Instagram Kids, which would be targeted at children. Now, many politicians and journalists are calling for Facebook to cancel these plans instead of putting it on “pause.”
Technology is going to be a part of our lives and the lives of our children. Now, the question though is how much screen time should children have? According to recent studies on media use, kids under the age of 8 have almost two and a half hours of screen time daily.
Big tech’s solution has been repacking adult apps into kid’s versions—like Facebook Messenger Kids and YouTube Kids. The problem though is that the adult platforms are designed to be addictive because high engagement leads to more advertising revenue. While it’s not a secret that children are using adult platforms before they turn 13, this solution for a kid’s version is flawed before it even launches because parental controls can only do so much. With the inability to monitor and restrict harmful content, there’s no way to ensure a safe digital life for children.
Facebook’s own internal documents said, “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.”
“Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups,” said another slide.
The reality is that there is no parental control that would prevent teens from comparing themselves to others. Suicides are on the rise among young Americans of all races, which has contributed to lower life expectancy overall, according to new federal data.
Facebook argues that it helps “bring the world closer together.”
Parents Club often analyzes risk in research weighed against the corresponding benefit. And if Facebook’s own internal research is showing that among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram.
That’s a lot of risk for being more connected.
What do experts say children should eat?
According to a recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition, there are key issues for school-age children when it comes to a well-balanced diet.
Children today are not receiving enough fruits, vegetables, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber. They also found that children are overeating nutrient-poor snacks, sugar-sweetened foods, and sugary beverages.
During mealtime, children can achieve a balanced meal by dividing their plate into sections—50% of your child’s plate should be carbs (the healthy ones), 30% should be fat, 20% should be protein.
Karsen and I went deeper on this topic in this week’s Quick Tip episode:
The Strength Switch: How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish
This book shows us the extraordinary results of focusing on our children’s strengths rather than always trying to correct their weaknesses. Most parents struggle with this shift because they suffer from a negativity bias, thanks to evolutionary development, giving them “strengths-blindness.” By showing us how to throw the “strengths switch,” Lea Waters demonstrates how we can not only help our children build resilience, optimism, and achievement but we can also help inoculate them against today’s pandemic of depression and anxiety.
Check out our 10-minute book summary:
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The parenting content we’d share if we were in your group text.
Outlier: Rich countries contribute an average of $14,000 per year for a toddler’s care, compared with $500 in the United States.
Incognito: Students—many from lower-income households—were likely to use school-issued devices for remote learning that often contained monitoring software.
Court-appointed: Divorced parents are going to court over vaccinating their kids due to misinformation, causing stress and legal bills for already worried parents.
Sad Stats: COVID deaths are leaving 140,000 of kids grieving parents without a primary caregiver and the majority come from racial and ethnic minorities.
Back to Work: Moms are back to work, but child care resources are ‘laughable’ with yearlong waiting lists and babysitters nowhere to be found.
Red Flags: Child-care workers are quitting rapidly because ‘the pay is absolute crap,’ and this is a concern for the economy.
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See you next week,