Technology and Young Eyes – Go Outdoors!

Maybe you worry about your children spending so much time in front of computer screens that it has a detrimental effect on their vision. The ready availability of technology may make the children of today faster at configuring a new smartphone, but does all of that screen time affect the development of their vision? As reported in recent research by two optometrists at Ohio State University (Zadnik & Mutti), another factor may be a more critical factor.

To their surprise, more time outdoors has a protective effect and reduced the chances that a child would go on to need myopic refractive correction. Without reporting on all the research that has gone into this determination, here is the dominant theory or conclusion: “The brighter light outside stimulates the release of dopamine from the specialized cells in the retina. Dopamine then initiates a molecular signaling cascade that ends with slower, normal growth of the eye, which means no myopia.” Actual light exposure, not just a decrease in the time spent reading because children are outdoors is the explanation for this “magic.”

No one before has ever said playing outside could help you prevent or minimize nearsightedness? I should have spent more time time playing outside when I was younger. In my case it was not the computer screen that intrigued me. It was TV.

Ray Myers

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We Have All Been Trumped!

Cable news loves Trump.  He has been a boon to their ratings over the past two years, and they are not letting go any time soon.  So in many ways, we have become what we like to watch, and Trump is the character who has captured our imagination for the right or wrong reasons.  It’s all about the ratings, baby!

“The three leading cable news networks rarely discuss any other topic other than Trump during prime-time hours, their highest-rated period of the day.  Trump is the focus during daytime hours, too, when cable news actually tends to report some news, rather than merely talking about it .  .  . But cable’s reliance on Trump is as much a programming strategy as a reflection of the news of the moment.  Zucker (Cable News Network President) acknowledges that the audience’s response to all the Trump news on cable validates the approach.  Only a few years ago, ‘writers wrote that cable news was irrelevant, that it was being overtaken by the Internet’ he said.  ‘The fact is, cable news has never been more relevant or more successful than it has been for the last two years.'”

And I thought the Internet was going to change the world!  I guess that watching TV is just more entertaining, and maybe that is what most people want to do during “prime time.”  Cable news has become our latest national obsession.  Jeff Zucker is very happy!

Ray Myers

All the News, All the Time, in the Palm of Your Hand!

The media is the message.”  Thank you again Marshall McLuhan, but I am not sure that you ever thought it would come to this.  I know I am only commenting on the news media in this case, but HOW we get our news may be as important to our understanding of WHAT is really happening in the world.  Why bother reading a newspaper when you can get it all the news on Facebook Live or Twitter Periscope.  Or why bother watching the news on TV when it’s all there on your smartphone.  Now I must confess that I am one of those “dinosaurs”  who still reads the newspaper(s) and watches TV (a lot of time for the news!).  So in many ways I am acting my age for better or worse?

“People who regularly watch cable news are old.  According to statistics compiled at the end of last year,  CNN’s prime time audience was the youngest in cable news – with a median age of 59.  The median age of Fox News’s prime-time audience is 68.  (TV news isn’t alone here.  The median age of a subscriber to The New York Times’s digital edition is 54; for print subscribers, it’s 60.  But of course, we all know that with age comes sophistication.)”.  This is a quote from the NY Times, 7/14/16.  Maybe the reality is that the younger you are, the more digital your world is.  A world that is faster and spontaneous, more live video without the benefit of any objective analysis?

The former president of CNN, Jonathan Klein, offers this: “Maybe all these years, the importance of scintillating video has been overblown, and the mission for news outlets could be to help the viewers understand what all the video really means.”

Ray Myers

I will taking a short break and will be back, next Friday, 7/22/16.  Hope you are enjoying your summer.



Advertising Digitally – Less TV Ads?

I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  It actually may be all good or all bad depending on your perspective, but here’s how things seem to be going.   Business advertisers in all fields realize that reaching their potential customer base may involve more investment in more digital outreach.  If you would like fewer commercials on TV, this will be the good news.  But if you would not like receiving more digital advertising on your computers and laptops, this will be the bad news.

Advertising experts expect this all to happen over the next couple years.  And if you think having a mobile device will exempt you from this advertising tidal wave, I am sorry to inform you that it is only a matter of time (unless you really like getting all these ads).  By 2018 mobile ads will account for 50.2 percent of Internet advertising, surpassing desktop ads for the first time.  Why waste money on TV advertising, when I can send you an ad that will be delivered to the mobile device in your pocket or purse?

Probably safe to say that most people will be looking at their mobile phones more than they will be watching TV.  It’s just a matter of time.  But I have forgetten that we live in the age of multi-tasking.  Why not do both?

Ray Myers