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On the Radar: ‘Blue Light Stare’, ‘Hot Rodents’ and Proven Ways to Curb Screen Time

Gen Alpha Suffering From ‘Blue Light Stare’

What? “Blue light stare” is used to describe people who are so reliant on screens that they have a passive, nonchalant facial expression even when they aren’t using screens.

So What? Gen Alpha has been the main target of this mocking (mostly from Gen Z), but it could point to some deeper socialization issues.

Now What? If your Gen Z teen is teasing his or her younger siblings about this phenomenon, it might be a good time to talk about generational labels and how they can be hurtful. And if your younger child has “blue light stare,” consider cutting back on the screen time.

Gen Z Obsessing Over ‘Hot Rodent’ Men

What? “Hot rodent” is a new way of classifying guys who look “generally … pale, pinched, small-eyed and lanky,” according to The Times. It includes the likes of Challengers stars Mike Faist (who sparked this trend after folks online compared him to a mouse) and Josh O’Connor, as well as Timothée Chalamet (of Dune fame).  And apparently, it’s Gen Z’s new obsession.

So What? Although the trend is meant to be a compliment—a way of describing someone who might be a bit unconventionally attractive—the reactions to being called “rat boys” are somewhat mixed. And there’s also been some discussion as to the word’s history in anti-Semitic imagery.

Now What? Are your daughters perhaps setting unfair expectations based on a guy’s appearance because of this trend? Are your sons feeling self-conscious about whether or not they have this look? And do your teens know the negative connotations associated with calling people “rodents”? Talk it through with them. Make sure they aren’t jumping on this trend without knowing the potential repercussions. And hopefully, you won’t need to call an exterminator during this “Rat Boy Summer.”

Researchers Find Best Practices to Reduce Adolescent Screen Time

What? New research from UC San Francisco has found the most effective ways for parents to “curb screen time and addictive screen behavior” is to restrict screens in bedrooms and at mealtimes and model healthy practices at home.

So What? Experts (and Plugged In)have been pointing to these methods for years, but this new research proves they work: “Limiting and monitoring their kids’ screen time reduced it by 1.29 hours [at bedtime] and 0.83 hours [at mealtimes].”

Now What? Turning screens off at bedtime and mealtimes is certainly the easier part of this equation. But the third part, monitoring healthy practices at home, is the one parents really need to embrace. The study found that poor modeling by parents added 0.66 hours to children’s overall screen time. That may not seem like much, but the study also found that if your child mimics your bad screen behaviors, it could lead to mental health problems, physical inactivity and problems with sleep.

Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.