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On the Radar: Melatonin Gummy Misuse, Noplace, and ‘Performative Friendships’

Parents Depend on Melatonin Gummies; Kids Can Become Reliant on Them.

What? Research published in JAMA Pediatrics found that one in five school-age children had taken melatonin supplements in the past 30 days. Of those children, one in four had taken melatonin every night.

So What? Thanks to momfluencers, many parents have begun to rely on the supplements—which sometimes contain up to 347% of the melatonin stated—for nighttime routines. Although the substance isn’t addictive, experts say when misused, melatonin produces a “sedative effect” (as opposed to the “sunset effect” of proper dosing) that can make parents and children psychologically dependent.

Now What? Research on the long-term effects of melatonin in children is still lacking. So consult your pediatrician for proper dosing before giving your child any supplement. And keep melatonin out of reach of children. Calls to poison-control centers for pediatric melatonin ingestions climbed 530% from 2012 to 2021 due to the candy-like gummies and colorful packaging.

New Social Media App Noplace Is No. 1 on App Store

What? Noplace a new social media app that TechCrunch called a “mashup of Twitter and Myspace for Gen Z,” is currently the No. 1 Social Networking app on Apple’s App Store. (Noplace is not yet available for Android users.)

So What? The app has no algorithms or ads. Posts don’t support pictures or videos (as of yet), just text. So families looking to take a break from traditional social media feeds—and potentially addictive scrolling patterns—may find some reprieve in noplace.

Now What? That said, parents should also be aware thatthere are no parental controls or private profiles. Users can rate their “top ten” friends, which could lead to bullying. Users can also choose to share posts with just their friends or with the “global feed.” And while that feed is moderated for users under 18—and the company is committed to creating a safe online experience—that still leaves room for folks to abuse the platform. So while noplace steers away from some of the more problematic features of social media, that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe.

How to Protect Your Kids from ‘Performative Friendships’

What? A “performative friendship” is where people “are encouraged to post … aspirational images of friendships,” says psychologist Dr. Alison McClymont. And this “pressure” to perform as a friend may lead to burnout.

So What? McClymont says performative friendships are often born out of jealousy toward another friendship or the fear of being seen as a bad friend. And she warns that those in these types of relationships may overextend themselves mentally, time-wise and even financially (in the form of gift-buying).

Now What? If you’ve heard your teen say, “Well, if I don’t do this, people won’t think I’m a good friend,” then they’re probably in a performative friendship. And McClymont’s advice is to “log off and put down the phone.” Feeling the need to document friendships on social media may cause your teen to have more shallow connections with their friends. Instead, encourage your kids to “step away from the social media screen and just live your life.”

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.

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