Do video games drive obesity?

A chubby teen lolling on the sofa for hours on end, the game controller in one hand, a bag of crisps at his side and a bottle of coke on the coffee table. This is the mental picture many people have of the typical gamer. Along with this goes the widespread notion that frequent gaming contributes to obesity. Is this justified?

“The study contradicts this stereotype for children and teenagers. In adults, there is a slight positive correlation between playing video games and body mass,” explains Professor Markus Appel, a communication psychologist at the University of Würzburg. Researchers from the University of Würzburg (Markus Appel, Caroline Marker) and from the Johannes Kepler University Linz and the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories in Bamberg (Professor Timo Gnambs) conducted a meta analysis comprising a total of 20 relevant studies with more than 38,000 participants. However, the analysis revealed only a small correlation between video game playing and excess weight or body mass. Only one percent of a person’s overweight can thus be attributed to time spent playing computer games.

No link in children and teenagers

The link was only established for adults but not for children and teenagers. “It may be that people who are overweight are more likely to continue their hobby of playing video games during the transition to adulthood whereas new leisure time activities become more important for others,” Appel suggests.

In the past, the link between gaming and overweight has already been studied by several researchers. “Overweight and obesity are usually associated with sedentary media consumption such as watching television or playing non-active video games,” the team of researchers writes in its current study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine. The new meta analysis was launched because the individual studies yielded different results.

Less time exercising

How can the correlation be explained? “We identified a significant indirect effect which shows that people who spend more time playing video games also spend less time exercising and therefore weigh more or have more body mass,” the team from Würzburg and Linz writes. Other factors such as eating junk food while gaming or lack of sleep were not verified because there were not enough relevant studies available.

The scientists considered only sedentary video games in their current analysis — i.e. games that are played in a sitting position. Active video games such as Wii Sports or Pokémon Go, which require the players to move, were not taken into consideration.

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Materials provided by University of Würzburg. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Social media use contributing to poor mental health in Indonesia

Social media use is contributing to poor mental health in Indonesia, research presented in a paper by Sujarwoto Sujarwoto, Gindo Tampubolon and Adi Cilik Pierewan has found.

The paper examines the specific effect of social media on mental health in the developing country.

It found that social media had a detrimental effect on mental health — as has been documented globally. But the authors noted specifics to developing countries such as Indonesia.

Researchers said that the country’s high levels of inequality are highlighted on social media leading to envy and resentment at seeing happy, positive social media images of how others live.

Inequality in Indonesia has been rising fast since 2000 and the country has the third-fastest-growing economy among the G20 economies.

It has a rising consumer class which contrasts starkly against those with less education or unable to get employment.

Indonesia’s transition to democracy has also played out on social media with negative results.

A cacophony of news about government failures, corruption, crime, conflicts and poverty is amplified on social media on a daily basis — providing little escape for the country’s citizens.

The study looked specifically at Facebook, Twitter and chat, and analysed 22,423 individuals across nearly 300 districts of the country.

Social media is incredibly popular in Indonesia; Facebook reported a total of 54 million individual users in Indonesia, making it the fourth largest Facebook-using country in the world, while Twitter reported 22 million Indonesian users, putting the country in fifth place worldwide.

Twitter also reported that Indonesian users publish a total of 385 ‘Tweets’ per second on average.

Meanwhile, mental disorders are becoming a major burden in the country.

Based on the latest Indonesia Basic Health Research survey 2018, the prevalence of individuals with mental disorders in the country is an estimated 11.8 million people.

Global Development Institute researcher Gindo Tampubolon said: “It’s a strong reminder that these technologies can have a downside.

“We would like to see public health officials think creatively about how we can encourage citizens to take a break from social media or be aware of the negative consequences it can have on mental health.”

The authors call for public health interventions and policies advocating wise use of online social media to prevent increased mental illness driven by excessive social media use in Indonesia.

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Materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Race, ethnicity and exclusionary discipline practices

Discipline and how it is administered in schools across the U.S. continues to be a hotly debated topic. Now a University of Kentucky doctoral graduate’s expansive research on the subject has been published in the Journal of School Psychology and is gaining widespread attention from teachers, administrators, and researchers.

Albert Ksinan, who earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Family Sciences in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment last year, is principal investigator on the study and completed the most comprehensive analysis of the topic to date while still at UK. Currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Ksinan is lead author on the paper, “National Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Disciplinary Practices: A Contextual Analysis in American Secondary Schools.” Co-authors are Alexander T. Vazsonyi, John I. & Patricia J. Buster Endowed Professor of Family Sciences (UK); Gabriela Ksinan Jiskrova, also a UK Ph.D. graduate in Family Sciences and now a postdoctoral fellow at VCU’s School of Social Work; and James L. Peugh, associate professor of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati.

The project analyzed how ethnicity and race are associated with school exclusionary discipline practices, which refer to students being removed from school as a form of punishment. Previous studies have found ethnic and racial disparities in the rates of school discipline actions, where ethnic and racial minority students (particularly African American youth) were found to be overrepresented among students that are disciplined.

“Exclusionary discipline can be particularly harmful during adolescence, because in many cases, it leaves adolescents without any real possibility to finish high school,” said Ksinan. “Given that adolescence is the developmental period associated with the highest rate of delinquent behaviors, it is can be argued that school expulsion during this ‘window of vulnerability’ leads to an increased risk of engaging in substance abuse and violent crime, and an associated increased likelihood of contact with the juvenile justice system.”

The data for the project included the universe of all U.S. public middle and high schools collected in 2013-14 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). It is the most comprehensive study thus far to provide estimates of ethnic/racial discrepancies in who gets disciplined for 7 ethnic/racial groups (African American, Asian, Native American, Hawaiian, Hispanic, Two or more races, or White), with a dataset including almost 16,000 middle schools and more than 18,000 high schools, representing more than 22 million adolescents. Furthermore, the study assessed whether certain school characteristics (school size, percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch, ethnic/racial diversity of the student body, whether the school is urban/suburban/rural, the U.S. region in which the school is located) affect the rates of exclusionary discipline practices as well as the ethnic/racial discrepancy.

“The results showed robust evidence of persistent discrepancies in disciplinary practices across ethnic/racial groups, with African American students and students indicating two or more races found to be at increased risk for being suspended/expelled compared to White students in both middle and high schools,” said Ksinan. “Further, the risk for African American students and students indicating two or more races were higher in schools with higher poverty rates and a greater ethnic/racial diversity of the student population. Schools with students characterized by higher poverty and ones smaller in size reported higher rates of school discipline actions.”

There was a result which surprised the researchers, according to Ksinan.

“Schools in the Midwest had significantly higher rates for most disciplinary measures as compared to Southern schools,” he said.

With a focus on ethnic/racial discrepancies, the study provides evidence of systematic differences in how school disciplinary actions are applied, with African American youth and students indicating two or more races at increased risk for being disciplined; in turn, this can lead to a variety of problematic consequences. Thus, this research is instrumental in providing renewed impetus to the broader discussion on disciplinary actions and practices in America’s middle and high schools.

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Materials provided by University of Kentucky. Original written by Carl Nathe. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Personal care products send a child to the emergency room every two hours

In homes across the country, there are dangerous products hidden in plain sight on bathroom counters and bedroom dressers. Personal care products like shampoo, lotion, makeup, nail polish and cologne seem like they should be safe since they are intended for use on our bodies. However, in the hands of young children, these products can quickly lead to trouble. A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that 64,686 children younger than five years of age were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries related to personal care products from 2002 through 2016 — that is the equivalent of about one child every two hours.

The study, published today in Clinical Pediatrics, found that most injuries from these products occurred when a child swallowed the product (75.7%) or the product made contact with a child’s skin or eyes (19.3%). These ingestions and exposures most often led to poisonings (86.2%) or chemical burns (13.8%).

“When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen,” said Rebecca McAdams, MA, MPH, co-author of this study and senior research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s. “Kids this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at. They see a bottle with a colorful label that looks or smells like something they are allowed to eat or drink, so they try to open it and take a swallow. When the bottle turns out to be nail polish remover instead of juice, or lotion instead of yogurt, serious injuries can occur.”

The top three product categories leading to injuries were nail care products (28.3%) hair care products (27.0%), and skin care products (25.0%), followed by fragrance products (12.7%). Nail polish remover was the individual product that led to the most number of visits to the emergency room (17.3% of all injuries). Of the more serious injuries that required hospitalization, more than half were from hair care products (52.4%) with hair relaxers and permanent solutions leading to more hospitalizations than all other products.

Also of concern, is the ease of access to these products. “Children watch their parents use these items and may try to imitate their behavior. Since these products are often stored in easy-to-reach places and are not typically in child-resistant containers, it is can be easy for kids to get to and open the bottles,” said McAdams. “Because these products are currently not required to have child-resistant packaging, it is important for parents to put them away immediately after use and store them safely — up, away, and out of sight — preferably in a cabinet or closet with a lock or a latch. These simple steps can prevent many injuries and trips to the emergency department.” Researchers also recommend that pediatricians discuss these safe storage guidelines with caregivers during well-child visits.

Parents and child caregivers can help children stay safer by following these tips:

  • Up, away and out of sight. Store all personal care products safely: up, away and out of sight — in a cabinet that can be locked or latched is best. Never leave personal care products out unattended and put them away immediately after use.
  • Store safely now. It is never too soon to start practicing safe storage. Almost 60% of the injuries in this study were to children younger than 2 years of age.
  • Original containers. Keep all personal care products in their original containers.
  • Know how to get help. Save the national Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) in your cell phone and post it near your home phones.

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Materials provided by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

I Wanted to Learn to Swim Before I Turned 30. Easier Said Than Done.

Whether I’m being forced to participate in a team-building icebreaker or I’m trying to make conversation on a first date, I have one go-to fact about myself that always works: I can’t swim. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but I’ve reached my late 20s still have to hold my nose when I go underwater. I’ll turn 30 next year, and I’m ready to find a new fun fact.

My mother wants you to know that my inability to swim is not her fault; I did in fact take swim lessons as a kid. I remember that the classes took place in a local Marriott pool in my New Jersey hometown, and that pool had a waterfall. But while the luxurious image of that indoor pool somehow imprinted in my brain, the ability to float, or cannonball, or even dunk my head underwater did not.

I travel regularly for work and for fun, which means I’m often lucky enough to be near a body of water. On professional trips, I’ve turned down the opportunity for (free!) surf lessons more times than should be legal. With friends, I’ve missed the opportunity to jump into a waterfall in Costa Rica or off the side of a boat in Texas. The inability to swim means I miss out on all sorts of water-adjacent activities like jet skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, and the cliché rom-com moment when a love interest dunks my head underwater in a pool.

This is by no means a sob story—I’m incredibly lucky to have these opportunities, and in lieu of participating in water sports, I’ve become a champion poolside layer, watcher of wallets, and beachfront reader of YA novels. I’ve perfected the level of swimming I do feel comfortable doing: At the beach, I’ll wade into water as deep as my chest and roll with the waves in the same way my friends do. But I’ve always felt a cold core of panic underneath my casual splashing. If I notice my group drifting too far into the ocean, I’ll slowly try to inch my way back to shore, still participating in conversation, hoping no one notices I’m subtly trying to move back to land.

I turned my inability to swim into a punchy fun fact, but the moment I’m hit with any follow-up questions, I have a hard time explaining. “I just never learned” isn’t quite true, because I had taken lessons. “I don’t like the water” is also a lie, because I’m always willing to wade in and I have a Leo’s addiction to the sun. After a decade of opting out of water-related activities, I had even reframed my “no” as empowering. I felt proud that I knew myself and my body well enough to steer clear of surfboards and kayaks. But as I inch toward a new decade, I’m ready for a new challenge and a new narrative.

So, about 20 years after my first set of swim lessons, I decided to try them again.

My first challenge was finding a coach and a pool in NYC. I scheduled phone calls with various swim schools. I pictured myself in various possible scenarios: Treading water in a group of adult learners, towering over toddlers in bikini tutus, or commuting from a luxury pool uptown to my Brooklyn apartment with a tote bag full of wet clothes. One potential coach wanted me to commit to five lessons over two weeks. Another asked me immediately and abruptly if I had experienced any trauma associated with water.

I decided to work with Kate Pelatti, COO at Imagine Swimming, who asked thoughtful questions about my experience in the water and didn’t make me feel embarrassed to be what my high school would call a “super senior.” Best of all, one of Imagine Swimming’s 14(!) pools was at CUNY Medgar Evers, a college located about two blocks from my apartment. I planned to dress for my first lesson in what I deemed my most professional swimwear: A high-waisted bikini with the sturdy straps of a sports bra. We set a date for my first lesson, and scheduled it for 30 minutes, or 40 if, as Pelatti wrote via email, “the energy was there.” Of course I can go 40 minutes, I thought, I’m in great shape.

I moved on to mentally planning a surf trip to Australia where I’d impress the locals as an adult-onset swim prodigy. I felt half nervous, half preemptively proud that I had taken action, and absolutely sure that I’d be an Olympic swimmer within a few weeks.

When I arrived at the pool, reality hit.

I fell off my high horse the moment I stepped into the locker room. On a weekday afternoon, I expected an empty room or perhaps one impossibly chic person who was also choosing to better themselves. Instead, the room was filled with the people who I guess are most likely to be swimming on weekday afternoons: children. Women who looked about my age helped little boys into their bathing suits, the same 4- and 5-year-olds who were about to completely own me in the water.

Thankfully, Pelatti had agreed to meet me for four one-on-one sessions. That meant I didn’t have to learn alongside actual children, just near them, at a much slower pace. I was the only non-instructor over 10 in the pool. It was hysterical and mortifying, and I wish I could have taken pictures without seeming even creepier than I already did as the only adult in the pool.

Pelatti brought me goggles and a swim cap, and the first thing I learned was how to dunk my cap in the water before putting it on like Katie Ledecky. (Unlike Ledecky, I needed Pelatti to help me put my cap on for the subsequent month.) From there, we climbed down the pool ladder and found our own corner about 20 feet away from a group of kids.

My first task: learning to hold my breath.

For those first 30 minutes, Pelatti demonstrated how to blow bubbles in the water using my nose and mouth. The breath is simultaneously the simplest and most difficult part of swimming, and it’s the breath that I’ve always had trouble with. Once I could instinctively hold my breath underwater, we thought, the rest would follow. We were right—but it was much harder than I expected.

Do an exercise for me: Make the face you use when blowing out birthday candles. Your mouth becomes a perfect “O,” and that’s how it should stay, Pelatti taught me, while breathing out underwater. I spent 10 minutes bobbing from above to below the water, thinking “birthday cake, birthday cake, birthday cake” the entire time. With that down, it was time to go underwater while blowing out my nose—the same effortless motion I’d watched my friends (and the 5-year-olds a few feet away) do for two decades while unable to replicate it myself.

I did it, but it required all my mental energy. I imagined the deep, body-filling breath I had learned through yoga, and thought yoga, yoga, yoga every time I went from above to below. It was exhilarating to achieve, and also much harder than I expected.

Like a good coach, Pelatti made sure I ended the lesson feeling accomplished. I spent the last few minutes learning to float on my back—a position that requires a flat back and high, proud chest and chin. Once again channeling a yoga instructor giving form modifications, I was able to pop up into a back float easily. I did a few laps of our lane kicking on my back, immediately forgot how hard the underwater portion had been, and ended the lesson feeling like a swimming prodigy. Pelatti told me to practice breathing in the bath, and sent me home until lesson two.

The next week, I found myself really looking forward to my lesson. This time, Pelatti had me do “bobs” in the water. I jumped up and down “like a rabbit,” going under each time. The repeated jumps were meant to get my breathing in a comfortable rhythm. It reminded me of the times I’ve tried meditation and spent the whole session thinking I’m not thinking. As much as I wanted to lose myself in the process immediately, I had to concentrate hard to keep my fear of feeling short of breath underwater at bay. But eventually, it did feel mindless, the exact way I assume everyone else feels when they jump into a pool. In fact, it made me so happy to feel like I was going underwater “normally” that I didn’t want to move on—but it was time for phase two.

With the breathing down, Pelatti had me hold a kickboard and attempt to kick my feet to swim, the same exercise some kids were doing a few lanes over. I completed the exercise, but it required total concentration and 100 percent of my brainpower to do. Pelatti termed the lesson a “breakthrough.” I was thrilled to have accomplished a physical task, the same way I imagine a carpenter feels looking at a just-completed bench.

Feeling empowered, we scheduled two more lessons. The first ended up being one of those Freelance Mondays where I woke up, immediately started working from bed, and didn’t look away from my computer (let alone brush my teeth) until 3 P.M. I didn’t have time to mentally dwell on the exercises like I’d done in the past—I just grabbed my suit and walked to the pool.

My long, stressful day met me in the water. After our progress last week, Pelatti had me try dolphin jumps. The move involves creating an arrow with your hands in front of your face, then jumping headfirst into the water (or, ideally, an incoming wave.) As you exhale underwater, your body sinks deeper. Pelatti demonstrated the move I’d seen hundreds of times at the beach. It looked simple enough—but I panicked every time I went under. I felt like I was running out of breath underwater and kept popping back up before I really had time to sink.

During that lesson and the next, we moved on to the butterfly stroke and returned to bobs for more practice holding my breath underwater. But I never achieved the same flow that I had felt in the beginning, when I was learning just as quickly as the kids in the next lane. Fitness instructors are always yelling in class about how that last rep is all about mind over matter, but it wasn’t until I tried to swim that I realized just how intensely my thoughts control what my body is capable of.

I wanted to end this story with a triumphant anecdote and a cute video for my Instagram of me jumping off a diving board. But I was so frustrated during my final lesson that I didn’t even have the courage to try. With a bit of distance, I can see how much progress I did make: I learned to float on my back, to do a few various strokes, and to hold my breath underwater. But more importantly, I was reminded of the importance of staying present, of moving through frustration, and letting myself fail. Swim lessons were a glitch in the matrix that is my typical routine, and for that alone, it was worth it.

I’ll be on vacation next week, and I can’t wait to test my skills in the wild. And maybe next summer, I’ll feel ready for that surf lesson.


Hydroflask Water Bottle for Kids Review

I am one of those privately gross people who looks outwardly put together, but has a secret stash of unwashed water bottles tucked away, slowly growing their own petri dishes of filth. It’s not that I’m an unhygienic person, per se, but as a lazy city dweller with no dishwasher, I really can’t bring myself to do the necessary poking around with a brush just to get to the sludge-y bottom. So every so often I’d buy a new one and add another to my collection of retired S’wells and bkrs.

That was until a former colleague showed me the little Hydroflask she picked up for her kid. Hydroflask water bottles, as you may already know, are great. They routinely top “best of” water bottle lists—for people who care about rankings of water bottles, like me—due to their durable stainless steel frame, temperature regulation, and spill-proof lids. And I can confirm, after months of using one, that all of the above is true. Drinks stay cool longer, nothing sloshes out onto my work clothes when I’m commuting, and my water also doesn’t take on a metallic aftertaste when I sip from it.

My sister—a devotee of the full-size Hydroflask—scoffed after seeing me swig from this pint-size water bottle. “How often do you have to refill that?” she asked me. Well, that’s sort of the point. The comparatively compact size of the water bottle (which holds exactly 12 ounces of water) is just the right amount for toting to a one-hour yoga class, and plenty sufficient to get me through a meeting or two at work. But it has its limits, which forces me to take regularly scheduled breaks to get up and refill the thing, instead of toiling over my laptop for hours at a time.

The best thing about it? Since it’s the first water bottle that I actually know how to clean—its wide mouth allows me to squeeze a sponge inside, and the depths of it are shallow enough to scrub the bottom—it’s saved me from continuing to splurge on price-y water bottles or feel guilty about tossing single-use paper cups. I’ve become so attached that it’s a constant companion on trips to the park, to work, to my yoga studio, and abroad (it’s the perfect size for a carry-on), which for now has kept my bottle hoarding down to a very manageable minimum.

Buy it: Hydro Flask 12 oz. Kid’s Water Bottle, $30,

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Highlights From the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup So Far

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway in France, and ICYMI, the competition is already hot. Really hot.

We’re just one week into the month-long tournament, and records have already been broken, history has already been made, and controversy has already been stirred.

Missed any (or all) of the action? That’s OK. Here, we recap the need-to-know happenings to date, plus what’s coming up next and how you can tune in for it all.

The U.S. team dominated in their first game.

Team USA made their World Cup debut Tuesday, beating Thailand 13 to 0 and breaking a few records in the process. The 13-point shutout set a new record for the most goals scored in any World Cup game—women’s or men’s. Their especially strong performance in the second half of the game, in which the women netted a rub-your-eyes-to-believe-it 10 goals, also set a new record for the most goals scored in the second half of any Women’s World Cup (WWC) game. CNN pointed out that in just the span of that single game, the U.S. women scored more goals than the U.S. men’s team scored in the last four World Cups *combined.

A record seven Americans contributed points.

Superstar forward Alex Morgan led the scoring streak for the Americans, securing five goals to tie the record set in 1991 by American Michelle Akers for the most goals scored in a single WWC game. Midfielders Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle, who are both playing in their first ever WWC tournament, each contributed two goals. Forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Lindsey Horan, also new to the WWC circuit, scored one goal each. Veteran forwards Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe scored one each as well. In total, seven different Americans scored during the 90-minute game, setting a new record for the most individual scorers from one team in a Women’s World Cup game, per CBS.

To put the U.S.’s scoring streak into perspective, the average number of goals scored per game in the tournament so far is just 3.1, according to

The U.S.’s performance sparked a debate on sportsmanship.

Throughout the second half of the game and after it wrapped, critics voiced displeasure over how the Americans continued to score after the game was essentially a runaway and/or how emphatically they celebrated each goal. Some headlines described their behavior during the heavily one-sided match as “ruthless,” CBS News reported. Hope Solo, starting goalkeeper for the gold-medal winning 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup squad, penned a column for The Guardian that called some of the celebrations “a little overboard.”

Team USA head coach Jill Ellis, multiple players, and many viewers online quickly (and rightfully so) came to the team’s defense.

“I sit here, and I go, if this is 10-0 in a Men’s World Cup, are we getting the same questions, to be quite honest, you know?” Ellis said, according to CBS News.

“These are goals we have dreamt of our entire life,” said Morgan, according to ESPN. “I mean, I’m going to celebrate Mal Pugh’s goal. I’m going to celebrate Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle. This is their first World Cup and I’m so proud of them. And I couldn’t have dreamt of scoring five goals in a World Cup. So it’s incredible for us all and I’m happy just ignoring those comments.”

It’s also important to note: Goal differentials, not wins alone, affect a team’s standings in this first stage of tournament play. That means that the team that’s scored the most goals has the advantage, so it’s absurd to limit your goals based on some notion of sportsmanship.

This whole fiasco got a lot of people talking about the double standard that women and men face (in many ways) in professional sports. If you want to read some good takes on this, here are a couple from The Atlantic and The New Yorker.

Several other countries made headlines with their wins.

The Italians won their first World Cup game in two decades, upsetting Australia 2 to 1 on day three of the tournament, CBS News reports. And, the Argentinian squad, after not playing at all from 2015 to 2017 due to what The Guardian described as “blatant sexism” from the Argentinian Football Association, who cut the team’s funding, drew 0 to 0 in their opener against Japan. The zero-scoring feat is much more impressive than it sounds, as Japan won the 2011 Women’s World Cup, and is currently the #7 FIFA-ranked team, compared to #37 FIFA-ranked Argentina.

Both France and Germany, two of the U.S.’s biggest competitors, have won two games so far, with the French squad beating South Korea 4 to 0 and Norway 2 to 1; and the Germans besting both China and then Spain 1 to 0. England, another strong competitor, won its first game, besting Scotland 2 to 1. The Brits play their second game on Friday, July 14 against Argentina.

In terms of standout athlete performances, 34-year-old Brazil forward Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva made news—and history—by scoring three goals in the team’s match against Jamaica, leading her team to a 3 to 0 victory, and in the process, becoming the oldest player in tournament history to net a hat trick, per CNN.

Here’s what’s coming up next and how you can tune in.

Games in the “group phase” of the tournament continue now through Thursday, June 20, with each country playing three games within its designated group. The Americans’ next match in the group phase is on Sunday, June 16 against Chile, who lost its first game against Sweden 2 to 0. The Americans will play again on Thursday, June 20 against Sweden, currently ranked #9 by FIFA.

Then, games in the “knockout phase” of the tournament, which features the top-performing teams from the group phase, begin on Saturday, June 22 and continue through Sunday, July 7.

If you’re in the U.S., you can watch the games live in English on Fox and FS1, or in Spanish on Telemundo and Universo, reports ESPN. You can also stream the games online through SlingTV, Hulu Live, and FuboTV, reports TIME. Highlights will be recapped on the FIFATV YouTube channel and on

For a full schedule of games, check out the listings on the FIFA website.


On Choosing to Share Your Abortion Story Online—Or Not

The headlines broadcasting the many attacks on abortion access are nonstop: Georgia signs a 6-week abortion ban into law; Missouri’s last abortion clinic risks closure; Alabama enacts a near-total abortion ban with the most restrictive bill in the nation. Thankfully, none of these bans have actually gone into effect, but the threat remains chillingly real.

After each devastating bit of news, a social media storm erupts with tweet after tweet about abortion—about broken condoms, about sexual assault, about feeling unready, about abusive relationships, about health issues, about just not wanting to be pregnant. Like clockwork, those who have had abortions—including cis women as well as trans men and non-binary people—come forward to lay bare some of their most personal stories.

If you’ve had an abortion and you’re active on social media, you might be grappling with the possibility of adding your voice to the movement. Even though there are equally valid reasons to share and not to share, it’s not always a simple decision to make—especially now that sharing can also feel like begging lawmakers and fellow constituents alike to recognize your humanity.

The power of telling your story

For Chloe Mason, 28, sharing the story of her abortion on Instagram was about owning her narrative. “I got to a point where I had to live unapologetically,” she tells SELF. “Being queer, being a person of color, I just had to take up space. I want to live transparently so that other people can feel supported and free of shame.” After Mason posted about her abortion, people reached out to share their own stories. “It was clear some of them hadn’t told anybody except me,” she says.

“Sharing stories is a way to shatter the stigma by normalizing and humanizing a very common procedure,” Kathryn Stamoulis, Ph.D., president of the American Psychological Association Society of Media Psychology and Technology, tells SELF. “Women’s voices have historically been silenced, especially women of color and women in other minority groups.” And in many ways, the experiences of trans men and non-binary people who have had abortions have been erased from the narrative entirely.

There’s a lot of incentive to make your voice heard. Talking about abortion can help you find others who have had similar experiences and a community you can relate to, which not only can help you feel less isolated and alone but can also be a wonderful well of support to draw on when you need.

On top of that, some want to be part of a larger push to ask people in society to see those who’ve had—and will need—abortions with compassion.

“Anyone who decides to be real about their story and own their life on their own terms is going to cause the world around them to shift,” Amelia Bonow, co-founder of the abortion storytelling movement Shout Your Abortion, tells SELF. “It forces the people around them to confront the fact that they know and work with and likely care about and respect a person who’s had an abortion.”

To be clear, people telling the stories of their abortions isn’t new, and it certainly isn’t always tied to the news cycle or a trending hashtag like last month’s #YouKnowMe, started by Busy Phillips, who shared her own story after the news of Alabama’s potential near-total ban. Though a Twitter feed full of abortion stories might not feel so shocking now, disclosure was considered radical early in the reproductive rights movement—especially in the case of activists fighting for the decriminalization of abortion by publicly talking about their illegal abortions.

“Storytelling has always been a real part of how women of color have organized and has long been a survival strategy for marginalized communities,” Loretta Ross, a human rights activist of 50 years, tells SELF. Ross was a co-founder of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and served as the National Coordinator from 2005 to 2012. She’s one of the women of color who helped coined the term “reproductive justice” to describe a push for bodily autonomy that centers the most marginalized, a framework that has played an integral part in U.S. reproductive politics ever since. Simply put, Ross has been in this for the long haul. She first encountered storytelling as activism through the National Black Women’s Health Project (now known as the Black Women’s Health Imperative) in 1983, where they used a form of storytelling called “self-help.” “[It was] about telling about your own personal story of reproductive oppression and finding out in the process that you weren’t alone,” she says.

Similarly, organizations and networks like Planned Parenthood, Shout Your Abortion, We Testify, The Stigma Toolkit, Reclaim, and many more have provided platforms to people who have had abortions to tell their stories for years—and while the impact has been undeniable, to say the movement is complicated is an understatement.

When sharing isn’t so straightforward

A lot of people, such as Ellen R.*, 23, prefer not to be open about their abortions for the unambiguous reasons that it’s just too personal and no one on the internet is entitled to their stories. “The whole situation is a very intimate one between me and my current boyfriend,” Ellen tells SELF. “It’s still very much a part of our lives and our relationship, and my decision not to share is just as much about his privacy as it is about mine.”

Unfortunately, some people who might otherwise want to own their stories online choose not to for their own safety and well-being. And it’s not difficult to see why: “Social media has the power to generate contentious, mob-like behavior, and it is impossible to predict what post will spark harassment or rage,” says Stamoulis.

This can pretty easily veer into trolling. “Anti-abortion folks are trolling those who are willing to come out and publicly talk about their abortions at extraordinary rates,” Deana A. Rohlinger, Ph.D., author of Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America and professor of sociology at Florida State University, tells SELF. Rohlinger has spent a lot of time researching the individuals online who actively target people because of their beliefs. Much of her work involves digging through the trenches of online abortion politics, and it’s often not pretty. Cruel jokes, anti-abortion memes, slut-shaming, accusations of murder, and graphic photos are all potential responses if you share about your abortion on a public platform. That response can worsen exponentially if you’re a person of color, queer or trans, disabled, or otherwise marginalized.

This kind of harassment lives mostly on Twitter and Facebook. It’s hard to say definitively if Instagram is any better—researchers typically find it to be a harder platform to research due to analytics availability, according to Rohlinger—but anecdotally, it seems like a slightly more positive community for reproductive rights activists. This makes sense since Instagram lacks some of the sharing features like retweets and large-scale sharing that allow tweets and Facebook posts to spread like wildfire, potentially attracting the attention of trolls. The worst Mason gets on her Instagram, where she has 23.1K followers, is an occasional aggressive DM, which is easier to ignore than the flood of malicious mentions some people deal with on Twitter.

Not all unwanted or potentially violating reactions come in the form of trolling, though. Posting your story online is an invitation for reactions from media outlets that can boost it to virality, from Reply Guys, to annoying devil’s advocates who want to debate, to media outlets rounding up tweets on a given topic. Even the deluge of positive reactions can be depleting; at one point, Mason had to take a step back from the stories in her DMs, which were sometimes incredibly heavy. “I’m not equipped to be anyone’s counselor,” she says.

All of the above can have an uncomfortable consequence: Your story might wind up being used in a way you never intended. “The stories don’t remain in the hands of the storyteller,” says Ross. “Who has the power to determine what our stories mean? Will they be used in narratives that say we’re problematic communities because of our stories? Will they be used in narratives that say our strength and our resilience should be mined for resistance?”

Taking potentially unwanted responses out of the equation, sometimes social media is just…exhausting. It’s easy to get compassion and disclosure fatigue. “When you log onto Twitter, it’s already this Rolodex of every possible political nightmare coming to fruition at once, interspersed with all the people you follow sharing super heavy personal things,” says Bonow. “It’s a lot. I understand people being over it or resentful of the expectation that that’s how we have to engage with anti-choice lawmakers.”

It’s this exact dynamic keeping Melissa Vitale, 26, from talking about her abortion on social media, even though she’s open about it elsewhere. “I personally was not going to join in because I think it’s bullshit that I have to do another fucking thing to compensate for the patriarchal culture we live in,” she tells SELF, speaking of the long history of people—primarily women and especially women of color—who have shared their “traumatic, often life-threatening abortion experiences” in an effort to convince conservative lawmakers to afford them bodily autonomy.

Not to mention, there are certain implications of this public storytelling, like that people need to justify their abortions with appropriately “sympathetic” stories. Actor and comedian Hannah Solow summed it up when she tweeted, “I feel proud and honored to hear people sharing their #YouKnowMe abortion stories, but let’s be clear, you don’t need to have a ‘reason’ to have an abortion. You shouldn’t have to prove to anyone why you want control over your own body and your own life.”

On a related note, you don’t need a reason not to tell your abortion story online. It doesn’t have to pose a threat to your safety or feel like an invasion of privacy or rub you the wrong way. Maybe it just sounds stressful or unappealing or you just don’t want to. “It’s all totally valid,” says Bonow. “The world is a horrible hellscape, and everyone has to survive however they need to.”

Deciding for yourself

If you’re trying to decide whether to tell your abortion story, Stamoulis’s biggest recommendation is to clarify your goal in sharing online rather than through other means. If you’re hoping to gain support or relieve yourself of the burden of a secret, you might want to consider IRL or anonymous alternatives first, like support groups, sharing with loved ones, storytelling platforms, or therapy. “Many people find personal disclosures to a vetted, empathetic group to be a powerful and healing experience,” Stamoulis says.

Beyond that, take time to reflect on all the possible outcomes from sharing your abortion story. Like anything else, your experience will likely be heavily influenced by the reaction you receive. You might be met with support and encouragement; you might receive judgment or harassment; family or coworkers might come across your story; you might tweet something raw and challenging only to have no one respond at all.

“If [any of] that does not sit well with you, reconsider online disclosure,” says Stamoulis. “It’s in our human nature to focus on the negative, so even if you receive many notes of support, you will likely ruminate on the negative notes.”

This is especially true if your abortion was related to rape or other trauma. There’s always the chance of a negative or unexpected response worsening your pain or a Google search down the road that will resurface your history when you least expect it. “I think people hope a story like this would be met with compassion online, but there are always going to be trolls who will mock the story,” says Stamoulis.

Keep in mind that if you have a strong support group of friends and loved ones, harassment can be a lot more tolerable. Mason went out of her way to give her friends a heads up before posting her abortion story on Instagram to ask them for support, which she said made a world of difference.

Above all else, your decision should be about you. In this political moment, as people are voicing their stories and awful legislative news seems never-ending, it’s understandable that you might feel pressured to join in on the conversation. But try to resist guilt or feelings of obligation. “I would never frame speaking out about your abortion story as a political or moral or feminist imperative,” says Bonow.

And if you’re unsure? You can wait to decide. Unfortunately, threats to reproductive rights will be ongoing, and there will be plenty of chances to share your story.

Finding relief and effecting change

With all these reasons to disclose and not to disclose, abortion storytelling has become a sort of delicate and complicated weighing of pros and cons. And while only you can decide what’s right for you personally, it raises the question: Are the benefits even worth the potential harm?

Unlike disclosure in therapeutic settings, there isn’t a ton of research on the mental health risks or benefits of posting such personal narratives online. But even without solid research to back it up, for many, it’s hard not to feel the consequences of staying silent on a personal level. “Not talking about the things that have happened to us, not talking about our trauma and about the people who have fucked us over and hurt us is making some of us sick,” says Bonow. “Not processing our lives in real and honest ways [can have] real, disastrous effects on our mental health.”

But on a bigger scale, coming forward as having had an abortion might not pack the political punch it once did. It can be a strong platform for finding community, boosting voices that have been historically silenced, and fighting stigma, but when it comes to making anti-abortion politicians care about our lives, Ross isn’t optmistic about the power of storytelling. “People are dying, and it’s not changing their minds,” she says. “Women are in detention and immigration centers needing abortion services and it’s not changing their minds.”

Is sharing your story going to change the minds of a lawmaker intent on overturning Roe? Probably not. But will it make an impact on the overall cultural perception of abortion and why reproductive healthcare access matters? Possibly.

“The goal is to change the culture, how we think about people who get abortions, and what we think we know about people who get abortions,” says Rohlinger. “Storytelling can certainly create communities of action that can effect change, and social media platforms are allowing individuals, citizens, and movements of all stripes to come together and organize in a whole new way.”

Maybe that involves storytelling, maybe not. There’s no singular way to make an impact as an activist. You might decide to volunteer, donate, or write your state legislators instead. You might decide to bring meals or signs to protestors, or provide childcare or transportation to activists. The point is, there are countless ways to get involved. Ultimately, it depends on your personal motivation and goals, and it’s up to you if and how you contribute.

*Names have been changed to grant anonymity upon request.

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Language-savvy parents improve their children’s reading development, study shows

Some languages — like English — are tricky to pick up easily.

Young children learning to read and write English often need to identify patterns in words to be able to read and spell them. For example, knowing the “Magic E” syllable pattern can allow a child to understand why an E at the end of a word like “rate” significantly alters the word’s sound from “rat.”

Also, knowing that the words “one” and “two” are irregularly spelled helps prevent the child from trying to sound out the underlying sounds when seeing the word in print.

Parents who understand such language complexity — what is known as reading-related knowledge — are able to spot the difficulties and explain them. They also tend to pass on those skills when they listen to their children read, which in turn helps reading development.

These are among the findings of a new study, published in the Journal of Research in Reading, by two researchers from Concordia’s Department of Education. They report that parents with higher reading-related knowledge are not only more likely to have children with higher reading scores but are also more attentive when those children read out loud to them.

The value of feedback

Seventy sets of six- and seven-year-old children and their parents participated in the study. The children were administered reading tests and were then provided with reading material at a level just above their performance level. This extra difficulty was intentional, as it provided opportunities for the parents to step in and lend a hand.

The parents were instructed to help their children as they normally would while their children read to them. The sessions were videotaped, transcribed and coded for evidence of parents’ verbal and non-verbal feedback.

“We were interested in looking at two forms of feedback,” says Aviva Segal, who co-wrote the paper as part of her now-completed PhD with her supervisor, Sandra Martin-Chang, associate professor of education. “The first was commenting on how the child was doing, the second was measuring how the parent responded when the child hesitated or made a mistake.”

The results confirmed their beliefs that parents with higher reading-related knowledge offered more praise and less criticism to their children than parents with lower reading-related knowledge. They also found that parents with a better ear for language tried to explain the relations between graphemes (letters and letter patterns) and phonemes (the smallest sounds of spoken language) to their children more often.

“We found that reading-related knowledge in parents is associated with a good ‘tag-team’ of feedback,” Segal says. “Parents with higher reading-related knowledge tend to give more praise, which sustains children throughout their learning, while at the same time they more often teach their children critical connections they need in order to read.”

The learning was not all one-way, Segal notes. She says there were incidents when parents appeared to learn something about language while their children made mistakes reading to them.

“The parents sometimes seemed to have an ‘aha!’ moment, when they realized that their children were consistently stumbling on one particular obstacle. In essence, when they were able to make sense of some of the errors their children were making, parents noted their children’s errors were the result of the language’s trickiness and not the fault of the children,” she reports.

“So, through these exchanges, parents might have been increasing their own reading-related knowledge based on what their children were displaying.”

Lessons for teachers

This study has significant classroom implications as well.

“Reading-related knowledge is an important tool that many schools of education gloss over. This can lead teachers to provide negative feedback and criticism, which can cause self-doubt in children and discourage them from taking risks,” says Martin-Chang.

“Teachers with high reading-related knowledge are often more positive and better equipped to offer precise feedback to their students. They have a sense of how hard it is for the child,” she adds.

“Being able to target the right skills while at the same time praising the child’s efforts will make the classroom a more positive setting. This can be achieved through increasing teachers’ reading-related knowledge, which is a core focus of our training at Concordia.”

Segal and Martin-Chang both believe parents should be encouraged to play with language and to pay attention to its characteristics.

“Have fun with it. Listen to song lyrics with your 7-year-old and figure out what rhymes,” urges Martin-Chang.

“Even at the dinner table, play with words that start with the same sounds. When you do this, be sensitive and positive because these fun bonding interactions can become especially powerful.”

17 Sustainable Activewear Pieces That Are Legitimately Cute and Stylish

I love the thrill of buying something new, but between being a quality over quantity type of person and also a “worried about the earth” person, when I’m out shopping, I try to pick pieces that I know will last me at least a few years. One of the ways I practice conscious consumerism is to shop for clothes that will not only last for a longer time, but that are made from sustainably sourced materials.

And that’s where this round-up comes in: It features activewear and gear crafted from at least 45 percent recycled ocean plastics, recycled nylon waste (like old fishing nets) or Tencel (which is regenerated from wood cellulose). Not only will these 17 pieces look and feel great, they’re also a little better for the earth.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.