While it is a bit confounding that French children are diagnosed with ADHD at vastly lower rates than American children are, I’m reluctant to take this author’s rather simplistic view of the situation. There are too many factors at play, too many variables to consider, to make it reasonable to simply point a finger in the parents’ direction and say, essentially, “You need to set and enforce better limits on your child.” I do agree that in some cases dietary changes can help. I also, in light of current research, think there’s good reason to consider a child’s sleep habits when evaluating them for ADHD, but to blame the discrepancy between American rates of diagnosis and French rates of diagnosis almost exclusively on parenting styles seems, at best, disingenuous, and at worst, dangerous.
I’m not an expert on the DSM by any means, but I watched the battles over the development of the DSM 5 with interest. The book is out now, and I suspect it’ll be a few years before a definitive analysis of it, for better or worse, can really be accomplished. In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading some thoughts about it, see this or this.
Ask.fm has been connected to nine teenage suicides in the last year, each of which involved a young person who had been bullied on the popular social networking site. There’s a call to force Ask.fm to police its shores better, but the site has millions of users. How, while keeping the service free, can it hope to track and evaluate every conversation? Also, bullying doesn’t just happen on Ask.fm. It happens on Facebook and Instagram. It happens on Snapchat and KIK and Tumbler and dozens of other sites tucked away in corners of the Internet where teenagers feel safe from the prying eyes of adults. I don’t disagree that these sites have a responsibility to their user bases, and they should have strong (and strictly enforced) anti-bullying policies, but I think parents and communities also have a duty to teach children empathy, to help them understand that words, even anonymous words, can do permanent, serious (or even deadly) damage.