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The Sesame Street gang has a great message for kids who are already screen addicts.

Tell me if this rings true for you — usually the first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone. The first questions that cross my just waking brain are how and where can I find out what's going on in my (and the rest of the) world today? And if for some reason my phone's not nearby and I can't remember where I put it, I panic.

Sound familiar?


The average smartphone user taps, clicks, or swipes on their phone nearly 2,700 times per day. In the worst cases, it’s over 5,000.

Our children were born into a smartphone-centered world, and the addiction keeps starting younger and younger.

It's not uncommon to see children just over one year old working a smartphone. They already understand them as a method of entertainment. Who among us hasn't had a young child ask if they could play games on our phone? When phone use starts at such a young age, it easily becomes ingrained it kids' lives, which then often leads to that dependency so many of us hate to admit we have.

Phone addiction is real, but it's been so normalized in our society that very few kid-centered media sources have spoken out about it. Until now.

Sesame Street has decided to address cellphone addiction head-on with their new PSA which they created in partnership with Common Sense Media — a nonprofit that focuses on the relationship between  media, technology, and children.

The new PSA features several classic Sesame Street characters and a couple of new faces at mealtime. Our Sesame Street pals each go through the process of putting away their laptops, cell phones, and in some cases, even magic wands before starting dinner.

However, once they get to eating, Cookie Monster is still playing on his phone. His friends around the table clear their throats and remind him it’s a device-free dinner. So, in true Cookie Monster fashion, he stops texting and eats it!

Similar ads for #devicefreedinner have featured stars like Will Ferrell, but this one takes a unique approach by speaking directly to young children.

This is important for a couple of reasons. First, influences are most powerful in the first few years of a person's life — around preschool, an age the producers of Sesame Street know quite well. The earlier we teach them healthy habits around technology use, the more likely we are to be successful at curtailing overuse of screens.

Second, Sesame Street is uniquely qualified to introduce kids to tough issues. Since airing about 50 years ago, the show has covered everything from divorce to identity differences (race, disability, culture etc) in a way that children can understand.

It only makes sense they'd join the fight against cell phone addiction, too.

We’ve got to protect the next group of kids from cell phone addiction. So far, folks are eating up the effort.

As with other forms of addiction, it's difficult but totally possible to end these cycles. Common Sense Media's decision to pursue this partnership shows that they are fully committed to fighting cell phone addiction right as it's starting — when their efforts will likely be most effective.

What's more, if we address cell phone addiction before they consume kids, they'll likely avoid the long list of physical and emotional issues that accompanies such a dependency.

Curbing kids' screen time also has the potential for even bigger impacts — like reducing the likelihood that they'll text while driving.

It's much bigger than just having our kids spend less time on their devices and more time in real life. It's about the safety, health and future of the next generation.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.