Q: I heard a report on the news that too much time in front of TV or computer screens can raise kids’ blood pressure. Is that just for more action-oriented shows and games? And is even a little screen time a problem for kids’ hearts?
Posts Categorized: Ask the Mediatrician
Do your family’s media habits change as the kids head back to school? How are your habits different from those in the Summer? Do you purposely make an attempt to change things or do they just change on their own as a result of a more structured schedule?
Q: We feel “webbed out” of our teenage son’s electronic social life. Are you aware of studies tracking the psychological impact that technologies like Facebook and Twitter have on developing “normal” social skills?
Q: Recently my 4 year old daughter has found a new, almost obsessive interest in the Disney Channel shows (Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, etc). TV was never a problem before, but now she would rather watch these shows than do anything else. I also think that these shows may be too big-kid for her. What do you think, and how can I get her away from the TV without fuss?
Q: I went into a party store to look for decorations for my son’s upcoming birthday party and everywhere I looked, the choices were either Star Wars or Disney princesses. Are we raising our boys to be violent and our girls to have Cinderella expectations of the world?
Q: They don’t seem to make enough good kids’ movies that don’t feature in-your-face dialog, terrifying characters, fast cuts, or just over-the-top crazy stuff designed mainly for adult audiences (that I have to spend half the movie explaining to my 5 year old). As a Mediatrician and film buff, can you recommend a few of your favorites, either classic or contemporary?
Q: The manual for my teenage son’s favorite video game contains a warning that says that some games cause seizures and that parents should watch for seizure symptoms or ask their children if they’ve experienced any symptoms while playing. I can’t monitor every minute of game play, and if I asked my son about it, I’m not sure he would admit any symptoms to anything he thought might lead me to limit his game time. How worried should I be?
Q: My son is entering 3rd grade and is an only child. When he has playdates at his friends’ homes, sometimes the moms allow video games above my son’s age level, usually because my son’s friends have older siblings. It makes me uncomfortable, but I’ve noticed that a lot of parents don’t appreciate it when I ask that they not play any video games during the playdate—it’s viewed as trying to control what happens in their home, or as some judgment upon them for allowing the younger child to play age-inappropriate games. I don’t want to tell my son he can never go to their houses, so do you have any advice? I usually try to have kids over to my house so that it’s not an issue, but at some point, the other parents want my son to come to their home.
Q: My kids love David Ortiz. When we watch Red Sox games, they wear his jersey and cheer loudest for him. Now that he's in the news for possibly using performance-enhancing drugs, though, I’m not sure what to tell them about their hero. What should I do?–Parent of Papi Fans in Danvers, MA A: Dear… Read more »
Q: I read your response about baby videos and learning, and I’m wondering — Rather than relying on age, is there some developmental signal that indicates a child can handle/process television and such?