Is there anything wrong with cutting out electronic media completely?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My parents didn’t have a TV in the house when I was growing up and I didn’t get a stereo until I was a teenager. We read and played outside and I didn’t think I was deprived as a kid. It seems like what is out there now, in terms of violence, sex, and taking risks, is far worse than when I was a kid. Is there anything wrong with just cutting out electronic media completely from my kids’ lives?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Is it OK to use cartoons to keep my 5-month-old busy while I do things around the house?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I have a question about my five month old daughter and TV. She likes to watch E/I cartoons. Is it ok for me to let her watch them when I have things around the house I need to do? If allowing her to watch cartoons is not good for her, what are other activities I can do to keep her occupied so I can get things done? Answer by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

How can I convince networks not to play violent commercials during family programming?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My husband and I are greatly concerned by the commercials that are played on television, especially during “family” events like football or NASCAR races. I have contacted the FCC and NASCAR and they said that I basically have to contact each network one by one to voice my concerns. Where can I find information backing up my concerns that these types of visual images are harmful to my young children?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Which computer games are good for my 2 year old?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I’ve introduced my 22-month-old son to a computer program designed for babies that makes shapes and plays a sound every time a button is pushed. Lately, I’ve noticed that he is becoming more thoughtful about it. He used to just bang at the keys, but now he pushes one button at a time and watches what happens on the screen. For his birthday, I’ve been looking for an age-appropriate game that involves more thought. I have found a few games that are marked for 2 years and up, but they seem mostly targeted at kids closer to age 3 than 2. Do you have any suggestions?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Why do different kids respond differently to media violence?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My boys, now 15 & 17, are so different. I’ve noticed that my two kids can watch the same violent programs and, depending on each child’s nature, they respond differently. Is it true that after viewing violent programs, some children will behave more aggressively while some children become more fearful? If yes, can you explain how that happens? Any chance that some children are not affected at all?
Answer from Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Is there software I can buy to limit my kids’ computer time?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I have three sons, ages 8, 5, and 5 (twins) who love to play computer games (Club Penguin, Webkinz, PBS kids.com, and others). I try to limit their screen time to one hour per day, but I know they have been using it for longer than that when they can get away with it. Is there a parent-controlled program I can buy that allows each child to login and have only a limited amount of access per day? Dr. Michael Rich answers this question and others on Ask the Mediatrician.