The Good News about Children and Media in 2010

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: It seems like all we ever hear about are the negative effects of media. What research has been done on using media in positive ways?
A: Indeed, studies in the past year indicate just how positive media can be for children and families when it is used in a controlled way, paying particular attention to its content and the context in which it is used.

The Top Mediatrician Q&As of 2010

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Each week this year, you asked our Mediatrician, Dr. Michael Rich, your most pressing questions about the effects of media on kids, and he answered! Here are the top 10 most-viewed Ask the Mediatrician Q&As of 2010.

Should kids with central auditory processing disorder play video games?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: We believe that we need to have our child tested for central auditory processing disorder. Is there any correlation between this condition and video game playing?
A: Though extraneous noises are distracting for kids with APD, video games may actually help them focus. But it’s your job to set limits on the amount of game play.

Are Facebook age limits appropriate? And when should schools intervene?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My son’s private middle school decided to insist on a no-FB policy. Is that reasonable, given the students ages (10 and 11)?
A: Whether the school handled the situation appropriately is a more subjective issue, but whether 10 and 11 year olds should be on Facebook gets a definitive no because of their current stage of brain development.

Is the Kindle OK for tweens?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Our soon-to-be 12 year old loves to read and dearly wants a Kindle. Should we get him one?
A: E-readers can be wonderful for tweens and any readers who do not need colorful images. Just as with ink and paper books, e-readers let the author’s words be transformed through the reader’s individual imaginations, life experiences, and aspirations into a shared vision.

Video Games: How much time is too much?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Is 15-20 hours per week too much time spent on video games–even if my son gets all A’s, and is involved with lots of other activities? Is gaming a good use of his downtime?
A: There is no magic number of appropriate gaming hours: The key is to ensure that gaming doesn’t get in the way of the other important activities of life—like homework, family meals, and sleep.

How can I tactfully ask our family not to give my kids character toys?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I don’t want to seem ungrateful, and I know my children would probably like the Dora or Batman version of toys, but I just find that sort of commercialism unnecessary. How can I tell my family that we’d prefer they not get the character versions of toys when giving my kids gifts?
A: Let your family know how important it is to you that your child make up her own stories during plattime instead of having her playtime scripted by pre-digested plotlines.

Do you have any tips on good gifts for kids?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Help! I’m shopping for kids of all ages this year for the holidays, and don’t know where to begin. What are your thoughts about the kinds of toys that are good for kids?
A: This year, focus on the CHILD–opt for Creative gifts you’ve decided upon after doing your Homework on the recipients’ interests, keeping in mind the importance of Imagination, Learning, and making Donations.