Can I blame the “Slut List” on all the sex in the media?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I’ve been hearing about the high school in NJ where older girls are putting freshman girls’ names on a “slut list”—and the worst part is that being on the list is considered a good thing! I can’t help thinking that all the sex in the media is to blame for girls thinking it’s a badge of honor, but maybe I’m overreacting. I want to talk to my 13 year old daughter about this, but what should I say?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

How can I get my husband to stop playing violent video games in front of our toddler?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My husband loves to play X-Box and used to play in his home office with the door wide open. My toddler would saunter in and watch him play on occasion. However, I can tell that my husband doesn’t see any negative consequences of playing games with loud noises and lots of physical contact. What can I do? Do you have any studies I can use to back up my argument?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Are American Girl dolls a better choice for my niece than the more sexualized Barbies or Bratz?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I wondered if the Center has any research on the American Girls phenomenon. Unlike Barbies and Bratz, these dolls are not sexualized, and they also have connections to history and culture through each doll’s storybook. I am guessing that they are probably a better alternative for playtime fantasies (at least for families who can afford them — the dolls cost $95 each). But they are also linked to all kinds of merchandising, encouraging families to buy accessories like furniture, clothes, and even pets to go along with them (also pricey). What do you think about the pros and cons? My niece is 8 years old and I am thinking ahead to the holiday season.
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

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