February 2015

M O N T H L Y  T I P
The Three M’s of a Healthy Relationship with Media


All relationships require meditation, mindfulness, and maintenance, and children’s (and adults’) relationship with media is no different. This February take time to assess your relationship with media as a family. Talk about the three M’s, touching specifically on the following:

1. Meditation
Pause and reflect on how media have become a part of your lives. How do you use it, why do you use it, and where do you use it? Do you find that it is helping you accomplish goals, or do you feel as though it keeps you from doing other activities you enjoy? Do you worry about using it too much or too little?

2. Mindfulness
After you’ve reflected on how media are a part of your lives, take time to figure out if you are using media mindfully, or in ways that benefit each of you individually and as a family. If not, discuss how you can change your behavior to better your relationships with media and with each other. For example, if you find that you are spending too much time engaging with media during family time and not enough time talking, endeavor to make all family car rides (long and short) media-free by turning off the radio and/or screens and engage in family conversations or car games instead.

3. Maintenance
– Finally, make a plan to maintain healthy relationships with media. Check-in with each other and hold each other accountable. For example, if after you agree as a family to make car rides media-free, make sure that your teen (and everyone else) turns off or refrains from using his phone while in the car so that he stays engaged in the conversation rather than quietly texting in the backseat.

For more tips about how to have a better relationship with media, see our Time Limits page. 

P A R E N T  Q U E S T I O N S
Q: Should I worry about my teens texting, or is it similar to the time I spent talking to my friends on the phone when I was their age?

A: There are many differences between texting someone and talking to someone on the phone. Texting may take less time overall, but often interrupts and distracts from other activities. Talking on the phone is a much more nuanced form of communication – you relay and read meaning by hearing the emotional tone, pauses, and rhythm of speech. Text is devoid of those details, (although in some cases, emoticons can help), so it can be susceptible to misinterpretation. Read the full answer here.

M E D I A  M O M E N T S  

What I Learned from (Paw)-Patrolling My Kids’ TV Show

Brandy King, a mother and former Librarian at the Center, shares both the negative and positive aspects of her sons’ favorite TV show, and how a little media literacy lesson can help balance the scale. Take a look at the full post and follow along every month at Ask The Mediatrician.

R E S E A R C H   

Talk to your teens about ‘sexting’ and peer pressure

A recent study suggests that teens may send inappropriate photos of themselves to their friends in order to be seen as popular. Use the three M’s above to start a discussion with your teen about the risks associated with sexting. Read more.

P R E S S   

New Report Takes Aim At NFL’s Marketing To Kids

Watch Dr. Michael Rich discusses marketing and kids here.