Media Health Matters


Cabin fever? 
Change things up and start brain-friendly media habits!


Parents seeking to help their children engage with technology in meaningful, positive ways can try choosing active rather than passive screen time (published here). Video games, for example, can engage kids physically or cognitively, whereas watching television is typically a more passive activity. Be mindful of media content, and look for media and non-media activities that inspire kids to reflect, design, create, articulate, and collaborate. For specific ideas, check out these resources, or help kids interested in gaming take on the challenge of designing their own video game!



Please exchange ideas with other forward-thinking parents on our Facebook page. And to help celebrate our 10-year anniversary, learn more about us by visiting our March Monthly Meet, which highlights CMCH team member Isabel Lopes.

— The CMCH Media Health Matters Team



From the Parent Network 


Y O U N G E R   K I D S : 

  • Focus on learning the ABCs and 123s.

    When it’s time for media, choose programs that support language development. For children 3 years old and over, educational television programs may enhance letter recognition and build vocabulary skills that help children become capable of more complex thought. Additionally, your child may enjoy gaming while practicing math skills. Still, remember that on-screen lessons may supplement but cannot replace the benefits of hands-on, child-initiated playtime. Your warm supportive interactions, as well as opportunities to use all five senses–seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling–are still the best ways to help your child maximize his cognitive development.

O L D E R   K I D S :
  • Focus on learning the ABCs–Attitude, Beliefs, and Compassion.
    Encourage pre-teens and teens to use media that will support their “social cognition” in healthy ways. As children turn into teenagers, logic and reasoning that relates to feelings, emotions, morals, beliefs, and ethics is increased. As social learners, kids pick up cues at home, in school, and from media. Depending on the content and the individual child, media lessons may contribute to pro-social behavior, or anti-social behavior. Think about what makes kids care, share your views about fairness and dignity, and start an ongoing discussion about media messages.


The Q &A         

From the Mediatrician


Dr. Michael Rich encourages families to enjoy their media and use them wisely! 

Drawing on his experience as a parent, pediatrician, professor, and filmmaker, Dr. Rich shares
science-based answers and practical solutions to your questions about media and child health.    
Instead of focusing on finding your daughter’s secret Instagram stash, help her make decisions about photo-sharing and all social media activities in ways that are effective, safe, and respect themselves and others. To do that, establish an ‘open-screen policy’ that includes you in her social media exchanges. 


The Research  

From the CMCH Database 

  • Parental efforts to reduce children’s exposure to screen violence and increase exposure to prosocial educational programming can positively impact child behavior.  


  • Children who spent more time playing video games were more likely to have  attention problems, and children who had more attention issues tended to play more video games.  >  See this study