Media Health Matters


Incase you missed it in November, 
consider this guidance and research 
throughout your holiday season.

Digital Natives on Digital Know-How 

If your holiday preparations include coming up with a smart media plan, try involving your children in the process. Read on to learn about some of the positive ways kids are asking questions, getting involved, and teaching others about media. Share information about what happens when teens engage teens about Internet safety, create an anti-bullying flash mob video, or petition a magazine to promote body positivity and diversity. Listen to your children as they share their digital know-how and check out our media literacy lesson plans, tips, Q&As, and research. 
Has the experience of producing media at home or school helped your child develop healthier media habits? Share your stories with us and other forward-thinking parents on our Facebook page!
Finally, for some ideas of how to build quality non-media time into your family’s holiday, take a look at the latest from the Mediatrician. 

— The CMCH Media Health Matters Team


The Teamwork  

Community Collaboration & Connections 


Dr. Rich receives Excellence in Media Award. The Center on Media and Child Health is proud to announce that Dr. Michael Rich is this year’s recipient of the Peace Islands Institute’s Excellence in Media Award. Dr. Rich and his work were also recognized during a ceremony in Washington D.C. where he was honored with the esteemed Family Online Safety Institute’s award for Outstanding Achievement.


The Tips    

From the Parent Network                                          


Y O U N G E R   K I D S :   

  • Let a love of media inspire a creative, self-directed project. Discover what your child loves in the virtual world and work together, letting your child take the lead, on creating a real-world version of a favorite movie or video game. Maybe cartoon avatars can turn into figures made out of clothespins or on-screen stories can turn into big tent and handmade costumes for the entire neighborhood. For more inspiration, watch this video about Caine’s arcade: a nine-year-old boy turned his love of arcade games into a summer-long project building his own arcade entirely out of cardboard boxes.   
O L D E R    K I D S:                            
  • Seek opportunities that help your teen question and create media. The concept ‘learning by doing’ works well when it comes to helping kids become media literate. When choosing a topic for her next school report or science project, encourage your teen to research a specific area of media she is genuinely interested in. Students can explore how media habits affect kids’ grades or, their heath and wellness habits — the way they eat, sleep, move, connect, and think. Look for opportunities that allow older kids to teach younger children about media literacy, or follow the lead of teens at Free Spirit Media, who produced a program to teach adults about media literacy. 


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.  


We gather together. …Thanksgiving break offers an opportunity to break the usual media habits and get back to reflecting and connecting. Whether your teen is home from college, your middle schoolers are on school break, your toddler is bored in the house, or you have extended family visiting, there are great activities that you can enjoy together…


Will my young kids be ‘missing out’ without a smartphone?  …As long as children are given exposure to loving care-takers and an environment where they are able to complete their age-appropriate developmental tasks, they won’t ‘miss out by not using apps. Remember that apps are tools and should be evaluated by how well they will help your child learn now and develop skills for the future...  > Read more




My 18-year-old son is addicted to video games, what can I do?  What makes your son’s gaming problematic is that it is consuming his efforts in a way that prevents him from achieving larger life goals. Since your son can’t be admitted to therapeutic care without his consent, the best solution may be to stage an intervention-just as you might if he were addicted to alcohol or drugs…  Read more





The Research  

From the CMCH Database                        

  • Teachers say Internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research habits. But 87% say digital technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say these technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.”  See this study  
  • This study evaluates the effectiveness of a school-based media literacy violence prevention curriculum on changes in knkowledge and critical thinking among 1,693 sixth-eighth grade students.  > See this study
  • Newspaper coverage, particularly coverage of youth advocacy efforts, contributed to observed declines in smoking.  > See this study