Michael Rich, MD, MPH of Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and The Harvard School of Public Health is “The Mediatrician”. He discusses making developmentally optimal choices for your child’s media use this Halloween season. For more information and to submit your questions please visit Ask the Mediatrician


Happy October! Many of you and your children will be celebrating family, fun, and scary stories this time of year from Halloween to Day of the Dead. Just remember to make sure that the media your children use are developmentally optimal. Research shows that watching scary TV shows and horror movies even once can negatively influence a child’s behavior and beliefs long after that screen is turned off. In fact, one study showed that there were college freshman who still denied going in the water because they had watched Jaws once as a child. Remember that young children have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, so please do your best to safeguard them from violent or scary media and help them avoid having nightmares. So enjoy your pumpkin carving, bobbing for apples, and media. Just be sure to carve, bob, and use your media wisely.

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