Kids use media for almost 8 hours a day — Now what?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Yesterday the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report detailing just how much media kids are using. Dr. Michael Rich, The MediatricianSM, was interviewed on NBC Nightly News, and the Center on Media and Child Health sent out the following in email to parents today.

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

My 4 year old is obsessed with the Disney Channel, what should I do?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Recently my 4 year old daughter has found a new, almost obsessive interest in the Disney Channel shows (Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, etc). TV was never a problem before, but now she would rather watch these shows than do anything else. I also think that these shows may be too big-kid for her. What do you think, and how can I get her away from the TV without fuss?

How can I address sexism in the media with my kids?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I see a lot of TV shows where women are not treated respectfully. How would you recommend talking to kids about sexism in the media? It’s rather like having a drunken bully over for dinner every night. How do you explain to your kids why you keep letting this kind of person into their home?

How can we set good examples of media use for our kids?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My child is still an infant, so he isn’t using much media yet. But I am realizing that my husband and I are constantly “connected”! Our laptops, cell phones, and iPods are always on, mostly for work reasons. How should we limit our own media use to set the best example for our children?