Can toddlers learn sign language by watching DVDs?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: In an NPR interview, you stated that children under the age of 30 months do not learn anything about language from TV programs, but I disagree. My 17-month-old daughter has watched a baby signing language DVD series and now knows about 80 signs. I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

My local movie theatre offers “mom & baby” showtimes, should I go?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: There is a movie theatre near my home that has afternoon shows for moms, where they put out a changing table in the theater and don’t lower the lights all the way—but then they show very adult movies. What effect does being exposed to these movies have on infants and toddlers, most of whom are not talking yet?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

How can I get my husband to stop playing violent video games in front of our toddler?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My husband loves to play X-Box and used to play in his home office with the door wide open. My toddler would saunter in and watch him play on occasion. However, I can tell that my husband doesn’t see any negative consequences of playing games with loud noises and lots of physical contact. What can I do? Do you have any studies I can use to back up my argument?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

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

How can I convince networks not to play violent commercials during family programming?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My husband and I are greatly concerned by the commercials that are played on television, especially during “family” events like football or NASCAR races. I have contacted the FCC and NASCAR and they said that I basically have to contact each network one by one to voice my concerns. Where can I find information backing up my concerns that these types of visual images are harmful to my young children?
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician