The Good News about Children and Media in 2010

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: It seems like all we ever hear about are the negative effects of media. What research has been done on using media in positive ways?
A: Indeed, studies in the past year indicate just how positive media can be for children and families when it is used in a controlled way, paying particular attention to its content and the context in which it is used.

Are Facebook age limits appropriate? And when should schools intervene?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My son’s private middle school decided to insist on a no-FB policy. Is that reasonable, given the students ages (10 and 11)?
A: Whether the school handled the situation appropriately is a more subjective issue, but whether 10 and 11 year olds should be on Facebook gets a definitive no because of their current stage of brain development.

Is the Kindle OK for tweens?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Our soon-to-be 12 year old loves to read and dearly wants a Kindle. Should we get him one?
A: E-readers can be wonderful for tweens and any readers who do not need colorful images. Just as with ink and paper books, e-readers let the author’s words be transformed through the reader’s individual imaginations, life experiences, and aspirations into a shared vision.

Video Games: How much time is too much?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Is 15-20 hours per week too much time spent on video games–even if my son gets all A’s, and is involved with lots of other activities? Is gaming a good use of his downtime?
A: There is no magic number of appropriate gaming hours: The key is to ensure that gaming doesn’t get in the way of the other important activities of life—like homework, family meals, and sleep.

Do you have any tips on good gifts for kids?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Help! I’m shopping for kids of all ages this year for the holidays, and don’t know where to begin. What are your thoughts about the kinds of toys that are good for kids?
A: This year, focus on the CHILD–opt for Creative gifts you’ve decided upon after doing your Homework on the recipients’ interests, keeping in mind the importance of Imagination, Learning, and making Donations.

Further thoughts on “Is my son addicted to Wikipedia?”

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Recently, I answered a question from a mother who wanted to know whether she should be concerned that her teen son was spending several hours a day on Wikipedia. When the answer was featured on Ask the Mediatrician and discussed on the Center on Media and Child Health Facebook page, several readers challenged whether this boy’s intense interest in Wikipedia or excessive internet time was really that bad compared to other things he could be doing. I agreed with many of these comments and realized that I had not made my thoughts totally clear.

How do I decide which health websites to trust?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Are there guidelines about how to find reliable health information on the web?
A: Keep these three tips in mind when evaluating online health sources: Consider the ‘Rules of Media Literacy.’ / Ask yourself: What is this website trying to sell? / Visit multiple websites; compare advice.
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Is my son addicted to Wikipedia?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My 16 year-old spends several hours a day on Wikipedia, reading and editing entries. I’ve searched for scientific papers specifically on Wikipedia habits, but all I find are articles on internet addiction. Should I be concerned? What can I do?
A: A: First of all, your web searches may have been pointing you to the right articles: Even if it seems like an inappropriate term to categorize your son’s behavior, internet addiction refers to unhealthy patterns of internet use…
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician®