Should I correct Thanksgiving stereotypes my kids see on TV?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My school-age kids have seen TV shows and movies that show inaccurate stereotypes of the first Thanksgiving—grateful Pilgrims and wild “Indians” and lots of peace and harmony. Is it my place to correct them?
A: If what your kids are learning isn’t in line with your understanding of the actual story of Thanksgiving, start a discussion about what they’ve heard, and consider guiding them through these concepts that add nuance and accuracy to their understanding.
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician®

Do kids in daycare watch more TV than kids who stay home?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

What you heard about kids in daycare watching more TV than others is true when it’s a home-based childcare situation, but not when the children are at a childcare center. It’s not surprising that of these three groups, it’s the one supervised by people with the most training in child development that sets the strictest limits on screen exposure.

How can I address racial jokes on TV?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

A: As you demonstrate you already know, humor around racism, sexism, discrimination or hate in any form tends to be very mature, and usually dark and painful…
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician®

Is my daughter’s Halloween costume too sexy?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

A: It’s likely you’ll get “But it’s just a book, Mom. She’s just a character.” You can respond by talking with her seriously: What is it about this costume that she likes? Does she realize how people will respond to her in it…
Answered by Dr Michael Rich, The Mediatrician

Are audiobooks a good use of kids’ time?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My kids love listening to stories on CD. Do you think this a good use of time compared to watching TV?
A: Audiobooks are valuable media for your children because they don’t pre-digest imagery for them. That means that as your kids listen to the stories, they’re given the exquisite experience of actively imagining the worlds they’re hearing about, rather than having the characters and scenery presented to them like in a book or TV show.
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician®

My son’s school assignment is to watch the news, but I don’t usually let him; what do I do?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My son’s homework was to think about the news he watches and relate it to something in his history book, but I don’t let him watch the news. What should we do?
A: You are right to be concerned about your kids’ exposure to TV news. Because a more tabloid approach tends to bring higher ratings, TV news stations often cover the most outrageous…
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician®

Why should my family participate in Turnoff Week?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: Why should my family participate in Turnoff Week?
A: TV, video games, and computers have become so common that, for many families, they are a default activity, rather than a choice they make about how they want to spend their time. It is not just cramming facts into children’s brains, but giving them the unstructured “down time” to process those facts and come to their own conclusions, that will give them the richest environment in which to develop.
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician®

Does my family understand the sarcasm of “Family Guy”?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My teenage sons love watching Family Guy, but I am not sure they understand the sarcasm?
A: I am impressed that as the mom of three sons, you have the courage to share with them a show in which the brilliant but angry baby, Stewie, is focused on killing his mother. Seriously, though, you have picked up on a subtle…
Answered by Dr. Michael Rich, The Mediatrician©