Foul Content Found in Children’s Cartoons

by Cheryl Wetzstein | The Washington Times | March 3, 2006

A study released March 2 from the Parents Television Council analyzed 443.5 hours of Saturday-morning and after-school
shows for children ages 5 to 10. The results “showed ‘staggering’ amounts of violence, as well as verbal abuse,
offensive language, antisocial attitudes and behaviors, excretory content, disrespect for adults and sexual content.”

Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, said research has shown that “children younger than 8 are developmentally incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality.”

Read the full article at The Washington Times.

Sen. Brownback Sees Need to Narrow Indecency Bill

by Karey Wutkowski | Washington Post | March 3, 2006

“Proposed legislation to boost fines broadcasters face for indecency
violations is ‘too broad and too big’ and needs to be narrowed for
quick passage, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said on Thursday. He noted that the legislation should get an extra push from a new study released on Thursday by a parents’ group which said children’s
programming contains sexual content as well as numerous violent scenes.”

Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, said that television shows are a powerful influence, and parents would send broadcasters a message by turning off programs they find offensive.

“I’m not sure legislation and fining them will do anything besides raising the cost to consumers,” he said.
Read the full article at Washington Post.

Study: Children’s TV Studded with Dark, Violent Acts

by Associated Press | USA Today | March 3, 2006

A report released March 2 from the Parents Television Council showed that children’s television regularly contains violence.

“Programs like Teen Titans
on the Cartoon Network and ABC Family Channel’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers often feature intense fights with swords, guns and lasers, the group said.”
Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, said “Violent cartoons can increase children’s anxiety, desensitize them or lead them to believe
that violence is more prevalent — and acceptable — in real life than it really is.”

» See Full Story in USA Today
Read the full article at USA Today.

Kids’ TV More Violent Than Adult Shows

by Aaron Barnhart | Kansas City Star | March 3, 2006

“Thirty years after researchers found that Saturday morning cartoons were more violent than prime time TV shows, a study released March 2 argued that little had changed.

The report from the Parents Television Council found that children’s shows were still more violent
than adult shows — even when ‘cartoony’ depictions of violence were factored out.”

Senator Sam Brownback encouraged broadcasters and network producers to consider the content they are disseminating to children,
and encouraged parents to educate themselves about the content of their children’s favorite shows. “Brownback has introduced
a bill that would allocate $90 million over
five years to measure the effect that television and other media have on children.”

“His interest dates 20 years to his days in Kansas politics”, when he met Dr. John Murray
, Visting Researcher at CMCH.
“Today, Murray is on the forefront of scientific efforts to use brain imaging to show the neurological impact of viewing violence.
Murray, who had not seen the report released Thursday, said that violence and its effect on kids occupied most of his colleagues’ attention.
Young children, said Murray, ‘are particularly attuned to what’s going on in the world around them. They are asking, ‘how do I get along in life? How do I behave?'”

» See Statement by CMCH Director
Read the full article at Kansas City Star.

Children’s Television Study Should Concern Parents

by Steve Jordahl | Family News Focus | March 2, 2006

“A study released March 2 from the Parents Television Council showed that even after cartoon violence is taken out of the mix,
programs aimed at 5 to 10 year olds have almost twice as much violent content as adult primetime shows.”

Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, says the shows are having an impact. “Particularly in young children,
that plays out in terms of sleep disturbance nightmares, anxiety and even post traumatic stress disorder.”
Read the full article at Family News Focus.

Freeze Frame: Media and Children’s Health

by Janice O'Leary | Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin | March 1, 2006

“Decades of research have established that television and other screen media – movies, the Internet, and video games – constitute a powerful environmental influence on children’s health and development, according to the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston.”

Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH and Harvard Medical School alumnus ’91, “understands the powerful clutch media can have on the mind, especially the mind of a child. So well has research documented the connection between watching violence on television and aggressive behavior, he says, that the correlation is ‘stronger than those linking calcium with bone density and passive smoke with lung cancer.’”

Rich says that “parents and physicians need to be educated about the science. To this end, Rich has developed a website that offers a searchable database of all the multidisciplinary research on the health effects of using media. So far, his team has collected nearly 8,000 studies, already one-eighth of which browsers can search online.”
Read the full article at Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin.

TV: Is It Good for Kids?

by Martha Brockenbrough | MSN Encarta | March 1, 2006

“How much TV is OK for kids to watch? And are some shows better than others?”

This article explores the answers to these questions and describes research by CMCH Senior Scientist Dr. John Murray

“Scientists using MRI technology have found [that] turning on the TV doesn’t mean turning off your brain…
Though the brain is surprisingly engaged in making sense of what’s on television, not all the surprises were good ones.

The researchers found that a part of the brain implicated in post-traumatic stress disorder kicked in when watching violence on TV.”

» See Full Story
Read the full article at MSN Encarta.

CMCH Researcher Releases Ground-Breaking Research

by CMCH | Center on Media and Child Health | February 13, 2006

CMCH Visting Scholar John P. Murray, has published ground-breaking research using
brain scans to see what happens when children view media violence. While the participants’ brains were scanned using an fMRI machine, experimenters kept track
of their heart rates and brain activity. The researchers saw that while the children were viewing violent videos, the areas of their brains that lit up were the same areas
that are activated when facing real live danger. The children’s brains were ready to respond to the violence with increased attention, alertness, memory and plans for escape.

» See Press Release
Read the full article at Center on Media and Child Health.

Is Media Cutting into Time with Other Activities?

by CMCH | Center on Media and Child Health | February 6, 2006

A study in the February 1, 2006 issue of Pediatrics co-authored by CMCH researcher Dr. David Bickham

suggests that true to popular belief, television is cutting into the time children would have spent on other activities.

Their study of over 1,700 children who kept diaries of their time showed that the more time kids spent with media, the less time they spent doing homework or interacting with parents or siblings.

However, the study found no evidence that television takes away time from reading or from engaging in active play.

» See Research
Read the full article at Center on Media and Child Health.

CMCH Director to Speak at Violence Prevention Conference

by Essex District Attorney's Office | Essex District Attorney's Office | January 23, 2006

On Wednesday March 22, 2006, Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, will speak at a violence prevention conference. The conference, National Trends in Adolescent Violence
Prevention, is sponsored by the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett. Dr. Rich is one of three conference speakers
that day, along with Elizabeth K. Englander, Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, and Dr. William Pollack, Director of the Center for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital.

» See Conference Brochure
Read the full article at Essex District Attorney's Office.