Should kids with central auditory processing disorder play video games?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: We believe that we need to have our child tested for central auditory processing disorder. Is there any correlation between this condition and video game playing?
A: Though extraneous noises are distracting for kids with APD, video games may actually help them focus. But it’s your job to set limits on the amount of game play.

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.

How can I tactfully ask our family not to give my kids character toys?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: I don’t want to seem ungrateful, and I know my children would probably like the Dora or Batman version of toys, but I just find that sort of commercialism unnecessary. How can I tell my family that we’d prefer they not get the character versions of toys when giving my kids gifts?
A: Let your family know how important it is to you that your child make up her own stories during plattime instead of having her playtime scripted by pre-digested plotlines.

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.

Do cell phones affect kids’ sleep?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My middle-schooler seems like a zombie during the day since we agreed to let her have a cell phone. What’s going on here?
A: Like most tweens and teens, your daughter probably uses her phone primarly as a platform for texting–thus, she may sleep with it on a nightstand or even under her pillow, just in case she receives…

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®

My well-rounded teen wants to play violent, multiplayer games. Should I let him?

Posted under Ask the Mediatrician.

Q: My 13-year-old likes to play the Call of Duty games, and claims it’s not too violent, bloody, or intense for him—he just thinks it’s fun. Should I let him keep playing it?
A: The answer to your question depends on what you’re concerned about. Given that your son is actively engaged in other activities, it sounds like you’re not worried that it might be getting in the way of other things in his life, so I suspect that your concern is about his exposure to and engagement with the game’s violence.

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.

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®