Photo by "Darek.zon" on Flickr 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?
– Feeling Bleak in Boston, MA

A: Dear Bleak,

We’re so glad you asked! 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. 

Here are some 2010 good-news highlights and the scientific studies they are based on:

1) Technology is aiding schools, providing educators with more interactive tools for teaching and giving students more opportunities to engage with classroom learning at home and beyond.

2) Children’s TV programming can have profound positive effects on child literacy, identity, and overall well-being, here and abroad.

3) While violent video games have been shown to incite viewers’ aggression, prosocial video games can have positive effects on children’s social behaviors. 

4) Active video games can increase physical activity in children—though these shouldn’t exceed time spent playing sports, playing actively outdoors, etc.

5) Community-based initiatives can have significant positive effects on educating kids about the importance of physical activity and how it contributes to fighting childhood obesity.

6) Media literacy programs for kids can work to educate them about making healthy lifelong decisions—about media and so much more.

Learn more about the studies behind these findings in the CMCH blog.

Enjoy your media and use them wisely,
The Mediatrician®

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