Media Health Matters

J U L Y  .  2 0 1 1    |     THE SCIENCE BEHIND RAISING MEDIA SMART KIDS

This Summer, Focus on the Positive Affects of Media!

More free time for kids often means less free time for parents. So CMCH is providing easy-to-access, concise information that may help your family make healthier choices on the fly. Learn more about the benefits of sexual content in the media, how to talk to your child about sex, the upside to cell phones, and other media that can positively influence child health. Sometimes, a little clarity can inspire a lot of wellness and joy.

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The Research

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Two new studies look at children's media use and health outcomes. To find out more, search the CMCH Database of Research (DoR)This free tool provides research scientists, clinicians, educators, media producers, and parents access to the current state of knowledge on media and child health. Learn more!

  • Studies look beyond the stigma of video games and find benefits for children. Results that show increased physical activity and nutritional knowledge as a result of gaming demonstrate the potential for video games to combat childhood obesity. See this study                                                                                     
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a ban on junk-food advertising in children's TV programming. This study concludes that any success in dealing with the current epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity will require society's recognition of media exposure as a major risk factor. See this study 

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The Q & A

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Drawing on his experience as a parent, pediatrician, professor, and filmmaker, Dr. Michael Rich answers parents' questions about media and health. Encouraging families to enjoy their media and use them wisely, Dr. Rich shares science-based answers and practical solutions on Ask the Mediatrician®.  

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The Tips

 

Y O U N G E R   K I D S : 

Choose media for the youngest child in the room. Kids learn ideas about gender roles, dating, and how they should expect to be treated partly from the media they hear and see. When you enjoy media together and discuss these topics with your child, you lay the foundation for future discussions about healthy sexual behavior. Children do not have the cognitive ability to understand media the way adults do, so choose content carefully and start an ongoing conversation. 

 

O L D E R   K I D S : 
Charge cell phones in a common area, rather than in a child's bedrooms. Try using a basket or power matt to coral family phones at night, especially if your child has a smart phone and access to the Internet. Temptation to watch favorite programs and text friends can undermine healthy habits. Research shows that kids who have TVs in their bedrooms are at a higher risk for obesity, sleep problems, increased aggression, and academic difficulty, which likely translates to phones that stream TV.  

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The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) is a non-profit organization that conducts, compiles, and translates scientific research on how media affect children's health and development. Based at Children's Hospital Boston, CMCH was founded by pediatrican Dr. Michael Rich. Dr. Rich is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health. The Center's interdisciplinary staff creates unbiased, evidence-based resources for parents, educators, and researchers.

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