Screen Free Week, Media Safety & Spring Updates from CMO

In This Issue
Memorial Day 5/30/2016

Our office will be closed Monday May 30, for scheduled appointments but our providers remain available.Even when our office is closed, our providers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days each year!

(page our on-call provider with any urgent questions or problems - 978-975-3355)


Travel Clinics at CMO

Going somewhere?


Many times travel to a foreign destination involves preventive measures to safeguard your health. (A good resource to check is the CDC's Traveler's Health website [] to see if such measures are recommended for where you'll be going.) If your child will be traveling to a location where special vaccines or other medical treatments to prevent food- or insect-borne illnesses are recommended, we'd be happy to book an appointment for a consultation.


Because these recommendations often include immunizations that are not routine within the United States, it's best to book as far in advance as you can to assure a good immune response prior to departure. (Please note that if yellow fever vaccination is recommended for your destination, a referral to the travel clinic at one of our affiliated hospitals will be necessary.) We look forward to helping you ensure that your trip is as safe and healthy as it is exciting and adventurous! 

call 978.975.3355
24 hrs/day
7 days/week
365 days/year

WALK-IN Sick Visit Hours
Mon-Fri 7am-7:45am

CALL EARLY for same day sick visit appointments
7 days a week

visit for more information
SFSchool/Camp Forms
School/Health information forms are given to you at the end of your well visit.  

If you need a form prior to your next well child visit, you can request online

Requests are usually completed within two business days.  We will provide one paper or electronic copy.  You may print as many as you need during the year, so please keep the original in a safe place.

To protect your child's privacy, we do not mail or fax these forms directly to third parties (such as schools, daycare or camps).

We recommend that you review the form carefully prior to submitting and contact us by telephone or email if you have questions or concerns with the information provided.
Media Safety & Screen Free Week
- by Elisabeth Winterkorn, MD

Children these days are exposed to different forms of media (TV, Computer, iPads, Video...) at younger and younger ages and for much longer periods of time. In fact, current reports find that children spend more time involved with "screen time" than they do at school, at play, or engaged in any activity other than sleeping.


Prolonged media time reduces the time children spend at imaginative or social play. Children are exposed to both violent and sexualized behavior well before they are able to understand and make healthy decisions about how to treat their own bodies. Furthermore, TV and movies tend to make alcohol and tobacco use appear glamorous, and show bodies that are either too "perfect" (tall, thin, unblemished) or too "ugly" (fat, acne-prone) -- this encourages high risk behaviors, and leads to issues of self esteem.


Media At Home 

Children of all ages should have limitations in the number of hours of screen time. The current recommendation is that children under 2 should have no exposure to TV or computer. Children and adolescents should limit their screen time to 2 hours a day. School-aged children and adolescents who use the computer for schoolwork don't have to count their school-related computer time as part of their two hours.


Try to watch and play with your child. If you are actively involved in your child's media time, you will have a better idea about the content of their media exposure, you will be able to monitor the time of the exposure, and you will be able to have an active conversation about what is seen or heard.


TV and computers should be kept and used in a public place. TVs have no place in a bedroom, they lead to sleep disturbance, poor sleep hygiene, nightmares, and chronic fatigue. Studies have also closely linked increased screen time with ADHD and learning disabilities.


TV should not be on during mealtimes and should not be used as a distraction technique to get children to eat. Studies have associated high levels of media use with obesity because children eat many more calories while sitting in front of the television, and don't pay attention to their own inner cues about fullness.


What About PBS and Educational Programs? 

Even educational videos and programs should not be overdone. Children can certainly learn from PBS programs, but many studies have shown that this learning is enhanced by having a parent interacting with the program as well to reinforce the actions and activities on the screen.


While exposing children to current events is an important part of teaching history and responsibility, parental guidance is necessary. News clips and "top stories" are frequently violent, scary, and uncensored. If children accidentally see these clips, they can be frightened, confused, and overwhelmed. Even adolescents should be encouraged to talk about what they have seen and heard in the news in order to be able to better understand and rationalize it in the framework of your family values.


Going Online 

Email, texting, Facebook, and other social networking sites are the fastest growing media outlet for adolescents. When kids go online, they should know never to share any personal information! They should also be warned not to chat or email with anyone they don't know personally. Unfortunately, cyber-bullying is rampant - it is much easier to say cruel things when you're not face-to-face - and adolescents need frequent reminders not to get involved in online bullying either as a victim or as the bully.  Click here to read the recent PCA at CMO "Questions for the Psychologist" regarding social media.


Media at the Doctor's Office

It is important for patients and parents to take an active role in their child's health - whether for health maintenance or a sick visit. To this end, we ask that patients and parents not use their cell phones to talk or text while they are in the office. If a patient's sibling is using an electronic device during the visit, we ask that the sound be turned all the way off or that headsets are used to control the volume.


Media on the Road

Don't forget, texting and emailing are also media exposure. Texting while driving can be more deadly than drinking and driving. It is currently illegal to text while driving in the state of Massachusetts.


What is Screen Free Week?

Screen Free Week (formerly TV Turn-Off Week) started in 1994 after concerns about the health, social and educational impact television viewing was having on our young people.  In 2010, Campaign of a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) became the home of Screen-Free Week at the request of the Board of the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness.  Children, families, schools and communities are encouraged to turn off screens and "turn on life" instead of relying on media programming for entertainment, participants read,  daydream, explore, enjoy nature and spend time with family and friends.Screen Free Week has become a national event and takes place May 2-8 this year. 


You can find more information


Additional websites and healthy media use information

 Children's Hospital Center on Media Health 

 AAP Guidance to Help Families Make Positive Media Choices 

 AAP The Internet and Your Family

We Can! Screen Time Log   

Common Sense Media-Kids App Reviews 




PCA at CMO to offer
for CMO patients
Tuesday May 17