Do you constantly ask questions about the influence of media on your children? The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) website at Boston Children’s Hospital is a reservoir of information for parents, teachers, pediatricians, and other professionals. Led by pediatrician Michael Rich, MD, MPH, a professor at Harvard Medical School, the mission of the organization is to “…empower both children and those who care for them to create and consume media in ways that optimize children’s health and development.”
The Center and its staff are especially concerned with helping parents become skilled at overseeing the media that children consume. The philosophy is not to banish media — that is impossible anyway — but to help adults and children learn how to manage it skillfully, as well as to understand direct and subliminal media messages. You can also visit the CMCH blog for regular and timely posts about children, adolescents, media and research.
In addition to the resources at the CMCH Dr. Rich writes a column, Ask the Mediatrician, answering questions about media and children. Anyone can submit a question, and an archive of past questions and answers is posted at the site. A button link to this feature is in the middle of the right-hand column.
One of My Favorite Quotes from Dr. Michael Rich
In America we make a distinction between education and entertainment. We learn important values and serious information in school, at church, and in the doctor’s office. But television, movies and other media are entertainment, relaxing “down time for our minds.” Unfortunately, the education/entertainment dichotomy is both artificial and false…Children spend more time using media than they spend at school, with parents, or in any other activity except for sleep. Media are teaching our children, and they are incorporating what they learn into their lives. We must pay more attention to the lessons they are learning.
“Every Moment is a Teachable Moment,” Pediatrics, July 1, 2001 (p.180)