Pediatricians, Parents, and Digital Kids, Part I

AAP Media History Form

This morning I was thrilled to read the newest American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy focusing on social media and children. The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families, written by a group of pediatricians and led by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe (also the author of CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Digital Kids in the World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media), provides a set of social media guidelines for physicians to use with teen and tween patients as well as with parents. Published in March 28, 2011 edition of the journal Pediatrics, the social media statement describes the benefits and risks of the digital world, avoids judgmental comments, and suggests strategies that can make is safer for children.

Dr. O’keeffe’s Book

Beginning as far back as 1999, when a fair number of parents were themselves barely our of adolescence, the AAP published a Media Education Policy Statement recommending that all yearly health exams include taking a media history (see above left). Other policy recommendations focus on the Internet, web safety, privacy, media, and advertising — demonstrating concern as well as respect for young patients and their families.

Check out the SafetyNet page on the AAP website where parents can find resources t0 help them cope with the challenges of raising children in a digital world.

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