Pediatricians Recast Screen Time Recommendations & Give Parents Online Planning Tools

Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents and teachers now have two simple and easy-to-use tools that can assist with developing a family’s media plan and estimating how family members can organize their time so that screen time is balanced with physical activity, reading, face-to-face connections, and homework.

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-8-47-49-pm

A screen shot of the two new media tools.

Every school administrator and every PTA group will want to  share the information about these digital planning devices in as many ways as possible. The new tools are available at the AAP’s HealthyChildren.org website.

The Academy has also refreshed its screen time recommendations for children of all ages, making needed updates to reflect the changing digital landscape as well as the many media activities in the lives of family members. Whether you agreed or vehemently disagreed with previous AAP screen and media guidelines, the professional society of children’s physicians deserves high praise for its ongoing efforts to address a media and digital landscape that dramatically affects the health and wellness of young people.

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Civility Is Now Devalued — So What Will Adults Do About It?

If there is ever a time to emphasize ideas on civility, commenting, fact-checking, and media literacy, it’s during an election. Children, preadolescents, and teens will learn much during the 2016 presidential campaign just from all the watching. (Read my post The Children are Watching and Seeing, Listening and Hearing.)

Our traditional expectations for civility and ethical behavior are cracking apart right before our eyes.

On the basis of what’s happened at recent political conventions and the beginning of the election season, young people will be witnessing name calling, stereotyping, hateful comments, online hate, and in some cases veiled bodily threats. Kids will hear things on TV at home and on the televisions that are broadcasting in lounges, waiting rooms, doctor’s offices, and everywhere else. They will hear radios broadcasting the news at home and in other peoples’ homes. And, of course, there’s social media.

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What to Do About Screen Time – A Diane Rehm Show Discussion

Click to check out the report’s infographic..

Click to check out the Common Sense Media research report’s infographic.

This past week I listened to New Research On Teens, Toddlers and Mobile Devices, an engaging radio program about digital parenting on The Diane Rehm Show (NPR). In early November 2015 Rehm featured four expert guests who thoughtfully examined the digital parenting issues that adults should consider when it comes to digital media and children. It was rebroadcast in  December 2015.

The program appeared to be timed to highlight a recently released report, The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens (2015). Educators and parents will learn a lot by listening to this broadcast or reading the transcript and by checking out the program’s resource links.

A new year—with new devices and new considerations about rules and limitation—is a good time to listen to experts who can help adults think more carefully about how to define screen time and  discuss the research (and the need for much more). This program can help adults guide children whose 21st Century lives are increasingly defined by digital activities.                         Continue reading

After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids: What to Do

I’m getting a new iPhone 6s!

I’m getting a new iPhone 6s!

Every 21st Century parent needs a holiday digital parenting checklist that describes the tasks to accomplish between purchasing a new digital device and watching a child gleefully unwrap it. A list gives parents a head start, helping them understand challenges, set explanations and guidelines, anticipate problems, and most importantly, set the stage for responsible and respectful use of extraordinarily powerful devices.

Many parents I speak with point out how little time they have go through this sort of checklist — but the time spent now is nothing compared the the time drain that occurs after a your child experiences a connected world problem. It’s worth your time to consider the checklist now.

The MediaTechParenting 2015
         Digital Parents’ Holiday and Beyond Checklist        

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StoryCorps’ Great Thanksgiving Listen – Check It Out!

Great TG Quote 2Every Thanksgiving I write a post on each of my blogs listing the digital opportunities in my life for which I am thankful. In this age of constant worry about the various problems and challenges that technology presents for growing children, I like to remind myself that the connected world has given me and young people much to enrich our lives.

Visit the StoryCorps website.

Visit the StoryCorps website.

This Thanksgiving one more item will definitely be added to my list. StoryCorps, the  storytelling feature that we listen to on National Public Radio (NPR), is featuring The 2015 Great Thanksgiving Listen. The goal is to:

… work with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Listen to a National Public Radio report about the Thanksgiving StoryCorps event.

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Now In Top 10 Child Health Concerns: Internet Safety & Sexting

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health conducts regular surveys several times each year polling adults in around 2000 randomly selected, nationally representative households, about significant health issues that relate to children. The goal of this survey and others in the C.S. Mott program is to collect information and identify trends that are useful to health providers, community public health organizations, and public policy makers.

CS Mott health probllem results

Image from CS. Mott Children’s Hospital Survey report site.

One of these surveys on children’s health asks adults to rate the issues or problems that are of greatest concern when it comes to kids’ health.

This year, 2015, parents rated internet safety as the fourth most important health problem for children, moving from the eighth place in 2014. Sexting, which was in 13th place in 2014, was rated as the sixth greatest health concern for children in the 2015 survey.

These findings indicate that 21st Century parents are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of their kids in today’s media-dense environment. Increasingly todays adults seek to focus on the digital health and wellness of their children and seek to learn how to parent digital natives more effectively and more positively.     Continue reading

Digital Parenting: Recently Released Research from Northwestern University

Media & Family Conflicts

One of many charts and graphs in the report.

A new study, Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology, was recently released by Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development. The 52-page report is easy to read and chock full of interesting graphics and charts.

Data were gathered through a survey of 2,326 parents whose children were eight years old and younger. The surveys were conducted in English and Spanish. Check out page nine of the report for more information on the methodology of the research project.

Most Interesting Report Findings (more are available in the report)

  • A large number of the parents in the survey do not believe that increased use of media has made parenting easier.
  • Most parents in the survey did not report many or significant family conflicts around media use.
  • There continues to be a big gap between those who can afford new digital devices and those who cannot afford them.
  • The study identified three types of parenting styles when it comes to family media use.
    1. Media-centric family life centers around various types of screens, and parents as well as children enjoy using media a lot of the time.
    2. Media moderate family life includes less media access, and the television is turned off a lot more of the time. Video games are not as important to daily life as in a media-centric family.
    3. Media lite family life includes screen time but less than the other two parenting styles. They tend to do to less television watching as a family, and they do not use television to distract children so that parents can accomplish other tasks.

The blog at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop also describes the study in detail.