Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, answers to media questions, digital devices and gadgets, media literacy, parents and technology

Discouraging News on the Media Lit Frontier

Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, p 11

The New York Times has reported on a Common Sense Media (CSM) sponsored study, Zero to Eight, Children’s Media Use in America (PDF). The Times article, Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children, describes the study and points out that kids are in front of a screen more than ever despite the recommendations of their doctors.

After reading this I am feeling a bit more pessimistic than usual. Adults are used to tossing health caution to the wind for themselves, but we were vigilant about protecting the health of our children. Now we seem to disregard the recommendations of pediatricians — the very people who can help us do the most possible to ensure that our kids grow into strong and productive adults. Are we as a society less and less concerned about the development of strong minds? Times reporter Tamar Lewin writes:

Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ longstanding recommendations to the contrary, children under 8 are spending more time than ever in front of screens…

Continue reading “Discouraging News on the Media Lit Frontier”

Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, digital parenting, parents and technology, television

Pediatricians Recommend No Screens for Kids Under Age 2

Yesterday I wrote about a newspaper article that described the updated American Academy of Pediatrics media recommendations for children under two years of age. Here’s the direct link to the updated policy statement, Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years from the journal Pediatrics. The entire document is easily accessible and free, about four pages of reading plus footnotes.

A Few Quotes from the Document

Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, digital parenting, media literacy, parents and technology, tech free time, television

The Television Broke Down and Six Years Later We Replaced It

Click to check out these American Academy of Pediatrics resources.

Read No TV for Children Under 2 Doctors’ Group Urges, in the October 18, 2011 New York Times. This isn’t a new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), just a reminder of how seriously they believe in their media literacy recommendations.

I don’t mention this often, but 30 years ago when our television broke, we had a new baby and not enough money, so we decided to put off the purchase of a new TV. The delay went on for six years until our daughter was seven years old. Originally we did not make a decision out of any deep philosophical principles — and back then there was a lot less research about the effect of TV-watching on young children — we simply did not have money that we wanted to spend on a new set just then (or we had other things we wanted to purchase — I really don’t remember). However, gradually we forgot our plans to purchase a new television because we liked what happened in our family.

We read more, we listened to music more, we ate less junk food, and during the times we were at home, we played lots of games and went to the park almost every day after we returned from work. By age 2-and-a-half our daughter could beat both of us at any memory game we put out on the table. We also read aloud, all the time. In fact, we read so much that sometimes we needed to go to the public library twice a week. Listening to the radio, sometimes NPR and at other times classical or oldies was a regular activity, and we went to movies.

Continue reading “The Television Broke Down and Six Years Later We Replaced It”

Posted in cell phones, copyright, digital photography, electronic communication, plagiarism, resources to read, setting technology limits, tech free time, writing for the web

9 Family Digital Citizenship Tips: Back-to-School Reading #5

The beginning of a school year is a good time for families to set limits, explain rules, and in general, clarify expectations about technology use. Getting started in the fall, when everyone is off to a new grade and a fresh beginning, encourages healthy tech habits.

Depending on the age of your children, you may want to accomplish some or even all of the tasks on this list, encouraging everyone to think responsibly and become committed digital citizens.

Nine Back-to-School Technology Tasks

1. Place computers in central, well-traveled locations — away from bedrooms and private spaces.

2. Be sure adults, not children, are administrators on the computers and devices in your  home — including laptops and other digital devices.

3. Print and post rules and expectations next to each computer. Specify the times when you do not want your children using computers. Emphasize that your family rules are in effect when children go to a friend’s house. Share my digital citizenship poem that highlights issues to consider. Continue reading “9 Family Digital Citizenship Tips: Back-to-School Reading #5”

Posted in acceptable use, American Academy of Pediatrics, cell phones, digital citizenship, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, digital photography, parents and technology

Evaluating websites: Be Sure of the Quality!

Download the phone contract PDF.

It’s May and every year at this time I work extensively with fifth graders on podcasts and other multimedia projects. Each year the students’ conversations drift toward their anticipation of sixth grade, middle school … and new cell phones. A connection exists, in their minds, between the first year of Middle School and getting the all-important digital accessory. Actually, the kids feel it’s an accessory, but their parents consider it a lifeline — something to keep them connected to their children whenever it’s necessary (and sometimes when it isn’t that necessary).

A good getting-started article to read is the New York Times piece When to Buy Your Child a Cell Phone, written by reporter Stephanie Olsen in June 2010. While quite a few children now have cell phones in sixth grade, a few parents prefer to wait to purchase a child’s phone for a year or so beyond the start of Middle School. Common Sense Media’s cell phone page provides lots of helpful information for parents, including a short video to assist with the decision-making process. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Healthy Children website also has an article, Cell Phones, What’s the Right Age?

Continue reading “Evaluating websites: Be Sure of the Quality!”

Posted in American Academy of Pediatricians, cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, parents and technology, supervising kids, teens and technology

Pediatricians, Parents, and Digital Kids, Part II

Last Monday I read three powerful articles, and they fit together like a puzzle. They illustrate how a generational digital divide accentuates adolescent virtual world problems — a result of the contradictory digital perceptions of teens and adults.

POISONED WEB: A Girl’s Nude Photo and Altered Lives, appeared in the New York Times. The article describes how small, teenage misjudgments in the unsupervised world of instant web, smartphones, and cyber-bullying, can magnify hate and cause terrible pain. Reporter Jan Hoffman quotes adults who wish they had supervised more carefully and pledge to do more in the future. I wondered, as I often do when I read these articles, what leads adults not to supervise in the first place? Reading about the teachers, administrators, and officials who attempted to create opportunities for growth and learning out of the senseless hurt and cruelty was a highlight of the article.

 

Are We Ready to Stop Labeling Ourselves Digital Immigrants?an amazing and thoughtful post at A Space for Learning, gets to the heart of the digital divide issue. The author writes: Continue reading “Pediatricians, Parents, and Digital Kids, Part II”

Posted in American Academy of Pediatrics, digital parenting, media literacy, parent education, parents and technology, social media, social networking

Scary Headlines? Main Media Outlets Need Media Literacy Training!

Who writes these headlines? On it’s HealthyChildren.org site, The American Academy of Pediatrics comes out with a balanced, well-written, and thoughtful social media guide for physicians — one that encourages pediatricians to focus on wellness by paying attention to the media and social media activities of their patients, and this is the headline (at Time)?

“Facebook depression” is a small part of the policy statement, but the benefits and the learning opportunities offered by social media are a larger part. Rather than focusing on the positives and on the recommendations for moderation, the media is shouting out the negatives. My fifth grade media literacy students can run circles around these headline writers.

A recent US News and World Report article features a headline that is balanced and far more sensible.

Continue reading “Scary Headlines? Main Media Outlets Need Media Literacy Training!”