Author: Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Cyberbullying: Detection and advocacy

Cyberbullying-leadCyberbullying is defined as “the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person.” According to 2016 data, approximately 34 percent of children have been bullied online or through mobile digital devices such as smartphones. Given the number of children and adolescents affected by cyberbullying, as well as the negative short- and long-term health effects on its victims, today’s clinicians must learn the signs of cyberbullying, how it affects their patients, and how to prevent and treat associated health outcomes. …Read More

Social media and adolescent body image: What to know

Girl looking at cell phoneThe two strongest influencers on children’s attitudes toward their body image are their family unit and media. As clinicians, we must be attuned to our patients’ family dynamics and their online activities — and understand how these environmental factors influence their psychological and physical health.  …Read More

Children and mobile media: Strategies for pediatric practice

Rich-Mobile-Media-Boston Children's Thriving blogThere is substantial scientific evidence from multiple disciplines that the mobile media children use and how they use them influence their development and their physical, mental and social health. Among areas of concern in children are: risk-taking, sexual behavior, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, violence, obesity, disordered eating, learning, sleep and social connectedness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been issuing policy statements on the health effects of media for over 30 years and observant pediatricians recognize that their patients are affected. But a lack of clear diagnostic criteria and therapeutic guidelines combined with increasing demands on ever-shorter patient visits have made it difficult to prioritize and integrate media-related anticipatory guidance, diagnosis and treatment into standard of care pediatric practice. …Read More

Advising parents on children and media: Moving towards more evidence-based methods

boy tablet online media childrenMichael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health and Boston Children’s Hospital’s “Mediatrician,” authored an editorial in JAMA Pediatrics on the issues parents and physicians face in raising children growing up in a media-saturated world. The following is a synopsis of the editorial.

Research conducted in more than a dozen disciplines, collected for well over 50 years, provides a large and growing body of scientific evidence indicating that media exposure can influence leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children and adolescents (obesity, substance use, aggression and risk-taking behaviors, etc.). And considering that children now spend more time with media than they do with parents, teachers or any other influence, today’s parents and care providers need access to strong, evidence-based data when considering media that children use and the way that they use them. …Read More

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