Stories about: Center on Media and Child Health

Unsupervised smartphone time for a toddler: good or bad?

toddler smartphone child media Thriving Mediatrician
(Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock)

Is it okay to let a three-year-old use a smartphone or tablet unsupervised? That’s the question a parent recently posed to Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mediatrician, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the hospital’s Center on Media and Child Health.

His answer? Not really:

Using a smartphone, tablet, or even watching TV together allows you to observe your daughter’s immediate response to and use of the screen, while also creating a shared experience. This kind of joint media engagement (JME) provides a richer and healthier experience for the child both in terms of her social-emotional development and for her learning.

Handing a young child a screen to pacify her is problematic, both because it appears to reward her for the behavior you are attempting to pacify and because of what her screen time displaces.

Read the rest of Rich’s response on our sister blog, Thriving.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Does a teen patient have a social media addiction?

social media addiction ThrivingWhat should parents do if their child seems to be developing a social media addiction? On our sister blog Thriving, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mediatrician, responds to a worried parent’s question about his daughter’s super-strong attachment to Instagram and SnapChat.

“This sounds like a difficult situation,” he notes, “one that many parents of teens face. Your daughter may have replaced the face-to-face socializing that happens so easily at school with socializing with her friends, now scattered by summer, through her phone.”

Read the whole of Rich’s advice on Thriving.


Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

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

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Are websites like “Animal Jam” appropriate for tweens and young children?

father child computer freemium websites pediatricianA parent and librarian is skeptical about whether “Animal Jam” and other freemium websites—which push users to pay for premium or additional services—are appropriate for children, and if they really have the educational value they claim.

Boston Children’s Hospital’s “Mediatrician” Michael Rich, MD, PhD, director of the Center on Media and Child Health, responds on Thriving.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment