Cyberbullying 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
There 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
How much screen time is too much? That’s the essence of a question one parent sent in to Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mediatrician, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the hospital’s Center on Media and Child Health, about the hours upon hours her preteen daughter spends on the computer playing Minecraft.
Rich notes that as screens have become ever present in society, the pediatric establishment’s view on screen time has evolved:
As technologies continue to develop and screen media become more and more prevalent in all of our lives, experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are moving away from the concept of screen time limits for children.
Before offering advice on how to talk to her daughter about her Minecraft time, Rich adds that families need to view a child’s on- and offline activities in the context of her age and developmental needs:
Remember, your daughter is at a stage in life where one of her key developmental tasks is how to prioritize activities and manage her time. Her academic and social demands are increasing and she is moving out of the nuclear family unit to a much larger universe of peers and the public. Minecraft is just one of many activities she will need to prioritize, put into perspective and ultimately regulate in terms of her time and attention. Ironically, time management and getting enough rest is essential to success within the game of Minecraft.
Are youth losing the ability to communicate face-to-face? A worried mother and student of media recently put that question to Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mediatrician, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the hospital’s Center on Media and Child Health.
In his reply on our sister blog Thriving, Rich does not paint a comforting picture:
[Young people] have more connectivity than ever — and far less connectedness to others and to the world.
Not only are they disconnected in the moment, but this focus on devices can hinder their development of the social skills needed to communicate with others in-person.
But the issue is more nuanced than just too much time with screens:
Mobile phones are just tools and, used in healthy and safe ways, can help us communicate and stay connected (or reconnect) to people we love and can help us form new relationships with others all over the world. Technology only distances us when we misuse these tools by allowing them to come between us rather than connecting us.