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On average, the American child is in the company of his parent about 17 hours per week, with the media about 35 hours per week.  Of the two, parent and media, which is more entertaining to the child, and which more critical to his social and emotional development?

When the Media is the ParentOur children are being nurtured and guided by machines — modern media delivery systems – and the media they deliver.  They have taken over the parenting functions that once were performed by human beings.

This may sound like a horror movie plot from the 1950s, but it is a twenty-first century reality. All too often, well-meaning parents have abdicated their roles as nurturers, caregivers, teachers, confidantes, guides, and role models—leaving TV, videogames, movies, smart phones, and the internet to fill in. And our children are paying the price. Continue reading →

  • Media can provide a positive influence, if there is a profit in it

    An interesting study that follows the same theme described in my last article and set of tweets: The media can be used for good, if the message itself is positive. Previously I wrote about the FDA using a marketing barrage to make the point that perhaps kids can be influence via commercials to turn away from smoking cigarettes. This article suggests a similar tactic in the national battle against childhood obesity. Continue reading

  • FDA tries fighting fire with fire

    A longish article of an interview of and FDA official about a new campaign being launched by the FDA to dissuade kids from smoking. Like many behaviors glamorized or encouraged by the media, such drinking alcohol, taking drugs, having sex indiscriminately, or overeating, cigarette smoking remains a serious problem for America's youth. Despite massive government efforts via fining the tobacco industry, banning TV ads of cigarette products, etc, the problem is not going away. Continue reading

  • TV for kids: is it all bad?

    A terse article that tries to balance the pros and cons of TV watching for kids. It begins with a clear statement that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against kids watching TV before the age of 2 and that parents tend to use the TV as a babysitter much too often. Continue reading

  • Kids learn a lot from the media, not all of it good

    A brief article along with a clever but telling video from Common Sense Media meant to dramatize a serious concern about how kids absorb words and expressions not just from parents and older siblings and peers, in a manner that is quite common, but also from the media. This fits nicely into my idea about how the media has become the parent. Continue reading

  • Media devices may be eliminating human empathy

    A preposterous article on one level, yet sadly all too true. About how kids are spending so much time on smartphones and other electronic devices and so are not developing basic social skills. Continue reading

  • Infants need to be active, not staring at screens
    Infants need to be active, not staring at screens

    A piece at once comical and rather sad. It's about a product developed by Fisher Price, which allows parents essentially to strap their infants and toddlers in front of a screen and ignore them. Continue reading

  • Excessive screen time linked to anxiety and depression

    An arresting article about how a study published by Public Health England concludes that excessive screen time is linked to anxiety and depression and limits children's opportunities for social interaction and physical activity. Continue reading