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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 has a strong influence on food choices, good or bad

    Children’s Food Choices and Media Research, Center on Media and Child Health, September 22, 2014. An excellent and upbeat article well worth close study. The idea is that, although the media has played a negative role in inducing kids into bad food habits, the media can also play its part

  • Violent media may lead to a lack of empathy
    Violent media may lead to a lack of empathy

    An interesting and hopeful article that should be read and re-read. The issue here is that parents are becoming more and more aware of how problematic violent video games can be for kids, despite there still being some controversy about how often and how seriously violence from video games and media might be directly affecting children's evolvement in actual violence. Continue reading

  • Anything for fame

    A short article on an alarming new craze among kids: They light themselves on fire, video themselves douse the flames and post the episode online. The purpose is ostensibly a few minutes of media celebrity. Continue reading

  • More on the Slenderman stabbing

    More on the Slenderman murders. A thoughtful article about the power of fearful stories as old as the Sandman to scare kids and hold them in fear. Yet like so many of the problems facing kids in their encounters with the media, the ubiquity of the media itself is a major part of the problem, rendering my concerns far greater than what they would be if a bunch of kids were simply sitting around a campfire spinning scary yarns. Continue reading

  • Fictional characters can feed childhood anxiety

    One of numerous articles that appeared in the popular press following the stabbing by two girls of a third in Wisconsin, related to the fictional character Slenderman. This article relates a bit of history about how the character was invented and popularized on the website creepypasta. It seems the two girls who committed the stabbing of a friend may have actually believed that Slenderman was real and that they were going to be able to live with him, once they killed the third girl, who was a friend or acquaintance of theirs. Continue reading

  • Kids’ brains are being changed by media immersion

    A thought-provoking article, which is an excerpt of a book by Michael Harris, entitled The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection. The article leaves the reader sobered, thoughtful. Relying much on recent brain research, the article argues that the human brain of the child is literally being changed by its daily immersion in the Internet and media. Continue reading

  • Are kids today more self-centered than ever?

    A thought-provoking article that lays out some provocative ideas but leaves matters unresolved. The gist of the article is the movement of kids from generation to generation toward more self-centeredness. Or as one of my earlier articles puts it: "Self-Centered: the New Normal." Continue reading