Keeping up with what your children are watching

Media Deprivation? Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, September 22, 2014.

A thoughtful and hopeful article since it demonstrates how parents are beginning to understand the value of both limiting screen time for kids and being discerning about what kids actually consume while in front of media machines. The author, a physician and a mother, has decided that unlimited access is a problem for kids for various reasons, not necessarily spelled out in this article, but fairly obvious, including I presume violent and fearful tendencies, confusion about sexuality and drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, etc.

One of the prime issues here, however, is that the author is herself sophisticated about the subject, probably well-read on the existing literature, and also able to do media monitoring in a way that many parents cannot. In contrast, too many American families are squeezed by time and money constraints. Hence the possibility of providing the child with a media baby sitter rather than a live one seems quite attractive. In fact more than simply attractive, but indeed imperative, since so many families don’t really have the luxury of providing their children with live babysitters. Their finances will not allow a luxury item like a good baby sitter. Further, as families fracture and moms are often parenting alone, the media machine becomes a likely go-to child minding devise, especially given how entertaining various media creations often are, regardless of their value messages. While the parent plies his or her cellphone, the child sits glued before a screen in an adjoining room.