Author: Michael Rich MD MPH

Ask the Mediatrician: Should I let my child watch ’13 Reasons Why’?

Boston Children's experts weigh in on whether or not teens should watch 13 Reasons Why.

My daughter is 13. Her friends in middle school have recently become obsessed with the Netflix show, “13 Reasons Why.” I haven’t read the book or watched the show, but have been seeing a few news articles that worry me that the show may be dangerous for kids to watch graphic depictions of suicide, bullying and forced sex. My daughter feels that it is only “drama” (in the teen use of the word), and she’s been feeling left out of the conversation with her friends. Is it ok for me to let her watch it? ~ Just One Reason Why Not, USA

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Ask the Mediatrician: Is it OK for my baby to video chat with his grandparents?

Grandmother doing a Facetime video chat with granddaughter at brunch.

I’d like to video chat with my 3-month-old grandson on my phone. His parents are concerned that the video emitted from the screen will affect his brain development and eyes. Any advice will be helpful! ~ Nana, New York, NY

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Ask the Mediatrician: My 11-year-old is addicted to Minecraft, what should I do?

MinecraftQ: My 11-year-old daughter is addicted to the game Minecraft. During the week it doesn’t seem to be a problem as she is busy with sports and homework. However, during the weekends she has a lot more free time and tends to spend hours playing Minecraft. What would be the amount of time that you recommend she play Minecraft per day?
~ Mind Crack or Minecraft? Burlingame/Hillsborough area, CA

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Is technology decreasing kids’ ability to communicate face-to-face?

teens and cell phonesQ: As a mother and a student examining media as a social issue, I’m concerned that technology is decreasing youth’s ability to communicate face-to-face, largely because most of their communication and activities are done through a screen. Is there evidence for this concern?
~  Face Facts, Bridgeport, CT

A: Dear Face,

Young people walk hand in hand, talking to others on their phones. They sit at a restaurant together, staring down at their mobile screens. It is now rare to see youth without a phone in hand, earbuds plugged in, texting, instagramming or tweeting. And with all of their scrolling, playing, photographing and status updating, they often miss out on the people and experiences happening around them. They have more connectivity than ever – and far less connectedness to others and to the world.

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