Stories about: harmful media

Are kids benefiting from all these electronics?

Michael RichMedia expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, answers your questions about media use. Last week, he talked about how kids can respond to threatening chain letters.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: I keep hearing how younger and younger children are being exposed to electronics — that there are computers in preschool classrooms, that kids are using smart phones to learn the alphabet, and that a children’s version of the iPad is in the works at Fisher Price.  This exposure to electronics at such an early age certainly has an effect on children’s social and family life, the way they play, and their academics. My question is whether these effects are positive or negative — is the next generation benefiting from these electronics?

Interested in the iGeneration, in Boston, MA

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Is there anything wrong with letting my 18-month-old watch the episode of Sesame Street that he loves?

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Media expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, answers your questions about media use. Last week, he discussed what to do if your child imitates inappropriate dance moves.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: I am the mother of a very active 18-month-old little boy who loves one particular episode of Sesame Street. Other than this one particular episode, he does not watch TV and for the most part, he’s uninterested even if the TV is on. My question is, although I know children under 2 should be discouraged from watching TV, is it harmful for him to watch Sesame Street? This program does not have any commercials and seems harmless. Please let me know your thoughts; any information is much appreciated.

Uncertain about Sesame, Norristown, PA

A: Dear Uncertain,

Pediatricians recommend limiting screen media before the age of 2 because young children learn little from screens.

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