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, Rich tackled the issue of how much screen time is too much for teens.
And now, here’s this week’s Ask the Mediatrician query:
Q: How do we handle all the barely clothed adults that we see on billboards, in the form of underwear, perfume, and even soft drink ads? My 7-year-old finds it “funny” that all the young people in the ads always have their pants unbuttoned—that is, of course, when they are indeed wearing pants.
Baffled by Billboards, in San Francisco, CA
A: Dear Baffled by Billboards:
It’s always tricky to navigate your kids’ exposure to these kinds of images. Most kids, particularly young ones, don’t really get it. To them, the half-naked models just look silly—like they forgot to finish getting dressed. But even though it might seem like the messages are going over their heads and are therefore no problem, you are right to be concerned. I’m not saying that these ads will change a child’s behavior immediately. But over time, kids get the idea that these kinds of sexual images are what’s normal. …
Other children’s health stories we’ve been reading:
- A new study finds that low-birth-weight babies are more likely to have low bone density when they get older. Those born preterm should be extra vigilant about getting enough calcium and vitamin D. For more about bone health, check out a post by Catherine Gordon, MD, MSc, director of the Bone Health Program at Children’s.
- Gina Clowes from Allergy Moms shares 10 Things Food Allergic Children Want You to Know. What do your children wish other people knew about living with allergies? …
Recently, the Boston Public Health Commission announced it will launch a new safer-sex campaign that will educate teens about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through Facebook, You Tube, TV and street performances. The announcement comes after startling new data revealing an increase in STIs in and around Boston over the past couple of years. Children’s Chief of General Pediatrics, Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, weighs in on the increase in STIs and gives tips on how parents can address it with their children. …
Sex education for teens is a topic that’s sure to spur fervent discussion. In the UK, a sex ed pamphlet released by the National Health Service is no exception, causing quite a stir among parents and health care professionals.