Friday, December 24, 2010

What you need to know about media and children's health

Young people spend more time using media -- TV, movies, music, computers, cell phones, and video games -- than engaging in any other single activity except sleep!

The media that children use and create play a key role in the development of their growing sense of themselves, of their world, and how they will learn to interact with their world. For any given child the way media shapes their sense of self and the world depends on the content of the media they take in/integrate, as well as the child's age, the amount of media, and whether the use is active and critical.

Five C's for families: Guidelines for  shaping media's influence on your child or teen:

Control time: No more that 1 to 2 hours per day (max).
Content matters: All media are educational. Some teach accurate, healthful lessons, while others teach distorted and harmful lessons.
Context is important: Where, when, how, and why and WITH WHOM young poeple use media strongly influences whether the media enrich or harm children.
Critical thinking: Teaching children active, critical media use is essential for healthy development.
Create and model media mastery: What we feed children's minds is as important as what we feed their bodies. Teach children a healthy media diet and continually engage in a discussion about media rather than passively consuming media.

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