So while I have been on the topic of media and our children, I thought of a few more important points to help maintain a “healthy media diet” for kids.
Families should sit down together, even with children of young ages, and have a “family media use plan”. This plan should include mealtime and bedtime media “curfews”, and central docking stations in the home to “put the devices to bed”. Parents need to abide by the rules as well.
Parents need to have discussions with their children about social media sites, safety and privacy. While social media can help foster positive interactions, it is also a frequent means of bullying. Cyber bullying is become even more prevalent , and we need to be teaching our children positive interactions on social media, and monitoring for any bullying. It is much easier to type or text a mean message than to tell someone to their face. The “Front Door Rule” continues to work well to help children and teens understand what not to post. Unless you are comfortable putting the post, whether a text or a picture on your front door for all to see, don’t press send. It really is a good rule for all of us.
It is important for parents to continue to monitor what media their children are using and accessing, which includes internet sites as well as social media sites. Staying abreast of the latest social media sites is a challenge for any parent. I am fortunate that teenage patients of mine continue to educate me as well. Have you heard of “snap chat” or askfm.com? If not, ask your teen.
It is also important to take into account the quality of media being chosen by your child and the family. Many excellent shows continue to educate on all sorts of topics as well as teaching empathy, interpersonal skills, racial and ethnic tolerance. Choose wisely and discuss the lessons after watching with your children
Lastly, data continues to show that excessive media may contribute to obesity, aggression, lack of sleep and poor school performance. None of these are attributes that a parent want their child to deal with.
So, monitor the media. It really is a full time job.