Media and Violence

On average, children 8 years of age and older watch greater than 2 hours of TV a day and at least 6 hours per day when all types of media are included (e.g., movies, videos, gaming, social media, etc.) (1) Even children’s programming is quite violent with cartoons showing 25 – 50 violent acts per hour (2,3). There is a positive correlation between the viewing of violence in media and the behavior of the viewers (4 – 9).  

What can we do as parents to stem the tide? 

1.  Limit children’s total media time to less than 1 to 2 hours a day.  I would suggest even less especially on school nights!

2. Remove TV sets and computers from children’s bedrooms and do not allow them to sleep with other devices such as phones.

3. Discourage  television and screen media use (except for video chatting) for children younger than 18 months.

4. Monitor the shows viewed and games played by children and adolescents.

5. View media with your children and discuss the content.

6. Play digital games with your children to better understand them.

7. Encourage alternative entertainment (Reading, athletics, hobbies, etc.)

8. Use parental controls to block unauthorized viewing.

These are simple steps to help your child get along better with others and resolve conflicts without violence.  The American Academy of Pediatrics also provides tips and resources to develop a “Family Media Plan,” which you can find online. 

1, 2.  Rideout VJ. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/the-common-sense-census-media-use-by-tweens-and-teens (Accessed on November 01, 2016). 

3. Dietz WH, Strasburger VC. Children, adolescents, and television. Curr Probl Pediatr 1991; 21:8. 

4. Yokota F, Thompson KM. Violence in G-rated animated films. JAMA 2000; 283:2716.

5. Sege R, Dietz W. Television viewing and violence in children: the pediatrician as agent for change. Pediatrics 1994; 94:600.

6. Council on Communications and Media. Media use in school-aged children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2016.

7. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Public Education. American Academy of Pediatrics: Children, adolescents, and television. Pediatrics 2001; 107:423.

8. Caring for your baby and young child: Birth to age 5, Shelov SP, Hannemann RE (Eds), Bantam, New York 1991.

9. Council on Communications and Media. From the American Academy of Pediatrics: Policy statement–Media violence. Pediatrics 2009; 124:1495.

 This information was obtained from http://www.uptodate.com a website which provides current information for physicians.

 

A Few Words…and Tips on Fire Prevention and Safety

We remain stunned by the loss and devastation wrought by wild fires so recently in East Tennessee. Whether directly or indirectly, these fires have affected us all.  I still can’t fathom the horror encountered by those attempting to escape the sudden, onrushing flames, and the sadness felt for those unfortunate enough not to escape. These fires have been a tragic event. As always, though, such tragedies also highlight the strength and resilience of so many in our communities: the bravery of the firefighters and emergency personnel and the outpouring of donations and volunteers continue to inspire.   It is both sad and wonderful that such a terrible event brings out the best in us.

As these fires pass, I suspect you – and even your children – have talked more about fire prevention and fire safety. In addition, as we enter the winter months, the risk of home fires increases.  Consequently, I thought it might be timely to pass along some tips and reminders about home fire safety for parents.

Prevention and monitoring are the first steps. Educating our children on fire risks is crucial. Monitoring with smoke and carbon dioxide detectors can save lives. (Remember to change batteries every 6 to 12 months on smoke detectors.) Developing a fire evacuation plan in your home with a central meeting place can help avert the confusion and panic that occurs when fire strikes our home.

Here are several websites information on fire safety. The first two are intended for parents, and the final three are more interactive for children.

1) This is a helpful website with numerous safety tip sheets on a wid variety of issues on fires safety.

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/resources/safety-tip-sheets

2) This website also has safety tip sheets.

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire

3) This is a YouTube video with animation and music to help educate on fire safety.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiIGMWRKfQI&t=101s

4) This website has fire education with coloring sheets and games.

http://firesafekids.org/science.html

5) This is a website with videos and music to help educate children of various ages

http://sparkyschoolhouse.org/ – video-modal

 

 

Cold Weather Safety

 

With winter approaching, here are some cold weather safety tips.  Dressing children and infants in several thin layers is best. Dress them in one more layer than an adult would wear in the same conditions, and make sure to provide a hat, gloves. and warm boots. When playing outside, have children come back inside periodically to warm up. Blankets, quilts, and pillows should be kept away from an infant’s sleeping environment due to the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers are preferable. For more tips and information...