Monday, April 14, 2014

Two Studies on Media Exposure in Young Children Provide Concerning Results

Photo by normanack via Flickr
The AAP has made media awareness a priority issue for pediatricians and patients and policies to limit media exposure in infants, children and teens have come forth over the past few years in our journal (doi: 10.1542/ peds.2013-2656).

Despite the policies, children seem to be spending more and more time engaged in media usage so this week we are releasing two studies you can share with your patients that might make more of a dent in reducing the amount of television or other media children are often routinely exposed to at home.

The first study by Cespedes et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3998) looked at sleep duration differences between infancy and mid-childhood when there was a television in the bedroom as the child got older, as well as whether sleep duration was influenced negatively by the amount of television watched overall. Given the studies we have published on the association of inadequate sleep with general mental and physical health, having sleep duration potentially influenced, or at least associated with, prolonged television exposure and/or television in the bedroom is a message that is well-worth sharing with your patients.

Similarly, a second study by Radesky et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2367) looked at parental report of infant behavioral self-regulation and its association with early childhood media exposure. The authors’ study hypothesis was that poor-self regulation would result in parents placing their child in front of television and videos more than those parents who did not perceive their children having self-regulation problems. Again—alerting families that there are better solutions to perceived behavioral issues with their children than simply putting them in front of a television or video screen is also some guidance we might provide to parents in our quest to reduce media exposure in our youngest patients.

Channel your energy into reading these two studies so you can in turn channel your media-reduction messages even more to your patients.

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