Mastering the Media
by Michael O. Rich, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP
Is my son’s video gaming making him anxious? Is
my daughter addicted to social media? Is it OK for my
toddler to play with a tablet?
Increasingly, we are hearing these questions at well-child visits, questions for which our pediatric training
did not prepare us.
The Academy has long been a leader in recognizing
that the media children use and how they use them
affect physical, mental and social health. But imple-
menting anticipatory guidance and interventions on
health problems arising from children’s media immer-
sion as the standard of clinical care has not been easy.
Given growing demands on ever-shorter patient visits,
many pediatricians have struggled to integrate realities
of the digital age into their practices.
Fortunately, evidence-based clinical tools and strategies are now available.
The majority of children’s schoolwork, entertainment, interpersonal communications and relationships
are conducted on screens. Adolescents are averaging
nearly nine hours of media use every day and multi-tasking one-third of the time, according to studies from
How to provide evidence-based pediatric care for the digital age