Posts Tagged media

It’s Just Background Noise

A new study proves what we may have suspected all along; just having the TV on distracts kids. You knew that already just as you noticed your own level of concentration increases when the TV is off.

A recent study reported in the journal Child Development suggested that parents who leave the television on all day are stunting the development of their infants. It goes on to say that even when babies appeared to pay no attention to adult programs, they spent less time focused on toys compared with when the program was turned off.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two should watch no television and older children should be limited to no more than two hours a day.

”Parents should limit their young children’s exposure to background television,” said Marie Evans Schmidt, who carried out the research at the University of Massachusetts. She said TV was a potentially ”chronic environmental risk factor” affecting most children.

Many studies have indicated that excessive TV in the early years of life can stunt language skills and contribute to behavioral problems.

The message is loud and clear. Expand the same limits to all forms of media and you will have a child with time to think, dream and play.

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Limiting Marketing to Kids

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A few years ago I asked my nephew what he wanted for Christmas. He didn’t know. I asked him if he watched Saturday morning cartoons, because I remember when my kids were little that’s where they saw the toys they might like.

He told me there were no toy commercials, only food commercials. He was right. And the commercials bombarding our children promoted foods and beverages that were high in fat, sugar and salt.

Finally, consumer organizations world-wide will pitch a proposal to limit the amount of food marketing to kids. The group is calling for a ban of radio or television advertising of these foods between the hours of 6am and 9pm, and a ban on marketing the same kinds of unhealthy foods on social networks and other new media. Additionally, they are calling on a ban of promotion through toys and gifts and the use of celebrities and cartoon characters.

If you would like to hear about the new reality parents face, and actionable ideas, visit Parental Wisdom® and listen to our Park Bench® broadcast entitled Feeding Our Children to Death.

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There’s a reason for everything

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An outbreak of the flu is hardly good news, but there is a reason for everything. We find that we can clear our schedules, slow down and cuddle up. Why do we need to wait for the flu or a snowstorm to do something that makes so much sense?

Our generation of parents is so involved in our children’s lives that we have taken on the role of ‘Julie the Cruise Director.’

Let’s take a look at where that has gotten us:

• When they are very little, we register for mommy & me gym classes. Reality check, you can do that at home for no cost at all. Mommy, are you the one that needs the play date here?
• When they are toddlers, we’re registering them for soccer and pee-wee tee ball camps. Reality check again, this costs money and more importantly children actually get less time to play than if the parents played with their kids at the park or in the backyard. Also, the kids aren’t learning how to form their own teams.
• In grade school, we add music and tutoring to the sports schedule which leaves no time for play or family. The mini-van is well stocked with food and beverages as we have no time for dinner. And, by the way, no time for conversation since the mini-van has DVD’s playing in the head rests.
• We check our calendars to find free time for play dates that we’ve selected.
• High school comes around and by this time the kids are burned out by the politics of sports so they’ve stopped playing. Since they never started a game on their own, they don’t know how. Technology has taken the place of making real friends, again something they’ve never had to do.

Back to today’s lesson. Parents – do less and you’ll do more.

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Stars You Can Look Up To

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A friend was over for dinner the other night and mentioned a web site, Fafarazzi, that combines two great American pastimes – celebrity watching and fantasy sports. She mentioned that anything celebrity related was evergreen. Sadly, she is correct.

I wish that our kids could look up to real heroes, but unfortunately real people, even if they might have done wonderful things, just don’t sell magazine covers, or hold our interest with late breaking news.

The next best thing might be reading a blog by Deborah Ng, a professional blogger who created Celebrity Role Model Blog where she writes about the good that celebrities do.

Might be a good way to counter the negative influence of Lindsay, Paris and Britney. You won’t need a telescope to watch these stars.

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Connecting the dots – obesity, behavior and the media

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As I read my daily papers, The Wall St. Journal and USA Today, I cut articles that might be of interest to Parental Wisdom members. There is a pattern emerging where experts are trying to figure out what is going wrong with kids today. Three recent articles shed some light are where they are headed:

• In the January 14th edition of USA Today an article entitled ‘A lifetime of danger in childhood obesity’ paints a bleak picture of the medical issues that could result in overweight children and then explain how parents can create a healthful environment.

• USA Today on January 15th tells us of a ‘new direction’ on the part of PBS to create an online subscription based education website aimed at 3 to 6 year-olds.

• The January 17th edition of the Wall St. Journal asks ‘what’s gotten into kids these days’ and wonders why three-year-olds are being expelled at such an alarming rate.

Finally during a Parental Wisdom tele-seminar held this week on peaceful parenting, a caller asked what she could do to calm down her five-year-old at school because the teacher said he wasn’t sitting still. The teacher suggested the mom consider signing the boy up for a soccer team. The mom is already stressed about just returning to work and trying to keep it all together. Just what she needs, another to-do added to her already over-scheduled to-do list.

The solution to these seemingly unrelated problems is easy. Lighten up and let kids play. I mean real play, not online play, or signing them up with teams at such a young age they spend more time in the field picking their noses rather than listening to yet another round of instructions from adults running their lives. Involve them in your lives and the work that you need to do. Relationship building isn’t forced.
• Talk to your children when food shopping about healthy choices
• Have dinner together every night (or as often as possible) and talk about your day
• Give children chores such as setting or clearing the table
• Shoot baskets – no team shirts needed

Behavior problems will disappear, healthy living and family fun will be a way of life.

Is it this easy? Try it and prove me wrong. I would love to hear back from you.

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Perception is not reality – the safety of our kids

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I was speaking with the mom of an eight-year-old girl. Her daughter wanted a friend to come over and the mom thought it would be a good idea to take the girls out to the park to play. The other mom’s response, “No, it isn’t safe.” The irony is that the 2nd girl has a TV in her bedroom with cable, a cell phone and a computer with Internet access. What that mom hasn’t realized is that she has opened the front door of her home to the entire unsupervised outside world.

Under pressure, MySpace.com announced that it will take further steps to protect children from adult content and possible predators on the site. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that MySpace agreed not only to third-party monitoring but also to working on age verification technology.

I was curious about how this works so I downloaded a white paper on this topic to learn more. If you’re interested visit IDologoy.

The bottom line as always parents, the best protection our children have is us in their lives.

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