Dr. Don Shifrin
"Turnoff Week" Kids and Media
Children and adolescents spend more time with media than they do in any other activity except for sleeping – an average of seven hours a day. The vast majority of young people have access to a bedroom television, computer, the Internet, a video-game console and a cell phone. In a review article, “Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents,” published in the April issue of Pediatrics (appearing online March 1), researchers review recent research on the effects of media on the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Research has found that media can influence children’s beliefs and behaviors in terms of violence and aggression, sex, substance abuse, obesity and eating disorders. Heavy television viewing has been linked with attention-deficit disorder and diminished academic performance, as well as hypertension, asthma, sleep disorders, mood disorders, psychological distress and depression. Media can also be a positive influence and teach children empathy, tolerance toward people of other races and respect for their elders, as well as convey important public health messages. Study authors provide recommendations for parents, health care practitioners, schools, the entertainment industry and the government to increase the benefits and reduce the harm that media can have.
Turnoff Week is an ideal time to turn off the TV and video games, and to take advantage of some of the great opportunities for physical activity and family time that are available in your community. Experts believe that excessive screen time can have negative effects on children and teens, including an increase in obesity. Dr. Don Shifrin comes on the show to help with information on the effects of too much screen time and the importance of play and physical activity.
Dr. Shifrin is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine in Seattle, and has been in private practice at Pediatric Associates, Inc, PS. in Bellevue, Washington, for 31 years. Dr. Shifrin was chair of the AAP Committee on Communications from 2003-2007. The Committee recognizes and evaluates the many positive and negative messages communicated to children from the media. The Committee formulates responses to media issues, publishes formal AAP media policy statements, and promotes education related to the impact of these messages on the health of children. He facilitated the Committee merging with the Academy’s Section on Media to form a new AAP Council on Communications and Media, where he served as vice-chair from 2007-2008. He was the recipient of the AAP’s 2009 Holroyd-Sherry Award.
Dr. Shifrin also served on the AAP Task Force on Obesity for two years as a representative from the Committee on Communications. The task force sunsetted in 2007. He was on the advisory board of Civitas, a non-profit organization developing tools for shaping children’s lives. Civitas ceased as a web resource in 2009.
Melanie Cole, M.S.
Prom Safety! PSA
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