Internet Safety

by Kathleen Dunn | National Public Radio - Wisconsin | May 22, 2006

Kathleen Dunn of Wisconcsin Public Radio spoke with Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, about children’s internet access and internet safety.

Kathleen Dunn: “Tell me more about this”

Dr. Rich: “The vast majority of teens use it like a yearbook page, from posting poetry they’ve written to posting pictures of their pets and their friends.”

“Children are very sophisticated electronically, in most cases, more sophisticated than their parents. They are reaching
out for someone who understands them, and that’s what the explosive growth of MySpace indicates.”

Below, you can download the audio file of this segment on internet safety. Dr. Rich joins the conversation at minute 26:25 of this segment.

» Download Real Player Audio File

The News for Multimedia Babies is Good, and Bad

by Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press | USA Today | May 16, 2006

“They’re bombarded with electronics starting in infancy, from the new Sesame Street for
six-month-olds to game-playing laptops for toddlers. But when does being a multimedia youngster help — and when does it hurt — children’s malleable brains?”

This week, the National Institutes of Health gathered experts together to discuss what research is most needed, and what guidelines should be established for parenting in the media age. Two CMCH scientists were invited to speak on
these issues: Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, and Dr. David Bickham
, Staff Scientist.

Dr. Bickham pointed out, “Parents in general don’t view electronic media as bad. In fact, they often ask if their babies will miss out if
they don’t sit them in front of the computer early.”

» See Full Story

The Littlest Viewers

by Peggy O'Crawley | The New Jersey Star-Ledger | May 15, 2006

“A rainbow-hued pony gallops onto the television screen, turning black-and-white images into colorful ducks and donkeys.
Two cute squirrels play ‘Hot and Cold’ as they search for acorns. A sculptor’s hand turns sand into shapes as soothing classical
music plays in the background.

Are these images designed to help babies and toddlers learn colors and abstract concepts, and relax them at bedtime? Or are they interfering with babies’ interactions with real people and places?

Director of CMCH, Dr. Michael Rich
, said he was concerned parents believe the programs boost brain development, one of the main selling points of the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby videos that are aimed at the same young viewers…

‘The human brain triples in volume in the first two years of life. It develops in the context of the environment it functions in,’” Rich stated.

Doctors Riled by Launch of TV channel for Babies

by CBC Arts | Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | May 12, 2006

“The first TV channel designed for babies debuted in the United States on Thursday, immediately
drawing criticism from pediatricians who say young children shouldn’t be watching TV at all.

Director of CMCH, Dr. Michael Rich
, who studies the impact of the media on children’s health, says it ‘defies reason’ to suggest that television could help parents and babies interact.

‘Television primarily is a medium that demands attention to the TV, not to other people in the room,’ he said in an interview with CBC Television.

Babies’ brains cannot decode the two-dimensional image on a television screen,
Rich said. Their brains are developing and they need a different kind of stimulation to help them grow, he added.

‘They need interaction with other human beings and to manipulate their environment. They need to pick up the block or try to get the Cheerios into their mouths,’ he said.

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Round-the-Clock Baby TV Channel to Debut

by David Crary, Associated Press | The Boston Globe | May 11, 2006

“Escalating an already heated national debate, a first-of-its-kind TV channel premieres Thursday designed specifically for babies — an age group that the American
Academy of Pediatrics says should be kept away from television altogether.”

Pediatrician and Director of CMCH, Dr. Michael Rich
, believes that parents will use the TV as a virtual nanny.

“Rich said the companies are basically letting parents off the hook from their
guilt by saying, ‘This is educational,’ so parents can justify it to themselves.”

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More Evidence on Sex, Violence, Media, and Children

by Michele Stockwell | Progressive Policy Institute | May 5, 2006

“Two new scientific reports…show that when
it comes to children’s healthy development, the nature of entertainment media is just as important as the amount of it children consume.

[One] study, conducted by the Center on Media and Child Health…found that children’s viewing of violent television
programming is associated with peer isolation. Researchers found that children who watched violent content spent less
time with friends than children who watched non-violent programs. They also concluded there may be a reverse
correlation whereby lonely children watch more television.

In reality, a cycle is likely taking place,
according to Dr. David Bickham
and Dr. Michael Rich
, the report’s authors. They observe, ‘violent television [is] making children more aggressive and more socially isolated.
These children then in turn are attracted to more violent media, partially to fill their time.’”

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Claim Filed Against Baby Einstein

by Barbara Meltz | The Boston Globe | May 2, 2006

“A Boston-based child advocacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission yesterday charging the makers of the popular Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby videos with false and deceptive advertising. The complaint says there is no evidence
the programs are educational, despite the claims on their packaging and websites.”

‘It’s unlikely there will ever be definitive research,’ said pediatrician Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH.

‘It’s unethical,’ he said. ‘What parent would willingly want their child to be part of the experimental group?’”

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