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?'”

» See Full Story
Read the full article at The Boston Globe.

CMCH Director on CDC Panel

by Center on Media and Child Health | CMCH | April 27, 2006

On April 26-27, 2006, CMCH Director Dr. Michael Rich
was part of the “Centers for Disease Control Expert Panel Meeting to Address Children,
Television Viewing, and Weight Status.”

Other members of the panel included:

  • Co-chair Amy B. Jordan, Ph.D.
  • Co-chair Thomas N. Robinson, M.D., M.P.H.
  • Dimitri Christakis, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Barbara A. Dennison, M.D.
  • William H. Dietz, Ph.D., M.D.
  • Nancy A. Gelbard, M.S., RD
  • Steven L. Gortmaker, Ph.D.
  • Kristen S. Harrison, Ph.D.
  • Leonard Jason, Ph.D.
  • Donna B. Johnson, RD, Ph.D.
  • Donald F. Roberts, Ph.D.
Read the full article at CMCH.

CMCH Director Joins PBS Think Tank on Children’s Media

by Jill Corderman | PBS | April 25, 2006

The PBS KIDS Next Generation Media Advisory Board was announced today by Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, PBS KIDS Next Generation Media.
Created to help define the role public service media will play in the changing digital children’s media landscape,
the Board will provide strategic counsel regarding content creation, distribution, business development, education and community impact.

CMCH Director Dr. Michael Rich
was asked to sit on the board along with other experts “from top organizations in the country that share a commitment to children’s success and development. The full list of
board members is available here
. The first Board meeting will be held at PBS headquarters on April 26, 2006.

» See Full Story
Read the full article at PBS.

Solo Viewing, Bad Endings

by Sandra G. Boodman | The Washington Post | April 11, 2006

“The kind of television shows children watch and whom they watch them with can be just as important as the amount of time they spend in front of the tube, researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital report in a new study that finds an association
between violent shows and peer problems. Children who watch violent television programs — especially those who watch such shows alone — spend less time with friends than children who watch a lot of nonviolent programs.”

“A lot of studies about violence and television deal with behavioral outcomes that don’t resonate with people” because they occur years later, said Dr. David Bickham
, Staff Scientist at CMCH and lead author of the new study, which involved 1,356 children and appears in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. “We wanted something with a real-life outcome” that would motivate parents to consider
the potential consequences of uncensored viewing that are more immediate.”

» See Full Story
Read the full article at The Washington Post.

Media Messages Harm Child, Teen Health

by Daniel DeNoon | WebMD Medical News | April 4, 2006

In a recent study on violent television and kids’ social lives, Dr. David Bickham
, Staff Scientist at CMCH, came to two conclusions:

  • The more time kids spend watching violent TV programs, the less time they spend with their friends. This isn’t true for nonviolent programs.
  • The more time kids spend watching TV with friends, the more time they spend doing other things with their friends.

“What does it mean? Bickham thinks that TV viewing is something kids do with their friends. Violent TV programs are known to make kids more aggressive. When kids watch violent TV by themselves, their aggressive behavior
makes it harder for them to have friends. So what do they do? They watch more TV — becoming even more socially isolated, and even angrier.”

» See Full Story

Read the full article at WebMD Medical News.

Violent Video Games Often Not Properly Labeled

by Reuters | The Washington Post | April 3, 2006

This month’s issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine focuses entirely on children and media. One study found that most video games rated
“M” for mature actually contained more violent content than their packaging described. Another study in the journal focused on violence in television.

CMCH Staff Scientist Dr. David Bickham
, found that “for each hour of violent TV watched, the children spent 20 to 25 fewer minutes with their friends.”

Bickham described the phenomenon as “a downward spiral from violent television viewing to aggressive behavior to social isolation to
viewing more violent television. Exposure to violent television could, therefore, be the catalyst for a cyclical system leading toward an
aggressive, socially isolated lifestyle.”
Read the full article at The Washington Post.

TV and Video Game Violence Harms Kids

by Health Day News | Forbes | April 3, 2006

This month’s issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine is devoted to the topic of media and child health. One article, submitted by
researchers at CMCH, looked at the relationship between watching violent television and kids’ social development.

Dr. David Bickham
, Staff Scientist at CMCH, says he found that the more TV they watch, the less time they spend with their friends.

Read the full article at Forbes.

Kid Rock

by Paul Scott | The New York Times Magazine | April 2, 2006

“Few [entertainment] offerings for very young children seem to place much stock in real people singing and dancing. Not only are the Wiggles real, but they also bring to their calling a naturalness that feels increasingly uncommon in children’s entertainment, and it has paid off handsomely.

Last year the former schoolteachers and professional musicians took in $45 million from their prolific output of CD’s, DVD’s, books, TV shows, toys, clothing,
furniture and a touring schedule that has the band playing an average of two shows a day, 200 days a year.”

With the Wiggles selling out shows worldwide, what is the evidence that their entertainment value is beneficial for children?

“With the right kind of shows, used the right way, with the right age group, there is some evidence that TV can help kids learn their words and letters
and phonics,” says Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, “but this is the 3-, 4- and 5-year-old age group, and it is content-specific.”

Read the full article at The New York Times Magazine.

Views Clash at Senate Game Hearing

by Tor Thorsen | GameSpot | March 30, 2006

“Yesterday, the United States Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights
held a hearing designed to publicly discuss the issue of laws restricting game sales. The hearing saw two panels of
four testify on the impact violent video games have on children, including Dr. David Bickham
, Staff Scientist at CMCH.

“After citing several studies that linked violent media to aggressive behavior, Bickham declared, “There are reasons to believe that the influences of violent video games are stronger than those of other forms of screen violence.” He pointed out that games are interactive, reward the player for completing tasks,
and “require almost complete attention” from the player.

Bickham continued by saying that “video games are designed to be incredibly engaging and ‘fun,’ often leading children to slip deeply into a ‘flow state’ in which they may be at increased susceptibility to the messages of the game. Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that children learn what video games teach, and often that lesson is doing violence.”

» See Full Story
Read the full article at GameSpot.