So Much Media, So Little Attention Span

by Marilyn Elias | USA Today | March 30, 2005

As U.S. children are exposed to 8½ hours of TV, video games, computers and other media a day — often at once — are they losing the ability to concentrate? Dr. Michael Rich, Director of CMCH, weighs in on the discussion.
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Video Game Testimony

by Governor Rod Blagojevich | Illinois Governor's Office | March 9, 2005

Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health, testifies in support of Governor’s plan to restrict the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors.
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The Asthma Trap

by Sara Corbett | Mother Jones | March 1, 2005

“All it takes to control asthma is the right medication, clean air, and a reasonably stress-free life. But for millions of children caught up in the epidemic, none of those things are anywhere within reach.”

After analyzing 489 hours of video diaries of asthma patients through Video Intervention/Prevention Assessment (VIA), Dr. Michael Rich, Director of CMCH, says “It’s not just about medicating a pair of lungs — it’s about respecting your patients’ lives and getting them to believe that they can take care of themselves.”

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» Go to VIA website

Babies and TV

by Reshma Memon Yaqub | Parents Magazine | March 1, 2005

“Increasingly, babies and toddlers are logging more and more time in front of the screen, watching an array of programs and videos created just for them. Officially, the American
Academy of Pediatrics advises against any screen time at all for kids under 2. But a recent study by the organization revealed that the typical 1-year old watches an average of
2.2 hours of television a day.”

“How are all these electronic media affecting babies and toddlers? At this point, there’s little research – and no firm consensus.”

Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, says “We don’t have any scientific proof that watching educational media improves babies’ knowledge or abilities. Broadcasters are convinving parents
that if their children aren’t watching these programs, they’re somehow missing out. But that just isn’t the case.”

What Are Video Games Turning Us Into?

by Tracy Mayor | Boston Globe Magazine | February 20, 2005

One of the more worrisome effects of video games is desensitization. Seeing violence repeated over and over can make kids more willing to
choose and tolerate violence.

“As a society, we can inoculate against aggression, but we don’t have the same set of social checks and balances
against desensitization”, says Dr. John Murray
, a visiting scholar at CMCH.

“Murray uses MRI technology to map the brains of children as they experience violent media images. He found that though
children consciously know they’re being entertained, their brains store those violent images in the area reserved
for significant events, the same place where events that can trigger post-traumatic stress disorders are stored.”

“This begins to explain why kids who watch a
lot of violent images are more likely to lash out in a confrontational situation,” Murray says.

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Young Ears Can Be Tainted By Rap Music

by Wendi C. Thomas | Greater Memphis Commercial Appeal | February 15, 2005

Most adults who have listened to rap lyrics would probably agree that a heavy diet of sexually explicit and violent rap music is bad for kids. If you don’t agree that these songs are bad for their minds, you may want to know that there are health
consequences as well.

“What we’re seeing is that girls who watch more rap music videos have more STDs and have more sexual partners
compared to girls who have little exposure to those videos,” says Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, citing an Emory University study. “Does that mean the rap videos did it to them?” Rich asks. “No. But it does mean they’re associated, much like lead exposure in children is linked to lower IQs.”

“We have to deal with music the same way we deal with automobiles or tobacco. There are risks associated with using these products. We’re not saying they have to be taken off the market. We’re saying there are health implications,” Dr. Rich says.

Techie Tots: Interactive vs. Interaction

by Stephanie Dunnewind | Seattle Times | December 11, 2004

With an onslaught of preschool video games on the market, parents and researchers wonder whether they’re the best way for children to be spending their time.

Dr. Michael Rich
, Director of CMCH, says “The question parents need to ask is not ‘Is this more educational than Mickey Mouse?’ but ‘Is this more educational than other activities?’”

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