Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids     Teen Health    

Yes, you can raise healthy, smart, kind kids in a screen-saturated world

"The Mediatrician" helps guide parents on Safer Internet Day

Raising healthy and happy kids in a media saturated world

Raising children in a screen-saturated world elicits fear, hope, and questions from parents, educators, and healthcare providers. The best thing to happen this year on “Safer Internet Day,” is the launch of The Mediatrician's Guide, developed to deliver those critical answers. 

Dr. Michael Rich, known as “the Mediatrician,” has dedicated more than 30 years to researching the effects of screens and media on children and adolescents. As the founder of the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and a father of four, Dr. Rich, an Associate Professor at Harvard, has provided care for young people struggling with media-related physical and mental health challenges. He understands the stress, confusion, and joy parents feel about raising their kids in the digital age. 

This year, Safer Internet Day takes on heightened importance. Last week's Congressional testimony by Social Media CEOs highlighted the very real concerns surrounding young people navigating the online world -- an issue that continues to resonate with parents and educators.

"Because children move seamlessly between the physical and the digital, we must parent them in digital space as proactively, respectfully, and compassionately as we do in 'real life', explains Dr. Rich, "We must recognize that digital devices, platforms, and applications are powerful tools and mentor children to handle them effectively, responsibly, and with respect for themselves and others. If you wouldn’t let a toddler cross a street without holding their hand, don’t let young children use digital devices unaccompanied." 

“At every stage of your child's development, they require your guidance, delivered with respect and without judgment,” said Dr. Rich. “Like many parents, I simultaneously love and worry about media, for my children and myself. This book is an invitation to join me in building foundational knowledge, and I hope that it helps you and the children for whom you care to enjoy media and use them wisely.” 

In The Mediatrician’s Guide: A Joyful Approach to Raising Healthy, Smart, Kind Kids in a Screen-Saturated World, Dr. Rich offers clinically tested, practical strategies for parents looking for answers on how children’s screen media use can affect their physical, mental, and social health. With remarkable optimism and understanding, he reassures parents that they can successfully guide their kids through each developmental stage from newborn to teen and young adult. 

A filmmaker for 12 years before becoming a doctor, Dr. Rich offers a unique understanding of media and medical expertise to give readers solid, evidence-based guidance on the impact between a growing child and the ever-evolving digital ecosystem. 

“Parents need accessible explanations of the science around screens and practical tips showing how children’s media use can affect their health and development,” said Rich, “I hope this Guide will give them confidence on how to navigate benefits and challenges for every age.” The Mediatrician’s Guide is divided into four areas, guiding readers on understanding the impact of media, addressing specific health issues, fostering healthy digital engagement in children, and providing tactical advice tailored to each child’s stage of development.
  1. What?: Details the effects, both positive and negative, of media exposure on a child’s health and well-being during various stages of growth.

  2. So What?: Discusses specific health problems, including anxiety and depression, distorted body image, aggression, violence, alcohol, and other substance use, as well as positive examples of kids using media for good.

  3. Now What?: Examines the context—when, where, and with whom—in which kids use media and how that context is as important as the content of the media they consume.

  4. Ages and Stages: A Digital Wellness Primer: Offers specific, actionable strategies and tips organized by children’s developmental stages.

Other articles by HVP News Reporters

  • Guilt-free, superfruit snacking

    Sweet treats made to permissibly indulge

    For many, enjoying a small indulgence can serve as a reward for a job well done or a mood-boosting pick-me-up. In fact, mindful snacking is on-trend for a majority of consumers. read more »
  • Getting healthier starts wth your feet

    Start your wellness goals from the ground up

    Good foot and ankle health is critical for good overall health, so no matter what your wellness goals are, be sure to start from the ground up. read more »
  • Dangerous heart conditions often go undetected in pregnant and postpartum women

    A torn ACL revealed an undiagnosed heart defect

    National Jewish Health experts advocate for screenings to detect heart conditions that may develop in otherwise healthy women read more »
  • Bald Eagle viewing in winter

    Watching them can offer an exhilarating and memorable experience

    Winter is a great time to view bald eagles in New York State. Viewing from a safe distance and at established observation sites can offer an exhilarating and memorable experience. read more »
  • Looking for a new career?

    Become a financial planner

    Becoming a financial planner offers both financial rewards and the chance to help others. Whether you’re a recent graduate exploring your career path or a mid-career professional seeking change, this growing profession may be the right fit for you. read more »
  • How to prep the night before the SAT or ACT exam

    Calm your nerves and enter the testing site with confidence

    Taking the SAT or ACT exam is the culmination of months of test-specific preparation, and in truth, years of schooling. While knowing that can feel like a lot of pressure, there are steps you can take the night before the exam to calm your nerves and enter the testing site with confidence: read more »
  • 7 Valentine's Day date ideas to break from the norm

    Think outside the box this year

    If you’re feeling pressure to plan the perfect Valentine’s Day date, it may be time to veer away from tradition. While flowers, chocolates and dinner for two is a classic, thinking outside the box can make for just as romantic of an experience. read more »
  • Helping infants, toddlers and families thrive

    The child tax credit is a critical policy vehicle

    A bipartisan package that recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, would expand the child tax credit (CTC). As the Senate decides whether to follow suit, advocates press that the CTC is a critical policy vehicle to help all infants, toddlers and their families thrive, and it should be implemented as soon as possible. read more »
  • What to look for when you need a law firm

    Savvy advice from Best Lawyers

    Let’s face it, no person or business gets a thrill out of hiring a law firm. Fortunately, peer-reviewed rankings have simplified the process. read more »
  • How to be a philanthropist when money is tight

    There are lots of easy ways to give

    While contributing to a worthwhile cause is a common aspiration, actually doing so right now may feel unrealistic if you’re struggling with your own finances. read more »