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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.


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