As with most things; moderation and having regard to its content are key factors in protecting children from the impacts of media exposure. Mr Wayne Warburton, editor of “Growing Up Fast and Furious” and Right2Childhood seminar speaker has out lined some very helpful tips that will reduce the negative risks associated with exposing children to media.
7 tips to protect young minds from media exposure:
1. Set limits: restrict the times and hours that younger children are allowed to interact with media. This will also help as they get older as they will be used to only having limited access and will have maintained other outside interests.
2. Watch with the kids: co-viewing is important as it allows parents to keep an eye on what children are watching or listening to. It also provides the opportunity to discuss what they are seeing and encourage the children to critically view content and not accept it as the “norm” especially content which might contain violence or sexualisation.
3. Encourage good choices: helping children choose media options can ensure that they develop discretion when viewing media and it is more likely to help them opt for age appropriate and pro-social or educational content.
4. Role model your response to violence: research has shown that parents and teachers who show their disapproval of violence on television are more likely to encourage children to be less aggressive and accepting of violence than parents/teachers who do not make any comments when violence is portrayed.
5. Follow guidelines set out by the (AAP): the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 years old should not be exposed to screen media at all and those over 2 years of age should only have access to 1-2 hours a day.
6. Out of the bedroom: make sure that all types of media including televisions, game consoles, computers and access to the internet are not kept in children’s bedrooms. Put them in a common area so everyone can see what is being accessed.
7. Life away from the media: it is important for children to have other interests such as reading and sport. They should be encouraged to take up other activities and develop interests that are not dependent on media.
Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: Growing up fast and furious, editors Wayne Warburton and Danya Braunstein.