Dr. Michael Rich at CCFC’s Consuming Kids Summit: A Liveblog

Michael Rich (Ask the Mediatrician) is at the podium at The Center for Commercial-Free Childhood’s summit this morning. Here are my notes:

•as of 2010, 75 percent of kids age 0-1 in the U.S. watch DVDs
•CCFC was able to prove that what babies learn from television…is how to watch television
•What does the growing infant brain need? Not neurons, synapses…

Pardon my newbieness at the liveblog medium, but sticking to Twitter’s 140 characters just got a little too frustrating this morning. These bullets will be fairly selective excerpts from Rich’s presentation. Rich shows small children fighting each other after watching Power Rangers.

•Violence in media is one of the best researched area in effects of screen time on children’s mental health.

•About 1,000 good papers show, consistently, one or more of 3 outcomes:

-increase in fear and anxiety in younger children (inflates presence of violence from real situation).

-desensitizes all of us. The more we see it, the more we adapt.

-in some children, there are increased aggressive thoughts and behaviors

•For bullying to occur, you need a bully, a victim and bystanders. These three parties correspond to the three effects above.

Rich: All Media are educational………whether about Big Macs, Killing, or How to Read.

National data from 2010 shows average time use of 8-18 year olds. The average is 7 hours and 38 minutes every day, does not incl 33 min of talking and 1 min and 35 secs of texting (this was 2010).

But because of multitasking, there is 10 hours and 45 minutes average exposure to media content.

•There is a dose-response relationship between media time and obesity.

•Manchester Public Schools (NH) Media Study is analagous to the Framingham Heart Study

In the May issue of Pediatrics will have the paper that shows that attention to commercial television is the strongest predictor of increased obesity in individuals. No relationship beween computer, video game, or cell phone use and obesity.

Does media use influence risk for early alcohol use? There is positive dose-response rel between media multitasking and early alcohol use.

Of Crows and Kids

“Children are beautifully adapted to learn about many possible worlds.”
from The Wisdom of Not Being Too Rational – ScienceNOW.

A psychologist at the University of Cambridge who studies bird cognition has looked at how crows solve problems, the latest in research showing they are rather intelligent. Two of her graduate students, Lucy Cheke and Elsa Loissel, have replicated three of these experiments with children. Yes, the crows and the children are comparable on two of the puzzles. Children and crows are tied.

On the final puzzle, the crows met their match. The puzzle was designed to mimic a physically impossible task. Children weren’t stymied; crows were. Children 1, Crows 0 on this one.

Imagination is the leavening. Too bad so many adult humans meet a roadblock when it comes to understanding children’s imaginations, populating them with airbrushed princesses, frontier-cowboy heroes, and cartoon versions of birds and all the rest of the natural world.

Postscript: I’ll be getting myself to the Museum of Modern Art’s montage of how we’ve viewed childhood from afar. You?