Parents’ media use, parenting guilt, and our resistance to making needed changes

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As a parent and researcher, I’m concerned about the amount of time kids spend with screens. To understand why kids use screen media so much, we must first look to the people who have the most influence in the lives of kids–their parents.

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New research sheds light on why exposure to violent media can lead to aggressive behavior

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The road leading to my house is full of potholes. Deep potholes. The kind that break cars. Sure enough, after months of driving through this maze of potholes, my muffler fell off as I pulled into the driveway a few weeks ago. And just like that, 60 more bucks went to another mechanic. Have you ever noticed that we don’t really care how a car works until it’s broken? We’re usually content knowing that it gets us from here to there, without a second thought as to how it works. But when something goes wrong, wouldn’t it be nice to understand how it works so that we could fix the problem ourselves?

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How to set rules about children’s media use

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Since my last post, some parents have asked me if I think parents should set any rules about media use, since talking with kids seems to be the way to empower and protect them against undesirable media content. My answer is yes, rules are good, but alone they aren’t enough.

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The only way to protect our kids today is to empower them

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Because media today is inescapable, a fundamental change is needed in our approach to “protecting” our children. No parent—no matter how conscientious and protective they may be—can prevent their child from being affected by the media in some way. There is too much information, and too many ways to access it. This may seem depressing, until we change our view of what it means to “protect” our kids.

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