Teaching children to manage media consumption in a constant state of breaking news is a challenging but necessary to-do for modern parents. Some easy steps for how to start:
- For younger children, filter media use for age appropriateness. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 5 consume no more than one hour of screen-time per day. Parents and caregivers must set a healthy example for how to manage media consumption in a way that will develop and adjust as children grow.
- For teens, discuss news and identify credible sources while differentiating facts from opinion. IE: Twitter is not a credible source of information, but established news networks are. In regard to cable news, keep in mind that much of the content is entertainment and pundit-driven to keep up with the 24-hour news-cycle demand.
- For parents, manage our own reactions pertaining to what (and who) affects us on television and social media. Media consumption, especially social media, has been scientifically found to be addictive to the brain. Consider setting and adhering to media “fasts” for the entire family, whether it be for just a few hours per day, an entire weekend or longer. Also, consider turning off news alerts on phones.
For more tips and insight on managing a family’s media diet, visit Common Sense Media.
Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor, appearing on CBS Los Angeles every Wednesday on News at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:45am. Her personal blog is TheFabMom.com. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.