The winds of change are blowing. Media has swept into our homes with a force like Hurricane Katrina. Our families are like a city underwater as we parents and our children are inundated with media gushing through every child’s bedroom and classroom faster than we can batten down the hatches.
My passion for helping families understand the effects of the flood of digital media on child development depends on two things: experience and sound research. Like a weather reporter eagerly watching the Doppler radar, I am reading every book and latest study on media and bringing the information to you so we parents can be prepared and best prepare our children for what’s coming at them. Then it’s no surprise that I immediately accepted the invitation to attend the 2015 “Digital Media and Developing Minds” Sackler Colloquium in California, where the top researchers, scientists, academics and medical professionals were convening to discuss child development and media.
My friend and colleague, Eason Futch, and I have just returned from the three-day conference, co-sponsored by the newly formed Children and Screens Institute of Digital Media and Child Development and the long-standing National Academy of Sciences. In attendance were nearly 200 of the most experienced and talented researchers working on determining the effects of digital media on child development. We heard from more than 50 diverse speakers, panelists and moderators.
While we were thrilled to meet many of these people whom we have grown to respect and appreciate, it was equally thrilling to sit down and have breakfast, lunch and dinner with them and get to know them. As I talked face to face with the doctors doing the research in their labs, I quickly learned that they are parents too, and their children are struggling like ours. Together, we are going to help the children.The biggest takeaway that I brought home is this: no one entity can do this alone. We need each other. The researchers need Families Managing Media to bring the information to you, and Families Managing Media needs them. We must work together for the good of our children to understand and adjust the media diet our kids consume. We need to continue our dialogue about media violence, screens and sleep, video game addiction, the diminishing art of face to face conversation, “educational” apps, sexting, screen multitasking, and so much more.
I have new wind in my sails, and a new rudder on my ship. I’m heading in the right direction on this ocean of change. You may not have been able to be at the conference with me, but I will take you there, so climb aboard and click here to join me in sunny California: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGJm1x3XQeK1rnM-5RvDOlEecwh4T4p-v