Amy Jordan, Ph.D., head of APPC’s Media and the Developing Child program, Ed Donnerstein, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona, and lead author Victor Strasburger, M.D., of the University of New Mexico, were published today in Pediatrics online. The paper, “Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents,” will appear in hardcopy in April.
Youth spend an average of >7 hours/day using media, and the vast majority of them have access to a bedroom television, computer, the Internet, a video-game console, and a cell phone. In this article we review the most recent research on the effects of media on the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Studies have shown that media can provide information about safe health practices and can foster social connectedness. However, recent evidence raises concerns about media’s effects on aggression, sexual behavior, substance use, disordered eating, and academic difficulties. We provide recommendations for parents, practitioners, the media, and policy makers, among others, for ways to increase the benefits and reduce the harm that media can have for the developing child and for adolescents.