The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just announced new policy recommendations and resources related to children’s media use and screen time. The recommendations include the following:

  • Children younger than 18 months should not use screen media except for video-chatting. These guidelines are different from previously established guidelines recommending that children under 24 months avoid all screen media.
  • Children ages 18-24 months should only be exposed to high-quality, educational programming, such as content by Sesame Street and PBS KIDS. Media exposure for children this age should always be accompanied by an adult who can help them understand the content.
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years should be limited to an hour of screen time involving high-quality programs. Parents should also co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to their own lives.
  • Children ages 6 and older should have clear limits about both the amount of media time and the type of media content they are allowed to use.
    Families should establish “media-free” times and locations, such as during dinner, driving, and in children’s bedrooms.
  • Regardless of children’s age, families should have regular conversations about online safety and etiquette.

It comes as no surprise to me that the key ingredient to the right media diet for our kids hinges on parental involvement. A parents’ role in managing the media diets of our children has never been greater because problems can begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world. At our house, we have a pretty strict media rules. However, I need to work on ways to teach my children to use media in a more positive way.

If you have a children age zero to five years of age, you may want to check out the AAP policy statement which focuses on infants, toddlers and pre-school children called “Media and Young Minds”. If you have school aged children you can get more helpful information from the AAP policy statement “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents”.

In addition to these new media use guidelines, the AAP launched an online “Family Media Use Plan” tool that could help parents establish a healthy media diet that is appropriate to your family’s unique needs.

Good luck parents, we all need it!

via ChildrenAndMediaMan

The World’s Largest Swing

Wow! This video of four skydivers who drop from a hot air balloon on a 125-meter long swing gave me the heebie-jeebies. According to Redbull:

“You have this acceleration in another direction, unlike anything you’d experience with a normal BASE jump or skydive,” says Roithmair, who came up with the idea. “You jump, freefall, waiting for the moment when the line goes tight, then suddenly there’s this non-motorised acceleration. I can’t think of a freefall that had such different patterns of movement.” The idea behind Mega Swing was to realize that childhood dream we all have, says Lettner. “It’s the dream of everyone,” he says. “To swing higher and higher, and finally jump off and fly.”

I admit, I’ve had the dream he describes above. Have you? I think that’s why this video struck me so.

Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2015

For many, many years I have put together a list of the top ten most banned books from the previous year, during Banned Books Weak. This year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, did not report the number of challenges (not without buying their official list anyway) so I’m unsure if it has decreased or increased year-over-year. However, this year has brought along a whole new crop of books. This is the first time I recall seeing The Holy Bible being on the list. Anyway here are the top ten:


  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Click these links if you are looking for the top 10 lists for previous years with easy links to Amazon: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

Additionally, in 2010, I put together a list of the 100 Most Banned & Challenged Books Of The Decade by aggregating several lists from the American Library Association.

If You Want To Preserve Your Power Indefinitely…

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of author, philosopher, and futurist Aldous Huxley. This fascinating, short video was made using audio from an interview by Mike Wallace on May 18, 1958 combined with the animations of Patrick Smith. In the video, Huxley foretells a future when presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, drugs grab hold, technology takes over, and frightful dictatorships rule us all. On the day of this United State’s presidential debates and the eve of our election, this video seems particularly prescient. From Blank On Blank:

But what these people are doing, is to try to bypass the rational side of man and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surfaces so that you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice on rational ground.