iChildren

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

Parent-Friendly Kids Music (For Free!)

This weekend I downloaded this new, and free, children’s album For Kids By Kids: Songs From Iowa Rock City from the Iowa City Public Library. The entire family enjoyed listening to it.

For Kids and By Kids mixes moods and musical styles—from roots music, for which Iowa City is known, to punk, polka, folk, hip-hop, and synth-pop. It not only crosses musical genres, but also generations … Dozens of youths appear on For Kids and By Kids, and we hope that the many more who hear this album will be inspired to pick up an instrument, form their own bands, or do something else creative.

All of the songs are original, spanning all types of genres and moods. The lyrics are not condescending, gratingly repetitive, or infantile. I’m sure we’ll be breaking this one out for listens all summer.

…And Keep Looking Up

Quite often during high school I would come home from a party or a late night hanging out with my friends and see my brother sitting in the living room with a glass of sun tea flipping through the channels. Often my brother would come home from an evening of partying or hanging out with his friends and find me with a coke watching Teletunes.

We would usually excitedly tell each other about our evenings. And inevitably we both sit down in the living room, late in the after-curfew hours, and tune into PBS waiting for the Star Gazer to come on (It was originally designed to air on PBS stations just before sign-off). We would listen intently to what the star hustler had to teach us during his five minute lesson on the heavens. Both of us would then mosey out to the backyard and look up into the stars and see if we could find whatever it was he was talking about that week.

We would sit there silent and feel small and special. These are some of the fondest teenage memories I have with my brother (and I have a ton of fond teenage memories with my brother). And although those memories will never die, the mortal symbol of those evenings, “The Star Hustler”, passed away today. I am genuinely saddened.

Colorful to the end, “Horky” offers this amusing, self-penned epitaph in his bio: “Keep Looking Up was my life’s admonition, I can do little else in my present position.” You can watch his last episode by clicking here.

Live Girl Show

Before Santa Fe had it’s recent little clean-up near the Hampden exit there was a place called the Adult Palace. The Adult Palace had been around since I was a young child. For as long as I can remember really. It was in a windowless, non-descript, squat, gray building with parking in the rear. On the front of the building was a large white sign that read in large, red, script, “ADULT PALACE – LIVE GIRL SHOW”.

photo courtesy of ewy.

Whenever the family drove past – whether it be on our way to our uncles, or perhaps to a movie at Cinderella City – somebody would make a comment about the “Live Girl” that worked their. We would all chuckle at the fact the Adult Palace bragged about the fact it contained a live girl. We were all relieved that the girl was alive, but shouldn’t she be nude, or at least topless? And why only one girl? We would all laugh a little laugh, and shake our heads. I’m sure my Father and Brother’s minds, much like mine, turned to what sort of naughtiness must be happening inside with the live girl. Mom mostly just crossed hers arms and looked straight ahead.

For years and years and years I would drive by the adult palace and say to myself, “Someday I’m just gonna pull over a see what’s going on in there”. Unfortunately I never did. And as of this summer, The Adult Palace on South Santa Fe is now gone. It’s now a Super Target. But the wonderful (and incredibly hilarious) Ewy has captured the essence of this building and its live girl, “Crystal Rayne,” in his photo essay. Go check out his blog while you’re at it.
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