Child Health in the Information Age: Media Education of Pediatricians

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 02/2001; 107(1):156-62. DOI: 10.1542/peds.107.1.156
Source: PubMed


Substantial research has associated exposure to entertainment media with increased levels of interpersonal violence, risky sexual behavior, body image distortion, substance abuse, and obesity. The objective of this study was to determine what pediatric residency programs are teaching trainees about media and the influence of media on the physical and mental health of children and adolescents.
Survey of residency curricula, consisting of 17 items about children's exposure to media, including television, movies, popular music, computer/video games and the Internet, the effects of this exposure on specific health risks, and associations between program characteristics and media education in the residency curriculum. Participants. Directors of the 209 accredited pediatric residency programs in the United States.
Two hundred four programs (97.6%) responded. Fifty-eight programs (28.4%) offered formal education on 1 or more types of media; 60 programs (29.4%) discussed the influences of media when teaching about specific health conditions. Residents in 96 programs (47.1%) were encouraged to discuss media use with patients and parents; 13 programs (6.4%) taught media literacy as an intervention. Among program characteristics, only media training received by program directors was significantly associated with inclusion of media in residency curricula.
Despite increasing awareness of media influence on child health, less than one-third of US pediatric residency programs teach about media exposure. Developing a pediatric media curriculum and training pediatric residency directors or designated faculty may be a resource-effective means of improving health for children growing up in a media-saturated environment.

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    • "Understanding the cultural milieu of today's teenagers is absolutely crucial to being able to care for them adequately. A recent study of the 209 accredited pediatric residency training programs in the United States found that less than one third offer formal training about media influences [61]. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, the American Medical Association, and other health care organizations need to devote more of their continuing medical education time to issues that involve media influence because the media have such a major impact on so many contemporary health issues. "
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    ABSTRACT: The media arguably have become the leading sex educator for American children and adolescents. More than 80% of the top teen shows contain sexual content, and the average teen views nearly 14,000 sexual references on television alone. The gap between suggestive and responsible content on primetime television is narrowing, but only slowly. Parents and teachers need to recognize the power of the media to educate and begin incorporating principles of media literacy into existing sex education programs.
    Adolescent Medicine Clinics 07/2005; 16(2):269-88, vii. DOI:10.1016/j.admecli.2005.02.009
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