Global Citizen Project

Who/ What/ Why?

Kendra Gill, Emmitt Lewis, Eric Sinks, and Ethan Fogle. This project called for four pretend Common Sense Media researchers to look into the effects of digital media use and eventually come to make a policy recommendation for users and future users to come.

Overview of problem

Although digital media use has improved may aspects of citizen’s lives, too much of one thing is never good and digital media should be included in that statement. Over using digital media technology impacts the social relationships we have with our family and friends once we start prioritizing screen-time over face-to-face interaction. As children are growing up in this electronic age, where this media is almost everywhere they look, and this is impacting their development and overall life outcomes.

 

Policy recommendation

More knowledge should be put into people’s ear and flashed before their eyes about the harm that too much can do, but also how to make this advanced technology a tool for everyday life and not just an outlet when you’re bored or upset. For the ones that already have digital media flooding their lives, it is up to you to show the next generation how to effectively and beneficially use the digital media that we have been given. If taught to use technology and digital media as a tool for learning and furthering one’s goals, they will continue to grow and use these electronics for the better and not just for entertainment value.  

 

A PSA campaign about the effects, both positive and negative, of digital media use should be put into the radio wave, on television screens, and everywhere online. Our hope is that a PSA campaign will get the information out there to people that digital media should be used as a tool rather than mindless consumption. And that too much digital media consumption has serious effects on friends, families, children, and communities. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put out a Media Use Plan along with the, “Media and Young Minds” policy statement and the, “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents” secondary policy statement that address the use of digital media and calls for action from pediatricians, families and government organizations. Reinforcing this information from the policy statements above and giving it to the public through a PSA will hit home that this is a real issue in today’s society that can be improved.

 

Policy Analysis

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put out one of the first aids in helping families get on the right track with their media use. www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan was launched in October of 2016 and is a tool for parents to monitor what their children are doing throughout the day and how much time is spent in front of a screen. This is not only a tool for the children, but also the parents because after all these children are learning from how their parents are using these digital technologies.

 

Along with this Media Use Plan came the, “Media and Young Minds,” policy statement. Led by Jenny Radesky, MD, who has made a life commitment to researching learning and advocacy for children, the council on communication and media really focuses on the parent being the “media mentor.” Rather than just giving children a device, sit with them and teach them how to use it in a constructive way that will benefit them and not just simply entertain all the time. Radesky appeared on the AAP Media Panel Discussion on Children and Media in 2016 and said that, “Literature continues to show that too much media in early childhood is associated with behavioral, developmental, sleep and obesity outcomes that can be prevented.” Although there are many different factors that come into play when talking about children’s developmental outcomes there should always be time in their day to let their own creativity and brain activity take the lead. Introducing media at a young age, even as young as 18 months, will allow children to grow up with accurate demonstrations of digital media literacy and will provide them with the right knowledge to continue to use these medias in a positive way. This policy calls out pediatricians to start the conversation early with the parents of their families. It also calls on these families to avoid media use with children that are younger than 18 months, and to limit and monitor technology time throughout the day for ones that are over a year. Finally, it gives some responsibility to the industry to make sure that the products they are creating are age-appropriate and that they are formally and scientifically evaluated before being deemed educational.

When age starts increasing and adolescents start to make their own decisions about the consumption of digital media, recommendations change understandably. Media use is highly personalized and interwoven into the lives of these children today and so too should the guidelines for digital media use. Megan Moreno, MD, who also appeared on the AAP Media Panel Discussion on Children and Media was the lead author of the second policy statement issued by the AAP. “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents,” focuses on children and teenagers from the age of 5-18. This policy statement is build off of the past ten years of evidence that show digital media negatively affecting sleep, obesity along with school and academic outcomes. These recommendations again call on the pediatricians to promote the understanding of the benefits and the risks of digital media use. They touch on the family’s role to continue to monitor screen time using the family Media Use Plan while engaging in co-viewing media with the child. Lastly, it calls on the researchers, governmental organizations and the industry to continue with their research while prioritizing longitudinal and robust study designs and interventions including the reduction of harmful media use and preventing/addressing harmful media experiences for these children and teenagers.

 

Conclusion

Digital media can be used as a tool with developing children, making new friendships and building communities. But there is a point where too much is not a good thing. Prioritizing screen time over face-to-face interaction causes more problems in the long run with mental and physical health. The use of technology will benefit more than hurt our world once the generations come to learn that it is a tool for learning and interacting, rather than for entertainment value and a boredom cure. Also bringing people’s attention to the fact that more research and information needs to be conducted about the effects of digital media. A PSA being put onto the radio waves, with the hopes for an appearance on television, that explains the need for people to understand these effects, would be the best way to reach the most people for the best price.       

Comments from the authors

Kendra Gill- “I learned from my research that although there are a lot of positive effects from digital media use in children, they don’t learn just from placing it into their hands and too much is when those positives begin to change into negatives. Overall, children are going to learn from the way their parents interact with any device or media platform more than they are going to learn from just messing around with it. Demonstrative learning and allowing time during the day for their brains to explore creatively on their own is also much better than any electronic device or digital media exposure.”    

Ethan Fogle-  In doing research for this topic I discovered that this topic was very relatable to me. Maybe not on an extreme level but relating as to why I went to video games. I personally am able to validate certain talks of addiction and Substitution theory in my own life. In doing research it has made me look at the way I play video games and perhaps change my habits. If nothing else I will be able to tell others that I game with of my research.

Emmitt Lewis- “From doing this project I learned that,like with all things in life, digital media in moderation is fine. When used too much, digital media can start changing family dynamics for the worse. The struggle between the parent and child can start to become too overwhelming and can potentially cause a rift in the family. When used in moderation technology can be used as another way for families to spend time together and interact with one another. These interactions can strengthen relationships within the family unit.”

Eric Sinks- After researching the nuances of virtual communities, I saw a larger part of the negative side of communities.  As someone who considers themselves part of one, it’s easy to tell others about how great it is and only mention the positives.  I think you need to ignore negativity a lot, but also look at the negativity critically, and see where it’s rooted in.  Sometimes the negativity is just random piling on or trolls being trolls, but in other cases in can reveal a much larger issue.

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