Children's Hospital Colorado

Effects of Social Media on Children and Families (S3:E24)

Is social media good or bad? How much or how little screen time should kids and adolescents have each day? What is the impact of screen time? What kind of digital footprint or reputation are parents creating for their children?

We covered these questions and more in this episode with our guests Jenny Radesky, MD, and Michael Rich, MD, who are experts on the impact of social media on children and families.

This episode was recorded live from the 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

Listen to pediatric experts discuss the effects of social media on families

Dr. Radesky is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician whose research focuses on family digital media use, children’s social and emotional development and parent-child interaction.

Dr. Rich is the Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has developed media-based research methodologies and authored numerous papers and AAP policy statements and testified to the United States Congress. He also makes regular national press appearances.

In this episode, our experts discuss:

  • Why the “good/bad” dichotomy around media is problematic
  • Our storytelling nature and the important cultural role that media plays in society
  • Thoughts on the high incidence of misinformation and fake news on the Internet
  • Technology that has a positive versus negative effects on human beings
  • Advice for approaching families who have accepted information that is not based on science
  • The need for discussions that are fact-based instead of values-based
  • Guiding parents to be more critical about the information they consume online
  • How we have distorted our concept of reality through so-called “reality” television
  • Differences between digital communication and face-to-face communication
  • The benefit of intimacy and real connection versus superficial contact
  • Creating “click bate” and how it relates to the reinforcement pathways in the brain
  • How social media satisfies many of the developmental tasks in adolescence
  • Why the term “addiction” is not accurate in the physiological context
  • Using the term “problematic interactive media use” rather than addiction
  • Understanding this environment as a moving target that keeps changing
  • Why parents’ engagement with media is equally as concerning as that of kids
  • Strategies for opening the conversation about social media with patients and parents
  • “Kidfluencers” and “sharenting” and all the dangers you need to be aware of