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Simple Steps to Protect Kids Against Media Influence

Children and adolescents spend, on average, more than seven hours a day with media, including television, the Internet, social media, texting, movies, music and video games.

Research has shown that children and teenagers are inundated with examples of risky behavior in the media, which can lead to the increased likelihood of early sexual activity, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, and aggression. In addition, too much media can contribute to obesity and poor school performance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics makes the following recommendations to protect children and teenagers from these risky behaviors and negative health consequences:

Reduce unsupervised media use by prohibiting televisions and Internet access in children’s and teens’ bedrooms.

Restrict access to television programming with excessive substance abuse and other inappropriate content.

Limit younger children’s exposure to PG-13 and R-rated movies.

Watch media with your children and adolescents and discuss the content.

Encourage non-media activities, and limit media time to two hours per day.

Be a good media role model.

More Resources on Kids & Media:

Media guidelines and safety tips from Child Development Institute

Internet Safety Guide for Parents

Media Matter from the American Academy of Pediatrics