The Family Media Plan

Good Families Make for Better Brains

  • Children’s brains are delicate environments that need to be wired carefully and kept ‘green’.
  • Media is wiring the brains of younger and younger children.
  • A good family life is key to best wiring kids’ brains, and the media plan should enhance it.
  • Family life is being weakened by media in and out of the home.


Tips for Parents

With the recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that some kids’ technology use has been increasing to nineteen hours (!) a day, it is now more important than ever that parents commit to get actively involved in this important area of kids’ lives.

Younger and younger children are now in charge of how they consume media, and they are mostly consuming junk. Excessive consumption can cause emotional difficulties, as well as result from existing ones. Children need the thoughtful, active and positive guidance of their parents in this amazing Wild-West tech environment. Merely restricting access is just not enough.

Here are tips for parents of infants through eight-year-olds worried
about their children’s current and future uses of digital technologies:

  • Take Charge – Have confidence and take charge. You can manage this important area of your kids lives. You have the home-court advantage. Many parents too readily take a back seat and let kids take the lead. In what other important area of life would they let that happen?
  • Media are Appliances – Start thinking of media as family appliances that must have positive values. Kids treat media as toys, but they are in fact adult tools with enormous power. Would you let your unsupervised young child use the telephone or oven? Only devices with proven benefits belong in children’s hands.
  • Technology is Healthy – From infancy onwards, teach kids to appreciate technology as a healthy and routine part of family life. Starting young, children will learn that using technology is collaborative and social — and not an isolating solitary activity.
  • Include the Whole Family – Create a new environment around the online family computer and other media to promote mutuality, fun, respect, and development for the entire family. Moving the home computer away from the wall and arranging seating all around it will make it a popular center for family life.
  • Make Media a Positive Learning Tool – Just as you already shop for healthy food, harvest the positive opportunities offered by media. For example, for every age group there are wonderful Internet sites that offer a world of learning entertainment experiences.
  • Create Healthy Media Plans – Like you do meal plans, tailor media use into daily menus for each child to provide Growth Opportunities. For example, regularly require enough online time on activities that enhance good values and education enrichment.