The voice of reason, in comments on this report just released, comes from a father of three boys in Ashland, Pa.: “There has to be a balance,” says Paul Caputo. I could not agree more! While Vicky Rideout of Kaiser Foundation says that media use is “not inherently bad or good” it is clear that there is such a thing as too much. Chandler DeWitt, profiled in the USA Today article (Jan.20,2010) by Greg Toppo, said, “With technology, if you are trying to get a response from someone, there are so many ways you can get rejected…more opportunities to get bad news.”
According to the survey, the more media young people use, the less happy then tend to be. The question Toppo asks – but finds no answers to in the report – is “Does consuming a lot of media makes children’s lives more troubled, or do troubled kids simply consume more media?”
Bottom line: as parents we need to pay attention, talk with our children and listen to them more. It helps, also, for parents to talk with each other. Let’s do more of that, as it helps us figure out if our concerns about our kids’ media use, their friendships online and in real time, their studies and their lives are well-founded or not.