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Friday, March 5, 2010

Mentoring the Love of a Book

Yesterday, I wrote about the upcoming 15th annual Winnetka Alliance TV TuneOut, where an entire community helps families find fun, bonding alternatives to watching media like TV, computers, video games, etc. The TuneOut book of activities is so full, the biggest problem is choosing WHICH activity to do. Here's where you can find the activities to share with your child:

What if your schedule doesn't allow enough participation in the activities of the TuneOut? How can you bond with your child while nurturing the love of learning? Find out how to pass on a positive legacy of loving books at a presentation by Dr. Beckman:

Do you need a book that's lots of fun? Dr. Seuss is always an author to tickle any child's funny bone! In honor of the TV TuneOut, I'm inviting local families to email me for a chance to win a stuffed Horton and a book, Horton Hears a Who. Here's where to sign up for a chance to win:

Other questions? you're welcome to contact Dr. Beckman at 847-446-1251

Thursday, March 4, 2010

TV TuneOut time is here: Stop your child's exposure to media violence

Fifteen years ago, the Winnetka Alliance for Early Childhood asked me to write an article about the effects of media violence on children. At the time, the message of TV violence research was loud and clear: exposure to media violence causes children to behave more aggressively, both immediately and when they are older.

Concerned parents and teachers from around the world downloaded this article, quoted it, referred me to Time Magazine (see Mother, and others. Parents of today still care about this important topic, as it is still the most popular article on my website. See

There is a recent article in Psychological Bulletin, 2010 Volume 136, Issue 2 (Mar), examining multiple studies ("meta-analyses" ) on the effects of violent video games on children. They stated,
exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.

Essentially, media violence desensitizes individuals to violence, desensitizes their ability to empathize with others, and decreases their ability to demonstrate positive social interactions.

In response to this study, media people, reported in USAToday, are already trying to argue that it is mostly the parents' fault that their children become violent.

Regardless of what the media says, there are many things that parents CAN control, can do to help their children grow up to be responsible community members. Parents CAN limit the effects of media violence on their children: Limit their exposure by turning off the TV and computer, and do alternate activities with your child. Read to them. Cook with them. There's a multitude of activities to do with them. Take back your family!

Once a year, an entire community stages a series of events to help families in their quest to reduce screen time. Sunday kicks off Winnetka's Fifteenth Annual TV TuneOut. For more information, please visit It's great fun, and a great way to banish the last vestiges of winter.

If you have questions about how your child is developing, please visit my website: or contact me at