MediaSmarts Blog

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What do teens really think about screen time?

Screen time is a common topic for parents to try and manage today. Are we allowing too much? How do we make it safe? We will ask our friends and fellow parents for their thoughts or advice or learn tips from resources (like MediaSmarts!) to help us navigate this new aspect of parenting. When I was my kids’ age, we were just loading Netscape 2.0 onto our computers, and we’d check our ICQ messages before putting in a VHS to watch a movie or playing some Super Mario RPG.  The online world is so different now.

The summer screen plan

Recently in my Facebook memories, a photo from years ago appeared. In the caption, I had written about how I was telling the kids they couldn’t spend their summer on their screens and that in reply, my eldest, likely about 10 years old at the time, pulled out his recorder from school to give an impromptu concert. The photo I shared was a picture of him playing it. I suspect, based on my post, that I not only appreciated his reply to my statement (as sarcastic as it may have been), but that they did, in fact, end up with plenty of screen time.  

Will social media affect teens’ job prospects?

I have teens, but up until recently they didn’t have social media accounts (although, I suppose Discord may count as one). 

They hadn’t had much interest in the past, other than a few requests for Snapchat and Instagram that came and went almost as quickly as they were mentioned. But recently, my eldest asked again about Instagram and through conversations together it seemed like the logical time to get one.  

Science evolves! And so does (and should) health policy and the scientific consensus

Studies have shown that communicating the scientific consensus on a topic can be a helpful strategy in the fight against misinformation. For example, a 2015 study found that “emphasizing the medical consensus about (childhood) vaccine safety is likely to be an effective pro-vaccine message.”

Start media education early with TVOkids Original Wacky Media Songs

Parents could be forgiven for thinking that our children are born media literate. Kids take to digital devices like the proverbial ducks to water, quickly becoming expert at finding the videos and games they want, and it’s a rare baby shower that doesn’t feature Elsa or Elmo in one form or another.

Introducing #ForYou: A Game About Algorithms

Not many words have had a rise as meteoric as the term “algorithm.” Once only familiar to mathematicians or computer scientists, today algorithms are the subject of warnings from scholars and activists, protested by students whose future lives and careers are increasingly determined by algorithmic decision-making, personified and catered to by would-be YouTube stars, and seen as the almost magical element that is vital to the success of newer platforms such as TikTok.