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Study Finds Teens' Late Night Media Use Comes at a Price
Date:11/1/2010

others knew, but had a fatalistic attitude.

"They [parents] thought, 'This is the world we live in, what can you do?'" said Polos. But parents need to monitor electronic media use, he said, because "at the end of the day, the parent is still the parent, the child is still the child."

Polos said doctors need to start asking children and teens routinely about night-time media use and talk to the child, along with the parents, about the negative consequences of poor sleep.

Calling America a "sleep-deprived culture," Polos noted that teens get little enough sleep "with sports, homework and getting up early for school." Late-night media use "really isn't helping," he said.

Expert Richard Gallagher said another reason parents need to monitor media use is to know what is going on in their children's lives.

"Parents need to take the perspective of what their own lives were like growing up," said Gallagher, director of the Parenting Institute at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Parents used to know who their children were talking to on the phone or hanging out with because it was all done in the real world when families typically had one or two phones, he noted.

"Parents knew if someone came to the door to see their daughter or son," said Gallagher, an associate professor of adolescent psychiatry at New York University, adding that "children should have some privacy, but parents need to make it more comparable to when they were growing up."

Parents need to set rules such as no computers in the child's bedroom, no phone calls during mealtimes, and establish a phone use curfew.

"Then have the kids turn over the phones," said Gallagher.

Gallagher also noted that the effect of media can be good for some children who have "more contact with others than they might normally have had" as a result. But parents also need to be aware that all the messages sent back and forth "aren't ne
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