Family Practice media recommendations

/ 11 June 2004

Here are the latest media consumption recommendations from the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians. One of the things that strikes me as remarkable about them, is that they tend to accept a fairly instrumentalist notion of media, but then in their recommendations note that the issue is not so much even the content of the media, but the practices by which media are received. For instance, they recommend “that children under the age of two years not watch television because the lower level of human interaction that results may negatively affect brain growth and development.” Note the culprit: “the lower level of human interaction.” That is only the case in homes where people have multiple tv’s and don’t interact with each other around them. However, if you watch tv together, and argue with it and around it with your kids, you’re helping them to develop critical engagement — and increasing their level of human interaction. The AAFP recommendations aren’t necessarily bad, I just wish that they were framed in such a way as to highlight the ways in which people can actively engage, negotiate, contest and play with various media.