Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

AAP Conference Preview: Experts on media and children featured at Peds 21 program :

October 7, 2016

Editor’s note: For more on educational sessions and events at the 2016 AAP National Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco, read the preview issue of AAP News Today. To register for the conference, visit

Tablets and smartphones and consoles, oh my.

For many of today’s youths, these devices are another appendage. You can’t go to a restaurant or get on a bus without seeing kids staring at their phones or tapping them frenetically. Others are holed up in their rooms, headsets on, playing videogames for hours on end.

How can pediatricians advise parents on electronic media use by children and adolescents when technology is constantly evolving? And how can they fit a discussion about media use into an already jam-packed health maintenance visit?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed during the Pediatrics for the 21st Century (Peds 21) program “The Medium Is the Message: How Electronic Media Are Transforming Our Patients’ World (C0017).” The program will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 21 prior to the AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

“Electronic media touch many of the pediatric health and development outcomes we care about the most: healthy weight, school readiness and performance, alcohol/tobacco/drug abuse, sleep, violence, body image, violence/aggression, psychological health and sexual safety,” said David Hill, M.D., FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on Communications and Media Executive Committee. “Addressing electronic media use in the family gives pediatricians a quick intervention with wide-ranging benefits.”

Although media questions are included in the Bright Futures guidelines, data suggest half of pediatricians don’t address media use with their patients, Dr. Hill said.

“I struggle every day with the need to address way too many topics in far too little time,” he said, “but I also know how effective media questions can be as a gateway to all of those other subjects.”
Peds 21 attendees will hear from experts in the field about the role of media in child health across the lifespan, including research on how media use affects brain development, teens’ behavior and sleep, and children’s weight.

“As a practicing pediatrician, I’m most interested in findings that I can use to improve my patients’ lives,” Dr. Hill said. “So, for example, studies demonstrating that decreasing television viewing can improve body mass index in obese boys or that replacing fast-paced cartoons with more sedate viewing can improve behavior in preschoolers interest me greatly.”

The Peds 21 program, sponsored by the Council on Communications and Media, will feature the following presentations:

  • Keynote address: “Health Impacts of Media on Children” by Michael Rich, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP;
  • “Screens and the Developing Brain” by Dimitri Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP;
  • “Chalkboards and Books? What Are Those?” by David Tayloe Jr., M.D., FAAP;
  • “A Weighty Matter” by Stephen Pont, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP;
  • “I’ll Sleep When My Battery Dies” by Sugay Kansagra, M.D.;
  • “First Person Shooter – Video Game Virtual Violence” by Col. Jeffrey Hutchinson, M.D., FAAP; and
  • “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll,” by Megan Moreno, M.D., M.S.Ed., M.P.H., FAAP.

There also will be two question-and-answer segments.  

Ironically, Dr. Hill wasn’t always onboard with the AAP media use guidelines. In 2007, he wrote a commentary for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on how difficult it was as a parent to follow the Academy’s guidelines.

“Four years later, I found myself on the executive committee charged with establishing those guidelines, which I consider a form of karma,” he said.

Peds 21 attendees can earn 10 points of American Board of Pediatrics Maintenance of Certification Part 2 credit by completing a self-assessment after the program.

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal