Wednesday, October 11, 2017

National Parenting News and Advice Awareness Day

Children and parents do not get enough prime, serious media coverage. Not enough front page, homepage, top-of-the-news-hour this-is-really-important-business spotlight. Not unless there’s been some major, rather groundbreaking developments (e.g., reversals in peanut allergy prevention policy) or for instance, a large international study gets published with easily translatable, media-friendly, headline-ready  results. As happened yesterday - just in time for World Obesity Day, today, October 11th - when a study of worldwide childhood obesity was published and then attracted major media attention.

Shocking figures show there are now 124 million obese children worldwide The Guardian

Ten times more children and teens obese today than 40 years ago CNN

Childhood Obesity Increased Worldwide More Than 10-Fold Since 1975 Forbes

Child and teen obesity spreading across the globe BBC News

Childhood Obesity Has Risen 10 Times Worldwide Time
[10 times? no, 10-fold! worst headline here]

 Today I’m reminded that it’s only when the data are this dire if not “shocking” as the often sober Guardian reported, that children’s health garners the top page, front page spot. Politics, world affairs, the economy, politics, the environment, politics, sports, adult health, natural disasters, tech news, etc….these stories routinely appear and merit serious coverage on the home pages of major media organizations. Ones involving children's health or parenting, garner less prime coverage, and as has been well-documented here, not nearly enough nuance, context and accuracy.  

[That said, there’s a good long article on rising teen anxiety featured online at the New York Times today. It’s at the bottom of the homepage, in the Health section. A mix of anecdotes, evidence and experts. It’s published today online ahead of its publication in this weekend’s NY Times Magazine. We have to wait to see if it is the cover story].

The time has come for the parenting media to have its own day of recognition. So I’m introducing a day, if not week or month, for the media to take parenting seriously, and for parents, conversely, to consider their own media behavior and biases.

How's that? I’m taking suggestions and comments for the tag line, branding, social media campaign, and also dates for when it should occur. Maybe the fall for back–to-school? Let me know. I am not joking (this time). 

The next time you are at your favorite news site, do a quick visual scan of all the articles featured on the homepage. Are there any dedicated to children or parenting? Leave me a comment here or you can Tweet them to me @MommaData. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Spotting Good Parenting Advice

How do you know if the latest parenting news or parenting advice is worth your time? 

This remains a challenge for parents seeking quality parenting information. My kids seem to be learning how to sort through the enormous offerings of information online. However, most of us parents largely missed this lesson in school. As we were busily copying outdated information from Encyclopedia Britannica. At least some of us.

Anyhow, I hope my efforts here over the years have helped some of you more readily or confidently recognize the better studies and the flawed ones, the sounder advice and also think twice about what you hear and read. If you have any tales of spotty studies or claims in the parenting media, please let me know. Would love to hear from you.