Medical Minute 3-29: Parents and Pediatricians: Working Together

By: Sandra Hughes Email
By: Sandra Hughes Email

At her pediatric check up, 11-year-old Melissa Martinez gets her height and weight checked. And when the doctor comes in she gets a social media check up, too.

Dr. Diane Tenaka has already been talking Facebook and Twitter with her patients but now all pediatricians are being urged to do so..the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new clinical report citing a 2009 statistic that more than half of all teens log on to social media more than once a day.

Dr. Tenaka warns about sexting, cyberbullying and posting inappropriate pictures.

"It may have sounded like a fun idea funny cute at 17 but then at 30 do you really want that picture coming back to haunt you? Maybe an employer sees it," said Dr. Diane Tenaka at Children's Hospital.

The report also warns about something called Facebook depression?That kids may feel bad if they don't have enough friends on the site or their status updates aren't busy enough.

Many teens I work with have smart phones so they can get that Facebook app, or other social media and you can log on multiple times a day, put status reports, pics on the fly.

Melissa's mom says her two children were surprised to find out their dad was monitoring the websites they visited:

"They were shocked that he really checked and I told them you not going to be playing with this stuff, we need to know what you are doing on the computer," said Mercedes Martinez.

While the report cautions parents that the best approach is open communication and supervision, a discussion about the pros and cons of social media could be just what the doctor ordered..

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