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Editor's Corner

 

2016 has been a momentous year for media. Take the presidential election, which provided ample evidence of the evolution and increasingly diverse reach of media in American society.‚Äč

Social media played an unprecedented role. The constant barrage of ads on almost every internet site, the proliferation of internet news sites, and the frequent tweets recognized and amplified by traditional print and broadcast media were unique to this contest. On the other hand traditional media lost some clout. The almost universal editorial rejection of the winning candidate had little if any effect on the electorate.

Interestingly both the incoming president and vice president were media personalities immediately before their initial political triumphs. Trump's as a media-star is well known. Pence launched his first successful run for Congress only after 5 years as a conservative talk show host.

What does this have to do with COCM?  Well, 2016 was also a year of increased media awarenesss at the AAP.

At the turn of the century "media" for kids largely meant TV and movies. Social media, as we understand it today, didn't exist. But the 21st century brought us Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006), and the iPhone (2007), as well as numerous other social media platforms, so that electronic connectivity is almost constant and often supplants closer personal contact. The ubiquity of media and the sheer amount of time young people spend with it has a profound influence on the health and welfare of our patients.

Even before COCM was launched in 2007 (when the 1987 Committee on Communications and the 2003 Section on Media combined) , proposals were submitted to the AAP Board of Directors to include media and communications in the Academy's strategic plan and on the Pediatrics in the 21st Century program. The media and communications plank was incorporated into the 2013-4 AAP Agenda for Children and the Peds-21 program, The Medium Is the Message: How Electronic Media Are Transforming Our Patients' World, was presented to about a thousand attendees at the 2016 NCE.

And the Peds-21 program coincided with a significant updating of several AAP/COCM policy statements, appearing in August and November PEDIATRICS. They have been augmented by discussion articles in PEDIATRICS  and AAP News, recommendations for parents and pediatricians at healthychildren.org and a newly developed Family Media Use Plan, also available at healthychildren.org. More information on and links to these new features are detailed elsewhere on this web site.

As always comments and criticisms are welcome - either by writing me directly glfuld@ne.rr.com, and/or, for COCM members, by posting to the COCM listserv cocm@listserv.aap.org.

Gil Fuld

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