Pre-teens: Ages 10-13
During this stage of life, children make changes toward becoming adults, both physically and emotionally. The important areas to focus on are:
- Independence - Children will want a sense of independence and will often rebel against parents at this age. Help them gain confidence and push themselves while keeping reasonable boundaries.
- Physical Activity - It is important for children of this age group to get into habits of regular physical activity that they enjoy. As their bodies change, they need to remain active to avoid overweight. Encourage them to join team sports at school or participate in individual sports like dance and gymnastics.
- Friendship - At this age, kids are likely to spend more and more time with friends. They will test out different groups of peers to see where they fit in and which parts of their identities they want to express.
So how does media fit into these needs of pre-teen children?
Television and Movies
Preteens are likely to watch TV and movies either alone or with friends, but rarely with their parents. Although parents will have less control over what kinds of things their kids see in the media at this age, they can still establish time limits.
Because of their desire for independence, preteens might ask for a TV in their bedroom. CMCH strongly recommends keeping media out of children’s bedrooms. Research has shown that children with media in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight and to have sleep problems.
- See tips for using television safely
By this age, preteens understand that the purpose of ads is to get people to buy things. They are often wise to the advertising industry and do not want to be "tricked" by them. They respond well to media literacy because they feel empowered by knowing the "behind-the-scenes" aspects of advertising.
Computers and the Internet
Preteens are likely to use computers for social reasons. They log on to instant messenger to talk to their friends. They post a profile on MySpace. They write blogs to keep an online journal of their lives. These technologies have a lot of benefits, like helping preteens work out their identities and connect with peers.
However, there are also risks of using the internet, such as privacy concerns, connecting with strangers, and seeing content they were not looking for.
© 2004-2008 Center on Media and Child Health, Children's Hospital Boston.
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