Dr. Uhls has been featured extensively in a variety of media outlets, including print, radio, podcasts, blogs, and television. Her work has been quoted in newspapers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Los Angeles Times and she has had multiple appearances a guest expert on CBS News. She is a regular columnist in The Huffington Post and has also published work in Psychology Today, Time, and Mind/Shift. To see a full list of Dr. Uhls’ media hits, please click here.
Selected Media Quotes
“Many games not only teach academic subjects like math and science but also important life skills, like working toward a goal and persisting even after failure,” said Yalda T. Uhls, a child psychologist who studies how media affects children. (Minecraft, for example, is all about geometry.) According to Dr. Uhls, those lessons are reinforced when a parent is on hand to encourage children who might be having trouble beating a tricky level. “If you’re in there with them or just watching, you can teach your kids critical thinking,” said Dr. Uhls.
Yalda Uhls, a psychologist at Common Sense Media and the author of the forthcoming “Media Moms & Digital Dads,” said parents should set guidelines in advance: “I believe that when you first give your child something that gives them unlimited access to the Internet and their friends, it is important to make it clear that you own the device, you pay for it, and if there is any behavior that you feel is not true to your family values, you can take it away.”
Part of this deal is that you will respect their boundaries, she said, but you also have the right to join any social network they join, know their passwords and check their texts. This can create awkward situations, she said, like when her daughter mentioned on a friend’s Instagram page how funny it was when he shoplifted. “I was horrified,” Ms. Uhls said, “but I chose to focus on the impact on him. ‘This is a public forum,’ I said. ‘His parents will be seeing this.’ ” She removed the comment.
Though it seems as if children know everything about social media, Ms. Uhls said, actually they’re still learning. “They’re so focused on themselves and their friends,” she said, “they don’t understand that other people are watching.”
Yalda Uhls understands how much you want to Instagram those adorable photos of your toddler on the potty. Really, she does. And the mom of a 13-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy is happy that Instagram wasn’t around when her children were small.
“I have the cutest picture of my daughter and her friend in the bathtub,” says Uhls, senior scientific researcher at The Children’s Digital Media Center@LA at UCLA. “Maybe I would have shared it. Thank God I didn’t have that option.”
According to Uhls, author of “Media Moms & Digital Dads,” 81 percent of kids have a digital footprint before they are 2 years old. And a child’s digital privacy – or lack of it – starts out in the hands of his or her parents. Here are a few steps she advises moms and dads to take to help their children navigate the digital world without sharing too much.
What’s different about digital media than previous technological changes, Uhls explained, is its rapid growth and the fact that even babies can use smartphones and touch screens. The speed of the technology adoption means that researchers have to play catch up to understand its impacts. “The stuff is moving so quickly that it’s taken a long time for us to understand how it’s affecting kids,” Uhls said.
Media and parenting experts say that securing digital space is becoming more common as millennials become parents. “I see it all the time,” said Dr. Yalda Uhls, a child psychologist and author of “Media Moms and Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age” (Bibliomotion). Uhls said many parents naturally combine their familiarity with technology and excitement around a new baby. But she added a caution: “I think it’s a dangerous trend when it’s done too much.”