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May 2014

Families, Pediatricians, and the Challenges of Digital Kids: The Best of Times?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
  • 2currently in private practice, Pediatric Associates, Bellevue, Washington
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):401-402. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.151

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us….

Charles Dickens

Dickens’ use of anaphora at the beginning of his masterpiece A Tale of Two Cities reflects the paradox of the best and worst of times in 18th-century England and France. As a physician, I can relate the duality of discomfort and anxiety of his characters to parents I see daily struggling with the encroachment of technology on their family. Their question is eerily similar: “is it the age of media wisdom or foolishness, hope or despair?”

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