Teen and Child Technology Usage

Hands-on advice for parents who want guidance on how to manage their kids' use of technology.

Cyberbullying: What Every Parent Should Know

Bullying incidents are no longer limited to the playground or the locker room. Cyberbullying, the latest form of bullying sweeping across middle and high schools, is pervasive. And the recent rash of suicides by kids who’ve been mercilessly cyberbullied certainly sets off alarm bells. Keeping up with technology can seem overwhelming and induce a sense of helplessness in even the most seasoned parent. While you can’t control every aspect of technology, below are some ideas that can help combat cyberbullying. Read More

Smart but Helpless Kids: Can Your Child Make It in the Real World?

Some of the highest rated television series for adolescents and teens today focus on what would happen if society was suddenly thrown into the ultimate test for survival—like surviving the zombie apocalypse. How would you stay alive if you had to hunt and grow your own food, search for fresh sources of water and live without electricity, using only your wits and skills? The truth is most kids don’t possess those extraordinary life skills, let alone the mundane ones we all need to make it in the real world—like balancing the checkbook. Read More

Keeping Kids Safe from Predators Online and Offline

Jerry Sandusky. Michael Jackson. Mary Kay Letourneau. All of these individuals were accused and/or convicted of committing unspeakable crimes against children. While certainly upsetting, these high profile cases are a good opportunity to spark a conversation with your kids about staying safe, as parents are the first and most powerful line of defense against predators. When parents educate their children, and make home a safe place for kids to ask questions and talk about their experiences, children are less likely to become victims.  Having a discussion with your child about online and offline safety isn’t always easy or comfortable, but it is important. Read More

4 Steps to Managing Your Child’s Screen Time

Is it just me or does it seem like children have lost their playfulness? Many of us can recall summer days spent playing games outside with friends, riding bikes, playing hopscotch, or making forts in the woods. Now, though, it seems that most kids prefer to lead a wired existence, constantly connected to some electronic device. Many parents are exasperated by their child’s constant technology use and the degree to which tablets, TVs, video games, laptops and smart phones have taken over their household. I once talked to a desperate mother whose child was sending upwards of 20,000 texts per month (No, that is not a typo.) Like this mom, many parents who we hear from are fed up and looking to take back control. Here are 4 steps you can take to manage or limit your child’s use of technology so that it works for you and your family. Read More

Screen Time: Using Technology as a Consequence or Reward for Your Child

It's important to understand that you can’t get your child to care about homework, chores or hygiene just because you do. What you can do is help them complete those tasks and reach certain goals regardless of how they feel about them. You do this by offering something important to them, in order to get them to complete something important to you. What do kids value? Screen time. In other words, phone, Internet, TV and video games. Read More

Texting: The New Way for Kids to Be Rude

“My 14 year old daughter is a texting addict! She will even sit and text when our family is at a restaurant. It drives me nuts. If I tell her to stop, she just does it under the table. It’s like this little secret that we can’t be in on, plus it’s just plain rude. It’s as if half of her is here with us, but her brain is somewhere off with her friends. The thing that really annoys me is that she doesn’t take part in family activities any more—it’s like she has to have a special invitation to participate. What should we do?” Read More

Combat CyberBullying: Be a Part of Your Daughter’s Life—the Real and the Virtual

In this age of MySpace, cell phones and instant messaging, it has never been more important to ensure that you are a part of your daughter’s life: the real and the virtual. It is no surprise that girls are enamored with social communications as a way to make connections and keep in touch. By the time they are ten or eleven, they may be developing their own websites, and creating fun emoticons, avatars, and colorful texts for their emails. Read More

How to Keep the Violence Out of Your Home

It’s an undisputed fact that the more violence kids are exposed to, the more desensitized they become to it. But it’s not the violence that’s the problem for families now. It’s the delivery systems used to bring that violence into the home. James Lehman explains how to keep the violence outside your home and away from your kids. Read More

Video Games and Violence: What Every Parent Should Know

What I typically suggest to parents is that they don’t allow violent video games in their home. If and when the issue comes up, that is actually a good opportunity to talk about their values, how to resolve conflicts and disputes in a non-violent way, which are useful conversations to have with kids. In any case it’s useful to convey your values to your children that violent solutions are not appropriate. Non-violent solutions can almost always be found.” Read More

Parents, Get a Clue: What Teens are Really Doing Online Plus: Tips on How to Talk to Your Teen about Internet Safety

Amber* got onto Facebook when she was 12. “It was easy," she said with a shrug. "All you have to do is lie about your age and give them your email address.” The teen, who is now 15, said, “I guess I accepted a lot of ‘Friends’ to my list without really knowing who they were.” On social networking sites, the goal is to acquire as many “friends” as possible, a virtual popularity contest that can add up to a whole lot of unknowns. Read More