Parenting Articles about Technology & Kids

Hands-on advice for parents who want guidance on how to manage their kids' use of technology.
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Screen Time: Using Technology as a Consequence or Reward for Your Child

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

It's important to understand that you can’t getyour childto care about homework, choresor 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 andvideo games.

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Texting: The New Way for Kids to Be Rude

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?”

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

Combat CyberBullying: Be a Part of Your Daughters 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.

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

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.

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Video Games and Violence: What Every Parent Should Know

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.”

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How to Keep the Violence Out of Your Home

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.

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Can Video Games Be Good for Kids? How to Make the Most of Screen Time

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I used to worry that my kids played too many video games, especially my 11-year old son who is obsessed with Minecraft. Like many parents, I fretted over how much time Billy spent gaming and what effects his hobby of choice was having on his health, wellbeing, social life, Vitamin D intake, etc. If you can imagine it, you can bet I worried over it! After reviewing the research on kids and video games, I still worry, but I worry less. What I found was that there may be as many benefits to gaming as there are drawbacks, and there are ways that parents can help their kids make the most of their gaming experiences while still having lots of fun.

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Selfie Culture: How Do You Talk to Your Child about What They Post on Social Media?

Blogger Why does it seem like kids post absolutely everything they do online? And how can we talk to them about it as parents?
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Go Ahead, Stalk Your Kids on Facebook - Everyone Else Is!

Blogger Actress Julianne Moore made headlines recently when she admitted stalking her kids online, arguing that You don’t get to have privacy when you’re only 16! While many parents applauded her for being a good digital parent, others accused her of helicopter parenting and ridiculed her attempts to shield her kids from the big, bad web.
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Setting Boundaries on Technology and Screen Time (Free Technology Contract)

Blogger “Get off the iPod! Stop playing video games. Turn off the TV! No, you can’t have a smartphone yet! Do you think we’re made of money? And what do you need a phone for anyway—you’re not even in high school yet!” Sound familiar? [caption id=attachment_10176 align=aligncenter width=231]Free Click here to download your free Technology Contract![/caption] I should put these words to music, because they are a constant refrain in our house with our ten-year-old son, especially with the holidays coming. He wants everything now—without even knowing quite why he even wants it. “Who would you call on your cell phone if you had one?” “Lots of kids have them,” he says. “You’re mean!” (*Note: After ten years, I have learned to say, Yup, I'm the meanest mom in the world, and shrug and walk away instead of feeling hurt. I finally caught on that I must be doing something right!) Related: Want to set limits around technology and screen time? Free downloadable Tech Contract for parents! But like it or not, we are raising a tech-loving kid -- and I know he’s not alone because all my friends report the same electronic tug-of-war going on at their houses. Screens are everywhere, and while they make life easier in some ways, they also pose new problems—especially for parents trying to raise kids who aren’t zombie-fied or exposed to too much, too soon. Let’s face it, the screens in our lives provide too much passive entertainment and take away from your child's time playing outside or using his or her imagination to invent a new game because “We're bored!” Add to that the plethora of violent video games, movies and TV shows, and the fact that many experts are saying that there isn't enough face-to-face contact for kids today—and a worrisome lost opportunity to develop empathy because of it. I’ll admit it, sometimes it seems almost impossible to place limits around screens in our house, because, like whack-a-mole, if we take away one screen, our son can always run to the next one immediately. So what’s a parent to do? One idea is to use “screen time” as a consequence or reward, like Megan Devine advises in her recent popular EP article. Another idea is to actually have your child sign a “Tech Contract” that spells out exactly what, how long and when he or she is allowed to use electronics each day (or week). This Tech Contract was created by our Parental Support Advisor Team. (I’m printing this contract out and going over it with my family tonight. Care to join me?) Let us know how the Tech Contract worked for your family. Did it help you to define some boundaries around electronics? How do you set screen time limits in your house? Elisabeth Wilkins is the mother of one tech-savvy, reptile loving son and the Editor of Empowering Parents. She and her family live in Maine.
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Mean Mom: Why I Won't Let My Son Get on Facebook

Blogger In middle school, the rules all seem to change. When my son came home from his first day of 5th grade, I asked him what the biggest difference was from last year. He paused and said, Well, this year, everyone wants to know who likes who. Sam likes Jessica.  All the boys have a crush on Emmie. And Kayley likes most of the cool boys in our class.
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Online Bullying, Gossiping and Harassment? 10 Real Tips for Kids Who Use Social Media

Blogger During the past four years, there has been a rise in student use of social media (Facebook, Twitter and texting are the top examples) for the purpose of degrading, threatening, bullying and harassing other kids. Too many of us have watched the recent shocking news stories about students like Rebecca Sedwick who were teased and bullied to the point where they chose to end their lives and escape the hurt and sadness brought on by words posted on social media.
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Social Media vs. the Horse and Buggy: Are Modern Kids Missing out on Life?

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Raising children has changed so much in one or two generations. We speak with parents, grandparents and even Great Grandparents on the Parent Support Line that are currently raising children. Each generation seems to ask the same child rearing question: What happened?  How come what worked for one generation doesn’t work for the next?   What exactly has changed?

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Kids Are Leaving Facebook in Droves: Where Are They Going? (And How Parents Can Keep Up)

Blogger As a parent, it can be hard to keep up with all the social networking sites out there. When my kids were in their early teens, it seemed that every time I got a handle on the various social media sites they used, they would be on to the next new thing. When my son was in middle school, it was all about Myspace. Then Youtube became big and “everyone” was posting videos of skateboarding face plants and other death defying acts.  Next there was MyYearbook, with Facebook and Twitter soon following.  Skype was introduced somewhere in there, but it took awhile to catch on. With the advent of Android and I-phones, and the subsequent available apps, it seems the social networking world is growing exponentially.
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