Monitoring Kids’ Cellphone Activity

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3.26.10

Although media are such pervasive aspects of our kids’ lives, parents continue to react in a piecemeal and poorly coordinated manner to this powerful force. It is time to think comprehensively and decide the role of media in your kids’ lives and to form a rational and comprehensive media plan for each child. Monitoring and restricting are usually only partially effective approaches. Parents need to become proactive and plan media consumption as they do food consumption. Otherwise, kids will continue to consume junk media as they do junk food.

Obama to parents: School nights for homework, not TV

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3.25.10

Whatever your politics about healthcare, the President and First Lady are right on about this .

President Obama and the First Lady are on the right track when it comes to finding the right balance for their daughters’ media lives, “The girls don’t watch TV during the week.  Period.”

While it seems at first glance that the presidential couple’s emphasis is on restrictions and making rules, the real message is actually on the positive:  “Very early on, we set expectations for Malia and Sasha in terms of them taking responsibility for their own education.”  No TV means doing schoolwork instead. It is schoolwork that will lead the children to lead better lives. And the Obamas can surely model that for their kids, if anyone can. Let us all pay attention.

Recent studies show that the more media permeates a home, the more is family life deteriorating and the less happy are the kids. Good parents are frustrated, but restrictions don’t work and they don’t know what to do.

What works is ongoing commitment to managing kids’ media lives just as we manage nutrition. Parents must plan media consumption as they do diets.  A distinguished child psychiatrist’s “KIDS, PARENTS & TECHNOLOGY: A GUIDE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES” gives parents tips to leverage home-court advantage to make media positive family life assets. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, teachers, therapists, pediatricians – use new technologies to enhance families’ health and young children’s development.

The Internet Is Making Us Shallow and Vapid! (Or Maybe We Were Just Shallow And Vapid To Begin With)

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3.17.10

All of us are now magicians of fast, immediate social access, knowledge, and interactivity. Mobile interactive technologies brilliantly transcend the old pre-digital realities of time and space, and we too can give into our own impulses to get what we want and need when we want it without the old delays.

The pre-digital world reality disciplined us to slow us down, to delay our impulses, and to use our judgment and other human gifts to give us more control and depth and richness over our complex lives.
Our brand new reality makes possible communication in small quick bits that are sometimes useful and gives us more control over some things. But partial communications, e.g. texting, encourage incomplete thoughts or impulsive messages when in actuality more complex ideas would be better. People need to be alone and in silence to reflect fully and find their imagination and creativity.

Let’s discipline ourselves and realize how profoundly we as parents are affected by technology.
The clutter of smart phones and other digital companions is distracting and doesn’t allow us to be fully with our children. This can be damaging, especially to infants, whose emotional and intellectual brains are being wired by us. No texting while parenting. Let’s stop making excuses and feeling guilty and make and stick to rules and limits we make for ourselves.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Wisdom 2.0 Conference

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3.12.10

The old limitations of time and space that allow for silence, reflection, and inspiration are short-circuited by the brilliant engineering of today’s technology.

Spiritual life can begin in the family, with the early experiences of learning the Golden Rule and it is how family life is impacted by technology that we should be minding. Currently, we have a deterioration in family life that we must reverse. Families would do well to have media-free zones and times at home to allow for development of spirituality. Make balanced media plans based on each child’s age to promote family life, proper values, and socialization. Avoid parenting while texting and be mindful with your kids of the wonderful silence around us.

An E-Reader for Kids

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This appears to be a promising application for kids. The positive place of technology in the lives of families and children can be indeed powerful. However, while the potential for good is enormous, in fact, so far, studies are showing that family life is actually weakening and some children’s development harmed by unsupervised or excessive use of media, and things are getting worse.

Too many parents are gee-whizzing the wonders of technology, reacting to children’s demands and adopting every new gizmo that comes along, or feeling inadequate or overwhelmed and unable to provide the right balance for their families. To actually benefit from digital media, parents must become confident, pro-active and take charge, get involved, and make thoughtful and deliberate ongoing commitments to media planning in their home for both the short and long terms.

I suggest parents participate together with their preschoolers in interacting with this device. Make it a family affair. Limit access only to times when you or an older sibling can join the child. Kids learn best in social situations, anyway. Most importantly, develop for your family a media plan to include this device to prevent the later isolated or out of control use of media by children.

Appreciating the Family Side of Technology

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3.6.10

You are right to emphasize the potential value of technology in family life. The positive place of technology in the lives of families and children can be indeed powerful. However, while the potential for good is enormous, in fact, so far, studies are showing that family life is actually weakening and some children’s development harmed by unsupervised or excessive use of media, and things are getting worse.

Too many parents are gee-whizzing the wonders of technology, reacting to children’s demands and adopting every new gizmo that comes along, or feeling inadequate or overwhelmed and unable to provide the right balance for their families. To actually benefit from digital media, parents must become confident, pro-active and take charge, get involved, and make thoughtful and deliberate ongoing commitments to media planning in their home for both the short and long terms.