ABC.com: The View Hot Topics

Link to Video

4.29.10

What to Say to a Child Who Wants to Text, an IPad, a cell phone, or any other ways to consume media: I am the parent and want the best for you.

Piecemeal q and a’s are helpful but really not enough, as new issues keep coming up all the time about managing kids’ uses of technology. Parents need to take charge with a new and comprehensive solid way of thinking to guide how they apply their skills in this area, no matter what the latest platform.

IMHO, parents need to make a commitment to a comprehensive plan to organize media consumption at home based on individual kids’ needs and family practices, to teach best practices, and to prevent inappropriate and excessive use later in life.

What to Say to a Child Who Wants to Text, an iPad, a cell phone, or any other ways to consume media

4.28.10

Piecemeal q and a’s are helpful but really not enough, as new issues keep coming up all the time about managing kids’ uses of technology. Parents need a new and comprehensive solid way of thinking to guide how they apply their skills in this area, no matter what the latest platform.

IMHO, parents need to make a commitment to a comprehensive plan to organize media consumption at home based on individual kids’ needs and family practices, to teach best practices, and to prevent inappropriate and excessive use later in life.

Pew Report: Youth Texting and Media Use Explode, but Parent Limits Have Little Effect

Link to Original Article

Cell phones “have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Text messaging explodes as teens embrace it as the centerpiece of their communication strategies with friends,” declares a current Pew Research Center study.

According to the Pew study, 1/3 of kids ages 12 to 17 send up to 3000 texts a month, and according to the recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 1/5 of this age group spend up to 132 hours of their week exposed to media. Both studies show that parental limits have little effect on how kids use the technology that continues to explode into their lives.

“These studies offer a fascinating look into the complicated ever-evolving interactions between youngsters, parents, and technology. Parents are still mostly reacting by setting limits, yet children remain essentially on their own.”

“The answer is not limits alone. Parents also need to get more involved and stay involved in positive and comprehensive ways with their media-soaked kids rather than merely imposing limits,” states child psychiatrist Dr. Eitan D. Schwarz, author of “Kids, Parents, and Technology: An Instruction Guide for Young Families.”

“Technology provides wonderful opportunities, but parents need guidance to systematically shape its best use in kids’ lives. I urge parents to embrace technology and make its balanced use part of family life from the early years, so that by the time kids become teenagers they will have the right perspective on it,” according to Dr. Schwarz.

Dr. Schwarz advises parents that using texting devices should be part of an overall family approach to media in the home:

• Take Charge – Have confidence and take charge. You can manage this important area of your kids’ lives. Many parents too readily take a back seat and let kids take the lead.

• The cell phone is a powerful appliance that must have positive benefits and limits to belong in children’s hands. Especially for younger pre-teens and teens, put a limit on the number of texting calls, block the Internet, and check the child’s phone regularly to verify who she is talking with and what she is saying.

• Create Healthy Media Rules – Tailor healthy media diets into daily menus for each child to provide development opportunities. For example, regularly require enough online time on apps and online that enhance good values and education enrichment. Apply rules to your own media use – be fully present with your kids, and do not text while parenting.

• Technology is healthy – From infancy onwards, teach kids to appreciate technology as a healthy and routine part of family life. Starting young, children will learn that using technology is collaborative and social — and not an isolating solitary activity. Always join preschoolers or younger kids using the tech toys.

• Include the Whole Family – Create a new environment around media to promote mutuality, fun, respect, and development for the entire family. It is large enough for kids and parents to interact around it.

• Make the Smartphone a Positive Learning Tool – Just as you already shop for healthy food, harvest the positive opportunities offered by its apps and online. For example, for every age group there are wonderful opportunities for learning.

• Create Healthy Media Plans – Tailor healthy media into daily menus for each child to provide development opportunities. For example, regularly require enough online time on apps and online that enhance good values and education enrichment.

• Apply Rules to your Own Media Use – be fully present with your kids, and do not text while parenting. Parents should be fully present with your children and avoid texting and cell phone use. Parents themselves may be damaging children when they are not fully present because they are online, on the cell phone, or texting. Not only are they rude or setting bad examples, but their distractions interrupt the vital bond necessary for healthy wiring of young children’s brains.

The Wall Street Journal: Child Psychiatrist: iPad can be good for kids and families Apple’s iPad Is for Moms Now, Techies Later on Huff and Laptop Killer?

Link to Original Article

4.2.10

Apple’s new iPad adds a universe of new applications to those already in iPhones on a larger, more accessible touch screen that include books, games, business tools, newspapers, presentation managers, a word processor.

This tablet is a serious tool for serious people. Before bringing it home, every parent must think through its impact on the kids and family life because the iPad also puts unprecedented interactive media power into children’s hands. Mobile, tactile, responsive, and intensely user friendly, the large screen sparkles with sharp colorful images and text.

“The iPad is the magical stuff kids (and the kids in us all) dream of as beautiful images can be instantly enlarged, shrunk, moved or made to appear and disappear,” according to child psychiatrist and author Dr. Eitan Schwarz.

“It is a brilliant piece of engineering and testament to our human talent. But in the 10+ years of media explosion into the lives of younger and younger children, there has been little systematic effort to guide parents.

Kids left to themselves consume media as they do junk food. The more media permeates a home, the more family life deteriorates and the kids are less happy. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 1/5 of kids 8-18 spend up to 19 hrs/d (including texting and multitasking) total media time. Studies show that media use is associated with poorer grades and family life and less reading and imaginative play. When parents set limits for 1/3 of youngsters, media consumption drops by only 1/3, showing that restriction is just not enough.

In his new book, “KIDS, PARENTS & TECHNOLOGY: A GUIDE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES,” Dr. S, gives parents tips to leverage their home-court advantage to make media a positive family life asset. “Parents should manage children’s media consumption as they do a meal plan.”

Dr. S believes there needs to be “an ongoing commitment to organizing kids’ media lives just as we manage nutrition.” Dr. S’ tips for parents include:

• The iPad Is a Powerful Appliance – Start thinking of the iPad as a family appliance that must

have positive values. Kids treat will treat it as toy, but the iPad is in reality an adult tool with

enormous power. Would you let your unsupervised young child use the telephone or oven?

Only devices with proven benefits belong in children’s hands.

• Take Charge – Have confidence and take charge. You can manage this important area of your

kids’ lives. Many parents too readily take a back seat and let kids take the lead. In what other

important area of life would they let that happen?

• Technology is Healthy – From infancy onwards, teach kids to appreciate technology as a

healthy and routine part of family life. Starting young, children will learn that using technology

is collaborative and social — and not an isolating solitary activity. Always join preschoolers or

younger kids using the iPad.

• Include the Whole Family – Create a new environment around the iPad and other media to

promote mutuality, fun, respect, and development for the entire family. It is large enough for

kids and parents to interact around it.

• Make the iPad a Positive Learning Tool – Just as you already shop for healthy food, harvest the

positive opportunities offered by its apps and online. For example, for every age group there

are wonderful opportunities for learning.

• Create Healthy Media Rules – Tailor healthy media diets into daily menus for each child to

provide development opportunities. For example, regularly require enough online time on

apps and online that enhance good values and education enrichment. Apply rules to your

own media use – be fully present with your kids, and do not text while parenting.

Pew Report: Youth Texting and Media Use Explode, but Parent Limits Have Little Effect

Child Psychiatrist and Author of “Kids, Parents & Technology: A Guide for Young Families,” Dr. S Offers Insight and Tips

Cell phones “have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Text messaging explodes as teens embrace it as the centerpiece of their communication strategies with friends,” declares a current Pew Research Center study.

According to the Pew study, 1/3 of kids ages 12 to 17 send up to 3000 texts a month, and according to the recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 1/5 of this age group spend up to 132 hours of their week exposed to media. Both studies show that parental limits have little effect on how kids use the technology that continues to explode into their lives.

“These studies offer a fascinating look into the complicated ever-evolving interactions between youngsters, parents, and technology. Parents are still mostly reacting by setting limits, yet children remain essentially on their own.”

“The answer is not limits alone. Parents also need to get more involved and stay involved in positive and comprehensive ways with their media-soaked kids rather than merely imposing limits,” states child psychiatrist Dr. S, author of “KIDS, PARENTS & TECHNOLOGY: A GUIDE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES.”

“Technology provides wonderful opportunities, but parents need guidance to systematically shape its best use in kids’ lives. I urge parents to embrace technology and make its balanced use part of family life from the early years, so that by the time kids become teenagers they will have the right perspective on it,” according to Dr. S.

Dr. S advises parents that using texting devices should be part of an overall family approach to media in the home:

• Take Charge – Have confidence and take charge. You can manage this important area of your kids’ lives. Many parents too readily take a back seat and let kids take the lead.

• The cell phone is a powerful appliance that must have positive benefits and limits to belong in children’s hands. Especially for younger pre-teens and teens, put a limit on the number of texting calls, block the Internet, and check the child’s phone regularly to verify who she is talking with and what she is saying.

• Create Healthy Media Rules – Tailor healthy media diets into daily menus for each child to provide development opportunities. For example, regularly require enough online time on apps and online that enhance good values and education enrichment. Apply rules to your own media use – be fully present with your kids, and do not text while parenting.

• Technology is healthy – From infancy onwards, teach kids to appreciate technology as a healthy and routine part of family life. Starting young, children will learn that using technology is collaborative and social — and not an isolating solitary activity. Always join preschoolers or younger kids using the tech toys.

• Include the Whole Family – Create a new environment around media to promote mutuality, fun, respect, and development for the entire family. It is large enough for kids and parents to interact around it.

• Make the Smartphone a Positive Learning Tool – Just as you already shop for healthy food, harvest the positive opportunities offered by its apps and online. For example, for every age group there are wonderful opportunities for learning.

• Create Healthy Media Plans – Tailor healthy media into daily menus for each child to provide development opportunities. For example, regularly require enough online time on apps and online that enhance good values and education enrichment.

• Apply Rules to your Own Media Use – be fully present with your kids, and do not text while parenting. Parents should be fully present with your children and avoid texting and cell phone use. Parents themselves may be damaging children when they are not fully present because they are online, on the cell phone, or texting. Not only are they rude or setting bad examples, but their distractions interrupt the vital bond necessary for healthy wiring of young children’s brains.