Telegram & Gazette, Thursday, 08/16/2012
HEALTH ADVICE DRs. oz and roisen
Q: My son is 13, and I want him to have a cellphone, but I’m not sure if he’s mature enough to handle the responsibility. Any suggestions?
A: Cellphones are so powerful that kids need guidelines to avoid what we call the Digital Deficit — that’s being disconnected (from people, including parents), depressed and disrespectful. Fortunately, you now have an opportunity to protect your child’s health, while you teach him etiquette. That will put you in the vanguard: Only 20 percent of parents set boundaries or offer advice on conduct.
Why is it important to do that? Kids are happier when they’re not always on call. Many teens wake up during the night to receive texts, and sleep disruption causes everything from poor grades to pimples. The heaviest media users (kids connected to cells, TV and computers 16 hours a day) are more apt to fail at school, be blue and fight with parents.
Plus, teaching cell-etiquette — no talking on elevators, not within 10 feet of someone inside and never on public transportation — helps kids become aware of their effect on others, and that makes people respond more positively to them.
So write up a contract that spells out these guidelines: No cellphones in school, in the bedroom after lights out, and no texting while engaged in conversations or at the dinner table. Also, make it clear he’s not to post photos of anyone online without permission. Plus, you’ll check downloads for inappropriate material. And he has to answer your calls unless he’s in school or, a few years from now, driving.
Parents need to follow some guidelines, too: When children talk to parents on the cell they feel they’re getting about 50 percent of the attention they’d get face to face. So, next time you think about disciplining you child via the cell, try this phrase: “We’re not going to talk about this over the phone. We’ll sit down and discuss this face to face when we’re home.”
The following advice seems good for some parents.... 8/16/2012 14:56