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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 23, 2010 / 11 Tamuz 5770

Moment of weakness on tween and technology

By Marybeth Hicks





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was a moment of weakness, and it didn't last long.

My college freshman almost had me convinced that I ought to change the house rules for her younger sister.

The logic sounded reasonable, the timing seemed right, and I could almost envision myself jumping into the minivan and driving to the cellular store to pick out an inexpensive cell phone for Amy, my 12-year-old.

Then, in a fit of common sense, I spent 20 minutes on one of those Mommy-blogger sites. Simply perusing the headlines reminded me of all the reasons why we don't get cell phones for our children until they hit high school. Ditto for Facebook.

"There's no 3 in texting," one story is headlined. "A new way to monitor kids on Facebook," is another. "How to REALLY talk to your kids about cyberbullying," offers another.

Not to mention all the stories about teens, tweens, technology and sex, an alarming connection in today's culture.

Now, before you get defensive and start telling me all the reasons why these things are safe and appropriate for our children, know that I'm not judging your house rules. We're just not changing ours.

Perhaps my husband and I are subjecting our daughter to an "Amish Lockdown" (her phrase, not ours), but she's well-adjusted enough to joke about it. And besides, we still have a land line that rings often enough to keep her busy.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "my parents are forcing me to live in the Dark Ages" and 10 being "kegger at my house this weekend," we're firmly at about a 4. Some days even a 5.

But when it comes to the technology that provides greater freedom from our supervision, our middle schooler really is deprived.

We'd rather she wait for an age-appropriate privilege than spend our days and nights monitoring her every move.

Supervising kids and technology is even harder during the summer months. A new crop of mom-blog posts now warns parents about idle tweens and teens spending summer vacation time sending "sext" messages, engaging in cyberbullying or broadcasting details about their whereabouts over social-networking sites.

Not enough to worry about during the workday? Perhaps while you're plowing through the "in" box on your computer, your son or daughter is enduring the threat of "textual harassment." (No, I didn't make that up.) This is when someone hounds or stalks another via text messages - a particularly scary factor in tween and teen dating abuse.

Yet the market saturation of cell phones for children and teens (80 percent of U.S. children older than 12 have a phone) as well as the astronomical number of tweens with social-networking profiles (25 percent of children ages 8 to 12, according to one study) indicates that even if parents have misgivings as I do, they aren't using those reservations to inform their house rules. There's no question that teens and tweens are using all this technology in destructive ways. Nearly a quarter of 11- to 14-year-olds report they've engaged in sexting - sending or receiving sexually explicit photos or content on their cell phones. The percentage is higher for older teens.

Ironically, one of the first reasons most parents give for arming their children with cell phones is personal safety. Given the statistics on sexting, I'd say that's backfiring for some families.

The trends are forcing parents to spend a lot of time supervising and, if not, wading through the consequences of immaturity and bad judgment on the part of their unsupervised children.

Thankfully, when that wave of flexibility washed over me, I approached my husband and said, "I'm thinking we could relent and let Amy get a cell phone this year. Maybe for her birthday. It's only five or six months ahead of schedule."

He lifted an eyebrow and kept working.

And with that, I sat down and surfed some Mommy-blogger sites for a dose of reality to remind myself why we do what we do at our house.

For now, "Amish Lockdown" remains in effect. Fortunately, I'm certain she'll survive.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


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© 2009, Marybeth Hicks