Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
Teens use phones for far more than texting and talking today (image via flickr)
The sight of a teenager with their attention focused on a smart phone, thumbs flying and oblivious to the rest of the world, is so common that it has already become a cliché. If you asked many parents what their teen is doing that requires so much thumb action, the likely answer would be “texting” and much of the time, they would be right. An average teen currently sends more than 60 text messages a day according to a study by Pew Research. But what many parents don’t understand is that as teens transition to smart phones, they are doing much more than texting. Here are some of the other things your teen is on their phone.
1. Listening to Music – Pandora
There are a wide range of apps that provide access to music on both primary smart phone platforms, but amongst teens, Pandora seems to be the top pick. The music service allows teens to create their own radio stations by selecting a certain musical group, genre, or song. Pandora than pulls together similar music to make a custom station. For teens, this provides easy access to new music all the time without incurring the costs associated with downloading music or purchasing CDs.
2. Taking and Making Pictures – Instagram
Instagram is the top photo editing app available for smart phones. Teens love it because they can edit the pictures they take with the cell phone – the primary method most of them use to document important moments in their lives – edit them, and then post them directly to the social network platform of their choice. It is a completely streamlined way of taking pictures, putting your own spin on them, and then sharing them with the world.
3. Playing with Their Friends – Zynga’s With Friends Games
This suite of games from Zynga, the company that made Facebook games a household phenomenon, has been popular with smart phone users of all ages right from the start. The “with friends” apps include:
- Words with Friends, which is similar to online scrabble
- Scramble with Friends, which is like a cross between Sudoku and a word search
- Hanging with Friends, which resembles a game of hangman
These games are fun in their own right, but the “with friends” part of each game is one of the main attractions for teens. Each game lets you challenge people from your social networks to play, enabling you to play very long distance rounds against people you could never play against in person. Additionally, because the games are turn based, teens can play when it works for their schedule and aren’t required to be actively playing at the same time as their opponent.
4. Watching…..Something – YouTube
Smart phones make it possible to access YouTube, Netflix, and many other content providers from anywhere which means your teen might be watching a new movie on Netflix, a funny cat video on YouTube, or an episode of their favorite television show.
Regardless of how your teen uses their smartphone, parents should set limits with the phones. Parents can simply monitor what their teen does on their phone by knowing what apps are loaded, how much they talk and text, as well as simply limiting how much and what times of the day teens are permitted to use them. Simply instituting the rule that there are no phones allowed at the dinner table can go far towards increased healthy communication with your teen. In this age where the world of entertainment can literally be at our fingertips, we need to remember that nothing can replace the value of face to face communication and interaction.
Monday, August 27th, 2012
‘Spice’ — a designer synthetic cannabinoid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Keeping up with today’s teenagers is hard work. You would think that with cell phones, Facebook, email, voicemail, and Twitter, parents would have an easier time that ever knowing what their teens like, who their friends are, and what they are up to on their own time. Unfortunately, all this connectedness hasn’t really helped parents understand their teenagers any better than their parents understood them. Teens are trendy, parents generally are not. Teens are all about the next new thing, while parents move at a different pace. This can be the source of those infamous parent-teen power struggles but it can also create a dangerous communication gap between what parents think kids are doing and what teens are actually doing. There is no area where this problem is more serious than drug use.
For most of today’s parents, “drugs” means cocaine, heroin, marijuana, crack, and maybe ecstasy and meth. These were the primary drugs of their youth and they understand them. They know what to look out for, what the signs are, and when to get help. What they may not know, is what the list would include if you asked their teenager. To help parents understand the drug landscape of today, here are some of the drugs today’s teens are exposed to that may be new to parents.
This synthetic drug which until recently was available to anyone over the counter, is unregulated, and can be deadly. Although this drug is called bath salts, it has no relationship to anything you put in your bathtub. It is a synthetic derivative of a stimulant called cathinone which affects the central nervous system. Sold in foil packages, Bath Salts are sniffed, snorted, swallowed, smoked, and injected. They are also known under a variety of street names like Bliss, Drone, Purple wave, White Knight, White Lightning, and Vanilla Sky. Bath Salts mimic the effects of cocaine and were included in the recent federal ban on designer drugs.
2C-E or Europa
This is your teenager’s version of Ecstasy and is a popular party drug. Effects are similar to those experienced when taking ecstasy and often include vivid hallucinations.
According to the CDC, marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug amongst teens. K2 and Spice are believed in be in second place. These synthetic drugs are made from a mixture of legal herbs that is laced with a synthetic cannabinoid and mimic the effects of marijuana. However, with K2 and Spice, the drug is more potent, remains in the body longer, and doesn’t show up in urine-based drug testing. Until the recent federal ban on these and other designer drugs, K2 and Spice could be legally purchased in many states and over the internet.
Pharming, Pilz, and Trail Mix
While not drugs, these terms, which describe the casual and often social use of prescription medication should be on every parents radar. Pilz is the teen term for any prescription medication taken for recreational use. Pharming means gathering and using “pilz” stolen from their homes and the homes of others. Trail Mix is something that may be found at parties and social events and is a combination of “pilz”.
Monday, March 19th, 2012
Do you know if your teen is being bullied? Image via Wikipedia
It is on the news. It is on the web. It is in your child’s school. You know that bullying is a problem and are confident you could help your child if they were being bullied. You may be right; but the reality is, you might not even know that it’s happening. Studies have shown that although almost 50% of children are bullied at some point in their life, less than half of them will talk to their parents about what is happening. If the bullying is happening in cyberspace, that drops to 5% according to StopCyberBullying.org. In order to protect your child, you need to know what to watch for and when to step in and take a stand for your child while teaching them to stand up for themselves.
Here are 7 signs your child may be the victim of bullying.
1. They Stop Being Social
Tweens and teens are, by their very nature, social creatures. They have entered the part of their adolescence when the opinions of friends and peers become more important than those of their parents and families. If your formerly social teen suddenly stops spending hours on the phone, texting at dinner, posting everything to Facebook, or playing their favorite online game, you should take that as a big red flag. Watch for a suddenly shrinking social circle, unwillingness to participate in activities like dance classes, sports, youth groups, or extracurricular activities they have always enjoyed.
2. Acting Out at Home
When teens are unhappy, stressed, or struggling with issues they can’t fix, like being the victim of a bully, they often lash out at the people who love them like parents and siblings. This is a normal response called transference and is a red flag for parents. Pay attention if your teenager’s attitude toward family members radically changes and they start lashing out angrily at younger brothers and sisters or you.
3. Avoiding School or Other Places
Teens who suddenly resist going to school without any stated reason may be struggling with a bully. This holds true for other places as well, especially if it is a place where they generally spend time with their friends or other teens their age.
4. Grades Take a Nosedive
If your A and B student suddenly starts getting D’s and F’s, you may need to consider that they are being bullied before exacerbating the problem by getting angry, imposing punishments, or otherwise responding to the grades themselves.
5. Unexplained Illnesses
If your otherwise healthy teen suddenly seems to be sick with generalized, non-specific symptoms all the time, it can be a sign that they are being bullied. It is important to have them checked out by their pediatrician or family doctor in order to rule out any medical conditions, but if the doctor can’t find an underlying cause, it may be the stress of being bullied. Feeling unwell can also give teens a way to avoid going to events or interacting with people, which is another red flag.
6. Changes in Habits or Routines
If your child’s eating habits, sleeping habits, or other routines radically change overnight, it may be a red flag that they are being victimized by a bully. Teens may suddenly eat much more, stop eating, sleep all the time, have trouble sleeping, and/or experience nightmares as a result of being bullied.
7. Depressed, Hopeless, Suicidal
Teens who are being bullied can become very depressed and sad and express a feeling of hopelessness about the world and their lives. They may talk about suicide and blame themselves for things that are not their fault. While teenagers can be moody, wild shifts in mood accompanied by changes in outlook and attitude may be more than just hormones.
If you suspect your child is being bullied, talk to them, talk to their medical provider, talk to the school, and keep talking until you feel confident that your child’s well-being is not being endangered by another child’s bullying behavior. If bullying is confirmed, you will want to find a counselor who can also help you and your teen process the effects of bullying on their self esteem.