An Easier Way to Control Internet Use

We’ve written before about various ways to monitor, control, and spy on your teens’ internet and phone use.   If you multiply all the cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc. in your home, it’s no wonder parents get overwhelmed and give up.  So instead of trying to manage, one by one, each and every wi-fi connected device in the home, one product can help you do it all from one place…the router. recently reported on The Skydog web app and Smart Family Router (, which can simplify and organize content control over many devices in your home, easily!  Said one parent reviewer on, “This amazing bit of technology is actually useful, relevant and solves a number of problems that I, as a parent of a teenage son, have been trying to solve for years now.  What the Skydog will do for you is create safe zones for the users and devices that connect to your network. Depending on the level of filtering you want to apply to each person, you can drop each family member and their respective devices into groups that will monitor and block inappropriate destinations based upon rules you define.”

Gaming. Is it Ruining Boys?

An interesting graphic (link here) reveals some startling statistics about boys and gaming, and connects the dots to conclude that gaming may be a contributor to a host of ills among boys, including lower grades, lower SAT scores, and higher dropout rates.  While it’s impossible to say that gaming is a cause of these things, it’s a legitimate concern.

Why the focus on boys?  For one thing, four times as many boys as girls exhibit signs of addiction to gaming. Fifty percent of boys (versus 14% of girls) admit to owning a “Mature” or “Adults Only” game.  In addition, a Stanford study indicates that boys’ brains are more wired to receive rewards from gaming. has a wealth of information for teens and parents (and adult gaming addicts as well), including symptoms of addiction, a list of the most addictive games, and suggestions for treatment.

Competing with Media for Your Child’s Time?

Did you know that a recent Kaiser Foundation study found that “young people (8 to 18) spend an average of 53 hours a week using electronic media?”  It may not surprise you that this heavy media use doesn’t translate into happier lives:  “The more time they spend with electronic media, the less happy they tend to be.”

If you’re already concerned about your teen’s media use with respect to content, you may also be concerned about how it is affecting your relationship with your child.  A new study shows that over one third of parents report a concern with how TV, computers and video games are affecting parent-child communication.  As a parent of college age kids, I’ve already learned that they are more likely to read a text message than pick up a voice call from me, and may be more likely to want to read an article I send them via e-mail than have a conversation about current events or social issues.  Like me, you may be concerned about the decrease in “face-time” with your family.

This is a perfect opportunity for me to invite you to our Amplify Parent Connection meeting (click here for more info) on August 30.  We will be talking about Teens and Media…what they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing through media, and how we can become more media savvy as we try to keep the lines of communication open and the ties of relationship strong.  You will come away with resources that can help you protect, guide and connect.

Offensive online games where you least expect

Imagine your pre-teen or teen coming across these games:  “Candy the Naughty Cheerleader, Bloody Day (“Back alley butchering has never been so much fun. . . . How many kills can you rack?”) and the Perry the Sneak series, where gamers take the role of a peeping Tom  trying to catch revealing glimpses of scantily clad and naked women.” These are all games on, which youth can link to from Nickelodeon’s websites, and  A report by A Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood reported that some of the games (for example, Vanessa Naughty Pics and Whack Your Ex) were pulled after a feature on Good Morning America alerted parents, but I took a quick look, and many offensive games remain.  Sigh…and we parents thought we could relax and at least trust Nickelodeon.

Mixed Messages

Trying to protect our kids is always a main concern for a parent. We want to keep them safe in all aspects of their lives. So when it comes to the media, this can be tough. Our kids are exposed to all kinds of messages: billboards, music, TV, movies…..the list can go on and on.

With the recent release of the “Twilight” sequel, I want parents to have  a heads up to what their child may be watching. To be equipped with the right tools for the job. Now without seeing the movie I don’t have an opinion on it, but I have heard there is some confusing messages in it. This is always a great opportunity to talk with your child about what he or she thinks and feels. These are a few good sites to visit and receive info and reviews on the stuff our kids are into. If you are not watching what they are, you can get the facts about it. Check it out!


Balancing Time

Are idle hands the devil’s tool, or is keeping busy becoming an obstacle to your child’s personal development?   These days our children seemed to be grouped in two categories; the over committed students who are involved in every sport and extracurricular activity offered in a 50 mile radius, and the typical student who comes home and vegges on TV and the internet who occasionally peeks their head out to eat or briefly interact with other members of the household when forced.  In the midst of all this, whether your child is involved in what is perceived as constructive or wasteful is there enough time being devoted to what truly matters? Do kids get enough time with their parents? Is there enough time devoted to relationship building in the home amongst family?

Proof in the Programming

Scientists have finally found a concrete link between the sexual content in television, and teenage pregnancy. Check out the article here.

 And speaking of mass media, look at what scientists have discovered about video games.

From birth, our brains are programmed towards mimicry. It’s how we learn when we are very young, but it is something that continues even up into adulthood. There’s studies showing that violent and sexual images often get mixed up in the minds of youth. Parents, if you were doubtful before, be aware.

Lay down the law about what your kids can and can’t watch (or game). Spend time watching TV with them, and observing their video game habits. Discuss what you see. It will help your kid sort things out.