"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Electronics (Computers/Video Games/Television/Cell Phones)

John's Most Recent Articles

Remove the Smart Phone, Regain the Child

Posted on 2/7/2017

As regular readers of this column already know, I am completely, one hundred percent opposed to children, including teenagers still living at home, being in possession of smart phones. No parent...

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Your Child Doesn't Need a Smart Phone

Posted on 6/21/2016

Q: Our 12-year-old has a smart phone. I know you don’t approve, but all—and I do mean all—of his friends have them and texting is how they communicate. I don’t think, under the circumstances, that...

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Electronic Devices Do Children No Favors

Posted on 2/10/2016

A 4-year-old boy informed his preschool teacher—a friend of mine—that he’d broken his iPad. “Oh!” my friend said. “What a shame. Did you drop it?” “No,” the boy said,...

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Something's Gotta Give, and That Something Is Electronics

Posted on 2/2/2016

Q: We would like to limit our 16-year-old son’s video game and cell phone time. We think homework should come first and then free time. He wants to relax with his video game and phone after...

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Kids Minds Do Matter - Reading vs Social Media

Posted on 4/22/2014

The Wall Street Journal says there’s no difference between a child whose primary interest is reading and a child who uses social media obsessively. In WSJ’s March 22-23 “Mind and Matter” column,...

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Video Games - Again!

Posted on 4/8/2014

Q: Our 14-year-old son seems depressed-to us, at least. His principal sees no sign of depression but thinks he's socially anxious. The subjects of counseling and medication have come up. We have...

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Keep a Sharp Eye on Electronics

Posted on 1/28/2014

Q: Our 13-year-old son has had an iPod for the last 3 years. We've always made use of the parental restrictions to make sure that he could only access "clean" music, movies, and websites. When I...

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Teen Son's Problems Related to Video Games

Posted on 12/17/2013

Q: Over the past year, the relationship between our 14-year-old son and his sisters has deteriorated markedly and is causing major problems in our family. He won't speak to them and says he hates...

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Thumb Sucking - Revisited

Posted on 8/27/2013

In a recent column I said thumb-sucking is not, as was once thought, a sign of insecurity or other psychological problems. Well-adjusted children suck their thumbs and grow up to be...

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Dealing with Electronics

Posted on 7/2/2013

I often hear real-life parenting stories that evoke two equally strong feelings: on the one hand, sorrow; on the other, gratefulness. I am saddened to hear these stories, always told to me...

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Recent Questions

Baby Loves Music!

Posted today

I have a 14 month old who loves to listen to music. During the day, he will use sign language to tell me he wants to listen to music and I will turn Pandora on the TV. There is no music video but...

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Teenagers, Technology and Life

Posted 1 week ago

With the deluge of technology in children's lives today, once the children reach their teens, including late teens, what would you consider to be fair usage rules in the home for both computers...

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Son Obsessed with Pokemon

Posted on 5/17/2017

Hello! Our son is obsessed! Obsessed with one thing at a time to the point of not completing school work to do it. Right now it's Pokemon. He has a screen time limit - one 30 min show after...

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High Schoolers & the Internet

Posted on 5/10/2017

Please help me navigate the internet access issue for highschoolers. You say for them to do their homework in their own rooms (so they know they are responsible) but don't have TVs and internet...

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9 yo boy needs boom lowered

Posted on 4/13/2017

My youngest son is 9 years old. He has an older brother who is 11 years old. My 9 year has always had a temper/anger problem when things don't go his way. He reacts by having a tantrum. He has...

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6 year old's disturbing comments

Posted on 3/31/2017

Our fairly happy 6 year (almost) 7 year old has said a few disturbing things recently. About a week ago out of the blue he told me that he has thoughts of hurting/killing someone with a knife. ...

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Disobedience or Addiction?

Posted on 3/1/2017

Dear John, Our almost-15-yr-old son has been disobeying our rule of no Xbox on school nights but last week was a doozy. When we were away for the weekend, he got his 16-yr-old sister to drive...

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12 yo Social Life Taking Over Grades

Posted on 2/13/2017

My 12 yo daughter has gone from straight A's in elementary school to C's & D's in middle school. It's not because she can't do the work, she chooses not to. Her friends and social life seem to be...

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Appropriate Age for Cell Phone

Posted on 2/12/2017

You do not recommend teens have cell phones At what point, do you think it is ok for a person to have one? When they can work and pay for it themselves?

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Cell phone give and take

Posted on 1/14/2017

In the chapter in Teen Proofing about consequences, John does not mention electronics or cell phones. I know he does not feel that kids should have them in the first place, but for those of us...

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