"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 2 weeks ago

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

12 yo Social Life Taking Over Grades

Posted 1 week ago

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 2 weeks ago

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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11 yo Sneakiness

Posted on 1/2/2017

My oldest daughter has developed some very sneaky behavior. The minute my back is turned or I'm out of the house for a few minutes she's pulling something. Mostly its been with electronics, taking...

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2-year-old whining for a playmate

Posted on 10/14/2016

I have a wonderful just turned two year old son. He loves to play, but he doesn't love to play by himself. I also have a 5 month old, and work part time from home, so it's important that he learn...

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The cell phone has to go.

Posted on 10/2/2016

How much monitoring do you recommend on a 16 year old's phone? Sometimes, she seems to go to great lengths to hide things from us. At one point, she was having contact with a drug dealer (high...

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Laptop Use in Elementary School

Posted on 9/14/2016

Good Morning. My daughter's school wants to introduce a new IT vision starting from next year with the year 4 class. It would involve the parents and the school together purchasing laptops for...

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2 yo Demanding Attention

Posted on 9/13/2016

HI there, I asked a question about my rather naughty toddler about a week ago and you have asked me where do I want to start - so I decided to write back. I followed your advice and started on...

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Monitoring Cell Phone Texts with Apps

Posted on 6/4/2016

Along with the majority, if not all of his friends, our middle school aged son has a cellular phone. It seems that most parents monitor their child's text message activity. Applications are...

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Monitoring 17-Year-Old's Cell Phone Texts

Posted on 4/16/2016

My son will be 17 in July. Do you think it is inappropriate for me to read his text messages without his knowledge? He has been experimenting sexually with girls, touching and heavy kissing...

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