John's Articles

Keep Kids Away From Screen-Based Devices

Posted on 4/12/2022

Psychologist, author, and professor Russell Barkley, widely regarded as one of America’s leading ADHD experts, used to be (and may, for all I know, still be) fond of ridiculing me in his public...

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Smartphone Addiction Is Real

Posted on 3/10/2021

Concerning my prior use of the word “addiction” in association with smart phones and children (including teens), some people think I am speaking figuratively. To set the record straight: No, I am...

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The Realities of Smartphones and Teenagers

Posted on 9/20/2020

A mother in California seeks her pastor’s opinion on allowing her fifteen-year-old son to have a smartphone. The boy claims that if he can’t use social media, he will have no friends. Mom is...

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Teenage Girls and Boys Respond to Technology Differently

Posted on 10/2/2019

Q: We held off giving our oldest daughter a smartphone until she was fifteen, the age at which we allowed her older brother to have one. We read your column weekly in our hometown newspaper and...

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Parenting in an Age of Technology: Video Game Addiction

Posted on 4/16/2019

Julie Jargon is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. Heretofore, she has written about food companies like Starbucks and McDonalds. As of April 2, however, Ms. Jargon is writing a WSJ column...

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Simple Solutions for Teens, Tantrums and Smartphones

Posted on 12/4/2018

Q: Our 15-year-old daughter is very demanding and, to be honest, self-centered. One of the things she does is ask one of us for something and demand an instant decision, as in, “Can I go to the...

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Take Smartphone Away from Sassy Teen

Posted on 2/21/2018

Q: When our daughter, an only child, turned thirteen and entered the 8th grade, it was like a switch was flipped. Almost overnight, she went from being a sweet, respectful and obedient child who...

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Video Game Addiction Worsening Problem for Teens

Posted on 9/6/2017

Responding to my recent columns on video games and smart phones, a reader asks what the problem is, thus proving that these devices can and do cause serious harm to one’s cognitive hardware. He,...

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Parents Should Not Allow Smartphones

Posted on 8/9/2017

When I was a child, a popular comic strip was "There Oughta Be a Law." It ran in the paper that came to our doorstep every morning and was one of the first things I went to when it was my turn to...

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Control the Controller, Defeat the (Video Game) Addiction

Posted on 7/26/2017

Have you ever heard of an addict who was cured of his or her addiction because someone limited, but did not eliminate, their access to the substance or behavior in question? No, you have not. Is...

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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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Electronic Media: From Bad to Worse

Posted on 8/21/2012

Q: Our 13-year-old daughter has been mature for her age from early on. She takes advanced classes and makes straight A's. She's also very talented musically. We think, however, that she has become...

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Give Children What They Need and Little of What They Want

Posted on 11/22/2011

Respect children; don't idolize them A young mother who identified herself as a practitioner of "attachment parenting" recently told me that "children should be approached with reverence." I...

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Technology and Household Chores

Posted on 10/4/2011

Skip the app for children's chores Full disclosure in four parts: First, I am not a tech-savvy person and never intend to become one. Second, I am convinced that the less technology, the better...

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8-Year-Old Boy Video Games

Posted on 8/2/2011

Q. We have taken video game privileges away from our 8-year-old son for various misbehaviors, but now he's sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to play them anyway. If we confine him to...

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Violent Video Games Damage Children

Posted on 7/19/2011

Video game ruling is supremely foolish I believe it is vital that First Amendment rights be protected, and I further believe that doing so may sometimes require ruling in favor of speech that...

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16-Month-Old Son - Read to Child When Ready

Posted on 6/14/2011

Read to toddlers when they're ready Q: In your book on 2-year-olds, you recommend reading to a child from early on. My problem is that every time I attempt to read to my 16-month-old son he...

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Cell Phones and Texting

Posted on 3/29/2011

Teach teens cellphone manners A reader asks if I have ever written a column on texting while eating in restaurants. She writes: "Recently my husband and I observed a small group at a table near...

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15 Resolutions For Parents

Posted on 1/4/2011

15 resolutions for parents Given that this is the first column of a new year, I'm proposing a number of parenting New Year's Resolutions for my readers to consider. The list is by no means...

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Growing Up in the 1950s

Posted on 8/31/2010

What today's kids are missing What do today's children seriously lack that children in the 1950s and before enjoyed in abundance? To assist the reader in figuring out the answer before it is...

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Video Game Squabbles

Posted on 8/3/2010

Game sparks squabbles Q: Against our better judgment, my husband and I allowed our kids to spend their savings on a video game gadget. Shortly thereafter, they began bickering constantly with...

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No Cell Phones at School

Posted on 2/2/2010

Cell phones don't belong at school Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, has written an online essay calling on school systems to prohibit students from having cell...

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Ex-Wife Giving Lavish Gifts to 7-Year-Old Daughter

Posted on 1/12/2010

Stop lavish gifts from ex Q. Both my husband and I have 7-year-olds from previous marriages. My husband's ex-wife routinely sends her daughter home from visits with new presents. The last few...

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When Should a Child Get a Cell Phone

Posted on 12/8/2009

Time for a phone? Quite a number of readers have asked when I think a child should get a cell phone. My answer is "When the child is able to pay for the phone and the service." I have yet to...

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Back-To-School Tips for Parents

Posted on 9/8/2009

BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIPS FOR PARENTS Several teachers asked if I would reprint a column that first appeared about 10 years ago. The subject is my five top back-to-school tips for parents. Before...

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Children and Cell Phones

Posted on 6/9/2009

*The Inverse Relationship Between Parent Backbones and Child Cell Phones: The other day, someone wrote and asked me when a child should receive a cell phone. My answer: "When the child is able...

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Video Game Addicition

Posted on 6/9/2009

*Video Game Addiction: Once again, I am proven to have amazing powers of prescience. In 1988, I wrote a column in which I proposed that video games were addictive - not figuratively, but...

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Parenting 101: More Chores, Less Electronics

Posted on 12/2/2008

MORE CHORES, LESS TV GOOD FOR KIDS This is the conclusion of Parenting 101, a two-part overview of the fundamentals of parenting. We've established that parenting is about leadership and...

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Youngsters Don't Need To Use Computers

Posted on 7/3/2007

YOUNGSTERS DON'T NEED TO USE COMPUTERS Q: The first time our children visited the grandparents this summer, Grandpa began asking the oldest if he was going to computer camp this summer, if he...

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8th Grader - Defiant, School Issues, and Video Games

Posted on 2/13/2007

THROW AWAY THE XBOX, AND YOU'LL CHANGE SON'S ATTITUDE Q:Our eighth-grade son is obviously intelligent, and is in his school's gifted and talented program. Furthermore, he scored in the top 5...

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Video Games are Addictive

Posted on 1/23/2007

STARVE VIDEO-GAME ADDICTION BY SERVING SOME COLD TURKEY In the December 2006 issue of Chronicles magazine, retired professor of history Clyde Wilson (University of South Carolina) writes...

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TV Issues

Posted on 10/17/2006

IF YOU'VE TURNED OFF THE TV, HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR KIDS? While winging it from Charlotte to Des Moines, Iowa, last month, I passed the time by reading American Airlines' in-flight magazine,...

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Video Game Issue

Posted on 6/6/2006

THINK VIDEO GAMES ARE OK? LISTEN TO THIS MOM'S STORY When video games first came out, I warned my readers that they were not appropriate for children. I maintained they were not games; rather,...

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11- and 14-Year-Old Computer Use

Posted on 9/13/2005

SUPERVISE CHILDREN'S INTERNET USE ESTABLISH FIRM GUIDELINES, AND THAT SHOULD INCLUDE LOOKING AT THEIR E-MAILS Q: My husband and I have allowed our 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son...

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TV and Kids

Posted on 6/1/2004

TV AND KIDS: I TOLD YOU SO, 25 YEARS AGO In 1979, I wrote a feature-length article for JOHN ROSEMOND - subsequently picked up by other newspapers - in which I opined that we knew enough about...

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Family Gets Rid of TV

Posted on 9/30/2003

TV COLD-TURKEY CAN BE A FEAST FOR THE FAMILY Every so often, I receive an especially moving, interesting, and/or compelling letter or e-mail from a reader. One such letter recently arrived from...

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Children and Computers

Posted on 5/27/2003

LIMIT KIDS' PC USE TILL THEY'RE LITERATE Were he alive today, Samuel Taylor Coleridge might well have written, "PCs, PCs in every class, and no child is made to think." Psychologist Jane...

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"Jump-Start" Programs are Worthless

Posted on 10/29/2002

MANNERS FIRST, THEN MOUSE PADS Q: What is your opinion of the spate of computer-driven academic "jump start" programs for children as young as 3, if not younger? All of the mothers in my...

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Link Between Childhood Obesity and Video Games

Posted on 10/1/2002

VIDEO GAMES ROOT OF HEALTH PROBLEMS AS KIDS GET ADDICTED TO SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE, WEIGHT GAIN FOLLOWS "Oftentimes, the problem begins with Gameboy." So says my good friend and advisor,...

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10-Year-Old Frightened by Certain People

Posted on 9/17/2002

TV IS THE ROOT OF YOUR BOY'S FRIGHT Q: Our 10-year-old son thinks certain people look frightening. When he sees one of these supposedly frightening people, he can work himself up to the point...

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Medication and TV

Posted on 4/9/2002

AUTHORS WAGE WAR ON RITALIN, TV Go into almost any elementary school in America just before noon and you'll see a slowly moving line of children outside the main office. Ask and you'll be told...

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