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Case Raising Teens


Helping an adolescent become a caring, independent and responsible adult is no small task.  Adolescence can be a confusing time of change for teens and parents alike. But while these years can be difficult, there's plenty you can do to nurture your teen and encourage responsible behavior. 

The following information is provided to help in understanding and guiding our teens for success.

Inside the Teenage Brain
A Frontline episode from that explains how the teenage brain works and the site gives information about the research, and offers advice and guideline to help support your teen.

Electronics and Teens

With the growing number of teenagers who own phones and the increase of the use of social media the impact of technology use has become a concern for parents and educators alike.  The constant use of cellphones and other technology at home and in school has created a new dynamic of teenage behavior that is often difficult to understand and respond to.  Many questions have been raised about the effect of electronic use on the teenage mind and behavior and this informational section has been created as an aid in answering those questions.  Click here for "A Parent Guide to Cyberbullying."  Click here for the brochure "Symptoms and Solutions for Cellphone Addiction".  To find out more about how to limit your child's cellphone use, read A Parent's Guide to Mobile Phones.

How much do teenagers use electronics?  How often should they be using electronics?

On average, teenagers use electronics seven and a half to ten hours per day.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time a day.

How do electronics affect my child?

Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors. Electronics also affect brain patterns and thinking, which affect a students ability to reason and learn.  Studies have shown that the use of electronic devices can lower a students grade and test scores by 25%.

Can a teenager be addicted to their phone?

Yes, in fact research has found that 77% of people from the age of 14 to 24 have cell-phone addiction, which is also known as nomophobia.

How can I tell if my teen is addicted to their phone?

The following list will help you to identify and recognize the common warning signs of cellphone addiction:

  • Excessive Compulsion to check phone:  the need to frequently check your phone without having an incoming call, text, or e-mail can be a telltale sign of cellphone addiction.
  • Usage of Phone in an Inappropriate Place:  taking the phone out at the family dinner table, using it in the bathroom, or taking it out during class are good indicators of cellphone addiction.
  • Replacing Face-To-Face Interaction:  avoiding a face-to-face conversation rather than walking over to a person and talking to them.
  • Sleep Deprivation:  having a cellphone next to their bed or pillow at night not only keeps them awake, possibly texting, but also affects their brainwaves as they sleep making unhealthy sleep deprivation.

How can I teach my child proper use of electronics?

Parents can make use of established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use. The AAP recommends that parents establish "screen-free" zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children's bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. Parents should also model proper cellphone usage for your child and set limits for when they use it.

How can I monitor my teenagers use of their cellphone?

Many cellphone companies offer applications for monitoring your child's cellphone use and even give you the ability to set what time of day they may use their phone or apps on their phone. There are also several parental control apps and software that you can use to monitor your child's electronic activity.  Just search "free Parent Control apps" on the Internet to find the right one for you. 

What if I need to contact my child during school?

If you need to contact your child during school, contact their sub-school to get a message to them or come to the office to speak to you on the sub-school phone.  This is the way schools handled communication before cellphones and it is still a valid method for communication today.