Dear Smartphone: Teen in Car

DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: I AM THE MOTHER OF A TEEN AGE BOY. HE GOT HIS DRIVER’S LICENSE LAST YEAR. I LET HIM USE MY CAR ON WEEKENDS AND WHEN HE GOES ON A DATE. I JUST RECEIVED A TEXT MESSAGE THAT HE PROBABLY MEANT TO SEND TO HIS FRIENDS. I AM FAIRLY SURE HE WAS ON THE ROAD WHEN HE SENT IT. Worried Sick, Sacramento

Dear Worried Sick: You have reason to be concerned and as a responsible parent you must take action. Teenagers have a high accident rate than any other age group. In the U.S. in 2015, 2,333 teens ages 16–19 were killed and 235,845 were injured by a vehicle crash.

You could install an app that will shut off his phone when he drives. Here is a list of apps that Verizon posted, and most of them work on either an Continue reading “Dear Smartphone: Teen in Car”

Dear Smartphone: Homework or Phonework?

DEAR MS SMARTPHONE: MY TWO GIRLS GO BACK TO SCHOOL THIS WEEK. ONE OF THEM IS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL AND THE YOUNGER ONE IS IN EIGHTH GRADE.   I AM WORRIED THAT THEY WILL NOT BE SO ATTENTIVE TO THEIR SCHOOL WORK THIS YEAR BECAUSE THEY SPEND SO MUCH TIME ON THEIR PHONES. THEY GET LOTS OF HOMEWORK. SoCal Mom, Los Angeles

Dear SoCal Mom: Almost every parent thinks about this issue when school begins anew. I recommend two books that help parents achieve a school/media balance. One is called “The Art of Screen Time” by Anya Kamenetz and the other is “Reader:Come Home” by Maryanne Wolf.  I  recommend that you prepare your students to be deep learners by insisting Continue reading “Dear Smartphone: Homework or Phonework?”

Dear Smartphone: Ear Buds for Buds?

DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE:  MY FRIENDS AND I LIKE TO SHARE OUR PLAYLISTS. WE USUALLY DO THIS ON THE BUS TO AND FROM SCHOOL. SOMETIMES MY FRIENDS  ASK ME TO SHARE THEIR EARBUDS BUT I AM RELUCTANT TO DO THIS. IT GROSSES ME OUT. AM I WRONG? Helen, Goleta

Dear Helen: It sounds like you are on the right track (no pun intended). Although sharing ear buds seems as innocent as say, sharing a milkshake with a straw, the experts say otherwise. Apparently, we all have unique ear-bacteria, and when you share buds you are doubling the microbial flora in your ears.   This can lead to infections and worse. Tell your friends you are getting over an earache, and you don’t think it’s safe for them.