all entries with the category


Teacher troubled by electronic devices at a school concert

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz May 10, 2011 06:00 AM

At a band concert for students in grades 4-6, a family sat in front of me. During the concert, the mother showed her son (who looked to be about 3 years old) a video on their Ipod touch with the sound turned on. The father handed his daughter his cell phone with a game turned on. The little girl (about 8 years old) played the game through the national anthem and then entire concert. I found both behaviors to be really distracting to my enjoyment of the concert and also very rude to the kids who worked so hard to prepare.

What could I have said at the intermission? Is it really acceptable to allow concert attendees to occupy themselves on cell phones, especially when it is distracting and obvious to the other attendees?

From: Concerned teacher, Oxford, MA



Mom feels betrayed by friends & family. Is she over-reacting?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz April 21, 2011 06:00 AM

My 12 yr started a facebook last year (at 11). I wasn't thrilled about the idea, but wanted to give her a chance and monitored her page, etc. She started to freely put up information about our family, and that she was single, and interested in men. When I tried to explain that it is unnecessary to provide this information - she became defiant and refused to remove the info. So I took her page down.

A year later I find out that she started a new page (a day later), under an alias, and many of my friends and family are friends with her! When i confronted them, they all said that she asked them not to tell me, and they didn't want to start any drama! they also didn't think it was a problem because they were monitoring her page (for me i guess). I am completely mortified. Just when I thought I was growing with my child, adjusting and transitioning into her teen years ... now I just want to lock her up and never speak to my friends or family again. there was once life before social networking websites!

Thanks for letting me vent. Opinions welcomed.

From: Robie-lyn, Meriden, CT


10-year-olds may want Facebook, but Facebook doesn't want them

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz March 4, 2011 06:00 AM

What age should you let your child have a Facebook page? My daughter is 10 years old and wants one.

From: srqflfan, Bourne


Computer games + summer = red flag

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz July 1, 2010 06:00 AM


Any ideas on how to limit my children's almost obsessive interest in computer time?

They are ages 12, 13, and 15. Only our 15 year old has a cellphone. They all have ipods. Thankfully, they spend much time reading. We get them out of the house, to the beach, to visit family as often as we can. However, they have a lot of down time and are constantly fighting or negotiating for computer time despite the limits we have set. They are well behaved, but this computer time issue has pushed me to the limit. Even when they have a friend over they only want to play computer. Our 15 year old babysits and has a little more freedom, but it is difficult to entertain the younger two. I miss the days when they would play in the backyard for hours!

From: ML, Arlington, MA


Girls and science: Are we unconsciously sticking to outdated stereotypes?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse March 26, 2010 12:52 PM

My 10-year-old niece just got accepted to a competitive magnet middle school with a science and pre-engineering focus. She's excited about the projects, field trips, and lab time, and her interest in science has always been supported by her parents and teachers. It's tempting to take that kind of encouragement for granted, but a new study shows that when it comes to kids and science education, parents and teachers may be unconsciously clinging to stereotypes -- contributing to way women continue to lag behind men in science and technological fields.


Parenting? There's an app for that

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse March 18, 2010 10:04 AM

I regularly sing the praises of my iPhone. I used it not only to call AAA after a car accident a couple of weeks ago, but also to take photos of the damage, find directions for the tow truck driver, and work on a blog post while waiting for the tow truck to arrive. I used it as a GPS on that long road trip, and to check my email while on the road. And I use it from time to time to amuse our youngest kids, who are 5 and 3 and  surprisingly good at navigating the device, even if I haven't done more than download the apps for them. As Globe Magazine staff writer Neil Swidey pointed out in his article, "Why an iPhone could actually be good for your 3-year-old," preschool-age kids "are the purest breed yet of natives to the wireless world where the rest of us are refugees." If done the right way, with the right limits, he wrote, a smart phone can do more than buy you a few minutes of peace -- it could help your child's development as well.

Smart phones have become more than a must-have accessory for parents; while there are plenty of entertaining games out there, there are also apps that are geared specifically for moms and dads who need a bit more help navigating and simplifying parenthood. And we're not just talking iPhones here -- there are plenty of parenting apps for Droids and Blackberrys, too.


Kids today: Online, all the time?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse January 21, 2010 05:04 PM

A new study by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows that kids age 8 to 18 spend more than 53 hours a week online or in front of a TV screen. That's a little more than seven-and-a-half hours a day during which they're viewing or clicking away, not just at the computer, but on smartphones and video games as well.

Of course, they're multitasking, too; thanks to cable modems and cell phones, kids can be texting with one hand and typing or playing games with another, so they're managing to cram nearly 11 hours worth of multimedia content into those seven-plus hours, according to the report, which was released yesterday.


Video viewing in kindergarten

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz October 6, 2009 06:00 AM

Question: My child attends full day kindergarten. Each day there is a rest time. Instead of rest on Fridays they watch a "show." Is this appropriate?

From: AKM, Harwich


Long-distance parenting: Technology can help

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse September 25, 2009 11:15 AM

We talk a lot about how technology has made parenting trickier in a lot of ways. Little kids who want cell phones. Teens and huge text-messaging charges. Sexting. Facebook and online privacy issues. Cyberbullying. What you don't hear or read as much about is how technology has helped those of us who have to parent (or grandparent) from a distance.


Sexting banned in schools: Shouldn't this be obvious?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse August 27, 2009 10:30 AM

It seems obvious to us as parents: Like emails and anything you post to Facebook, text messages can go public in an instant. But while we're thinking of private information like social security numbers and credit card codes, some teenagers (and even tweens) are sending, receiving, and forwarding something far more personal: nude and semi-nude pictures of themselves.

It's called sexting, and it's become such a problem that the school board in Houston, Texas, has taken steps to ban it. Though, frankly, the fact that kids need the rules spelled out on this boggles my mind. It's like we have to add another line to the litany of Don'ts that we recite to our children: Don't drink and drive. Don't do drugs. Don't have unprotected sex. (In fact, don't have sex at all, if possible, OK? Thanks.) Don't be rude. Don't be disrespectful. Oh, and don't take any nude photos of yourself and then send them to your friends in a text message, mmmm kay?


About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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