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Health & Parenting

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TV, Texting Interfering With Parent-Child Talks?

Parents Say It's Difficult to Broach Serious Subjects When Their Teens Are Distracted by TV, Cell Phones, Social Networking Sites

Media Consumption Among Teens continued...

“These new findings present a unique opportunity for parents to play a more active role in what their kids are watching, monitor how they are spending their time online, and remain aware of the impact all of this media consumption is having on their impressionable teens,” says Steve Pasierb, president of Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “We know that kids today are bombarded with pro-drug and drinking messages via everything from song lyrics, movies, and video games to social networking sites.”

He says in a news release that videos of children abusing cough medicine and other common household products in an attempt to get high are easily accessible online, making it more important than ever for parents to break through the new media cacophony to make their voices heard.

Partnership for a Drug-Free American says parents should talk often with their kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol use, and the organization has created a web site,, offering parents a new way to start a dialogue with youngsters about avoiding risky behaviors.

The organization says parents can use email, cell phones, and even texting to begin such conversations with teens.

Talking With Your Teen

The partnership has created a free, downloadable guide, called “Time to Text,” on its web site that offers parents tips on how to text, and offers examples of different messages to send to teens.

“Some parents may still feel apprehensive about embracing media and technology as a way of communicating with their children, but in today’s world, it is vital that they connect with their kids in any way possible,” Pasierb says in a news release. “It is important that we help bridge the technology gap between parents and ‘Generation Text.’”

The web site also offers tips about how to encourage smart behavior in their children. These include:

  • Communicate with them about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
  • Become media savvy enough to use social media and texting to remind young people about smart behaviors.
  • Realize that text messaging is a primary form of communication among teens, and that it is a non-confrontational means of discussing things like using alcohol and drugs and the importance of curfews.
  • Learn the lingo of texting, which involves shortening words and using acronyms, such as LOL, which means laugh out loud. Drop vowels and learn their texting language, such as NP, which means no problem, and 143, which translates to “I love you.”
  • Don’t use all capital letters when you’re texting unless you’re angry -- because caps suggest you’re yelling.

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