Everything parents need to know about texting

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Everything parents need to know about texting

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Kids text a lot, the average is 50 - 60 a day, outgoing; 50 - 60 a day, incoming. Any parent knows that they're often staring at this phone more than they're staring at you, and it's really important when you first give a child a phone, and they start this whole texting to, (1) get an unlimited plan, (2) it's very, very important for your child to know that any time you want to look at the phone, you're the one who pays the bills; you get to look at the phone and you get to look at the texts. It's actually important for you to monitor them in the beginning, because what kids don't understand is, this isn't a private communication, they don't understand that it's very easy for one of their friends to take their text and send it to everybody. There is a new phenomenon - it's not that new anymore - called sexting, where kids take pictures of themselves, and they may do an inappropriate picture, and a girl doesn't understand that she's just sending it to a boy, and often these photographs can be spread quickly, so it's very important for you to monitor what they do, and talk to them about what they do. Another very important thing is kids start getting really obsessed with this constant ability to communicate with their friends, and because mobile phones are so easy to use, they can use them 24/7 anywhere they are. It's very, very important you want to make sure that they don't have it in the bedroom when they're supposed to be sleeping so often we let them charge - I used to charge my phone next to my bedroom, but when my teenager got a phone, I decided the family policy is we all charge everything downstairs in the kitchen, because the problem is if the child has the phone next to the bed and the text goes off, it's a stimuli and that stimuli gets them engaged, and they won't want to sleep, they'll want to keep talking to their friends. You need to make sure that that phone is out of the bedroom so that they get a good night's sleep from whatever time the child's bedtime is.

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Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD

Regional Director, Common Sense Media

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, the leading non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Yalda's own research with the Children's Digital Media at UCLA was written about in the New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more. As an expert on media’s effects on children, Yalda has been featured on the BBC News, KPCC, the LA Times and many other news outlets. Her awards include UCLA's Psychology in Action Award for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's GSRF. Yalda's former career as a Senior VP at MGM, in film production, informs her perspective that media content has great power to socialize children, to inspire and teach as well as to be used inappropriately. In her talks, she brings her deep knowledge of the latest research about how children ages eight to 18 use media, as well as a realistic understanding of how digital natives use media from her experiences with her two children, ages 10 and 13.  Her newest book, Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age will be published in Fall 2015. 

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