Until recently, my 17-year-old son rarely answered his cell phone when I called. It would just go to voice mail. But when I’d send him a text message saying “Call me now!” (sometimes “Call me now or you’re grounded!”), my phone would ring almost immediately. I made it clear that if I couldn’t reach him there was little point in me paying for the phone, and things got better. I think that it didn’t occur to Zack to answer the phone. Except for me, my husband and his grandmother, everyone communicates with him by text message.
He’s not alone. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center released last week, two-thirds of teen texters are more likely to text their friends than talk to them on the phone. Here are some other interesting stats from the survey:
Other stories we’ve been reading:
Another court case rules that vaccines don’t cause autism. Eczema drugs need tougher warnings. Deep brain stimulation reduces epileptic seizures. [Read one patient’s story of how brain stimulation is keeping her epileptic seizures at bay.]
The First Lady tells food makers to hurry up on making healthy food. PepsiCo pledges not to sell sugary beverages in school. Kraft plans to cut sodium levels in food products. [Read Thrive’s stories on childhood obesity and healthful eating.]
MTV launches an online “morality meter” to help teens understand the difference between “digital use” and “digital abuse.” [Read whether or not parents are legally responsible when their kids engage in sexting.] Learning may be tougher for the teen brain. [Read about Frances Jensen, MD’s research into why teen brains really are different.]
Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.
School life for children after cancer takes a toll. Children’s Nelson Aquino, CRNA, reflects on his life-altering experience in Haiti. There are ways to confront bullying and cyberbullying head-on. Children’s injury prevention expert offers fire safety tips for your family. Learn how to make snacking a healthy time for your child. Are infants who swim more likely to get asthma? Girls’ soccer injuries are preventable. What are parents’ legal responsibilities when it comes to sexting? Is there such a thing as Internet overload for your child’s brain?
Media expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, answers your questions about media use. Last week, he discussed whether or not vampire fiction can contribute to a child’s anxiety.
Here’s this week’s question:
Q: I just recently found some sexual pictures in my son’s phone and I am totally shocked and scared. I do not know what to do and if I should tell his girlfriend’s parents or not. Is this a crime punishable to the parents of these “sexting” teens?
-Asked by Trish on Education.com’s JustAsk forum, after reading the article Is Your Child Sexting? What Parents Need to Know …