Hudson Valley Parent

October 2013

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web sites that introduce adolescents to such topics as self-starvation, mutilation, racism and violent sex, as well as gambling sites — all accessible to teens. Substitution and cyberbullying Socialization on the Internet can be an excellent adjunct for the healthy development of social skills in adolescence. However, the Internet can also be a substitute for what an adolescent doesn't find in real life. Individual or small-group, face-to-face communication is often being eclipsed by the establishment of relationships and friendships on the Internet. Socially anxious teens may substitute cyber-friends as an alternative to real-life friends, and become further socially-isolated from reality, creating any image of themselves they choose without the benefit of social feedback. The Internet can also become "addictive" for some teens. Too much time on the Internet can keep kids away from other healthy outlets, especially physical activity and face-to-face social interactions. Additionally, "cyberbullying" has become an increasing problem among adolescents. Cyberbullying, different from face-to-face bullying, is when a teen spreads rumors or insults by means of text messages, e-mails, blogs or posts embarrassing pictures or videos of the victim on the Internet. Like any new medium embraced by youngsters, parents need to moni- tor their children's or adolescent's activities. In the '80s, the warning message to parents was, "It's 10 o'clock, do you know where your kids are?" Today's message to parents should be, "It's 10 o'clock, do you know what your kids are looking at?" Paul Schwartz, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and education at Mount Saint Mary College. EDITOR'S NOTE: Is there a subject you would like Dr. Schwartz to address? He is a wealth of information and always willing to share. Email me at Visit and listen to Dr. Schwartz talk about kids and violence. Hudson Valley Parent 9 n mad science birthday party after school courses workshops camps urgent care at the greater hudson valley family health center family medicine family doctors

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