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It may be time for parents to “check in” on their child’s “status” as growing concern over the use of portable electronic devices raises awareness regarding our nation’s overuse of technology, especially our younger users. Health issues, both social and physical, could end up having harmful effects on our loved ones, as our connectivity skyrockets. As parents it is important to educate both yourself, and your children, on the potential hazards of being too “connected”.

An average teenager sends over 3,400 texts a month, and spends over eight hours a day in front of a screen of some sort; amounting to more time than spent at school, sleeping, or any other daily activity. This raises concern in over-connectivity, as children now face social issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, and the potential release of private or sensitive information to the public. Over sharing, and lack of education with respect to the use of the internet can cause lasting and severe mental and social problems to a child, and lead to aggression, sex, drugs, obesity, self-image and eating disorders, depression, and even suicide. Teenagers look to parents for behavioral guidelines and positive role models; limiting your connectivity, not checking your email while driving or at the dinner table, and displaying the tact and professionalism you would expect from your children with respect to technology will provide them a much needed example with which to conduct their own lives.

As technology becomes cheaper, more accessible, and commonplace in our society, education is key to protecting our nation’s children from the potential mental and social dangers of over-connectivity. College recruiters have begun reviewing facebook pages, students are starting to be rejected from Universities as a result of surfaced photos of illicit behavior uncovered by admissions boards, and mental and physical health issues such as depression and obesity are being directly linked to cyberbullying and online sexual activity. As parents, we must realize that technology is unavoidable, but it’s side effects, preventable, with help in the form of an open line of communication between you and your children.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service.

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