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Surging Internet Use Cutting Into Family Time
Date:6/18/2009

For all the potential damage involved in Internet usage, there are also numerous benefits, said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, director of the Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center.

"Kids have the opportunity to learn, play, socialize and participate in social life. It's communication besides pleasure," he said. "It may look as though they're wasting time, but spending time online is essential. Kids can participate in culture and connect with others with similar interests."

But, Koplewicz added, "Parents need to counter the trend towards decreased family time. While there are benefits to Internet usage, it doesn't mean you can let the machine take over."

Parents need to consciously plan family time, which can include playing computer games together, doing online projects together, having regular family meal times and participating in regular outings. They also need to monitor their children's use of the Internet, including having access to a history of sites visited, he said.

"The more involved parents are in their teen's life, the more valued teens feel. It's a myth that teens do not want their parents in their life," Koplewicz said.

More information

Find out more at the Center for the Digital Future.



SOURCES: Michael Gilbert, senior fellow, Center for the Digital Future, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California; Harold Koplewicz, M.D., director, Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City


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