Acrobat PDF version of Growing Together also available
health and safety information. Join hundreds of other parents receiving
this monthly news- letter by e-mail.
Go to our website to
If you prefer, call
Together is published quarterly for parents and families in the Miami Valley
area by The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. The purpose of Growing
Together is to show how
are working together to
children healthy and safe.
Together are available by writing to
c/o Marketing Communica-
tions, One Children’s
Plaza, Dayton, Ohio,
or by calling
and comments are also appreciated.
Visit our web
site at www.
– your online
source of child
health and safety information
David Kinsaul, FACHE President and Chief Executive Officer
Vice President, Marketing and Development
Susan A. Brockman
Tom Suttman Dayton
Children's Staff Photographer
|Teens and screens:
Helping kids manage their electronic world
His Dayton Daily News column on preteens, sex and the internet was one of Dr. Greg Ramey’s most popular. It was no surprise then that a standing-room-only crowd attended his presentation December 3 on teens and their online world. Dr. Ramey spoke to parents at Dayton Children’s Outpatient Care Center – Springboro.
So, what are kids doing on the internet? Preteen children have discovered sex on the internet. Internet entries for “sex” and “porn” are the fourth and sixth most popular items searched by children 8 to 12 years of age. By the age of 11, two out of every three youngsters in France have viewed a pornographic movie. In many ways, the internet and the contacts made there have replaced the parent as the go-to source for sexual information.
What does this mean and how should parents respond?
Parents fear that internet usage by preteens will result in victimization by sexual predators. That fear is generally unfounded. The group at highest risk for sexual enticement by adults is adolescent girls with a history of sexual abuse. These girls are looking more for emotional support than for sexual relationships, but enter into the latter to achieve the former. Physical force is not involved in 95 percent of these cases.
Preteens cruise the internet for “porn” and “sex” for a variety of purposes. Sometimes they are just curious about concerns they can’t discuss with their parents. Girls are curious about their periods or pregnancy issues. Boys are concerned about the size of their genitals, body hair and what sexual behaviors are normal. According to Dr. Ramey, he’s seen an increasing number of preteens ask questions about homosexuality, sexual identity and various types of sexual behavior.
Preteens also use the internet for sexual excitement. With an extraordinary number of preteens having private access to computers, these kids view images that were unavailable to previous generations. “Some of these kids have described websites that are unimaginable to me as an adult,” says Dr. Ramey. “The impact on kids’ behavior and moral values won’t be known for quite some time, but I can’t believe it’s positive.”
Here is what parents should be doing:
Monitor your young child’s internet use.
A recent report by Ofcom.org revealed that 20 percent of children ages 5 to 7 years have unsupervised use of the internet. Sixteen percent of preteens have computer access in their bedrooms. Young children should not use the computer without close adult monitoring. It’s just too risky, even for well-adjusted kids from good homes.
Begin sexual education early.
Responsible parents begin talking about sexual issues with their kids at an early age and continue that dialogue throughout childhood. Beginning sexuality education with your toddler is encouraged. Use news events as a way to begin these discussions, even if it involves sensitive issues. Most parents underestimate their kids’ knowledge and interest about sex. Be casual in your approach. This lets your kids know you are comfortable with these sensitive topics.
Become computer literate.
Many parents tell me that their kids know more about computers than they do. Please don’t be proud of that fact. You can’t monitor what you don’t understand. You don’t have to provide personal information to get sexually explicit materials on the internet. Kids are doing it every day.
As with any technology, internet access has the potential for either helping or harming our children. It’s time for parents to be more aggressive in protecting kids from these risks.
See all of Dr. Ramey’s columns on our website.
Watch Dr. Ramey's presentation "Teens and Screens: Helping kids manage their electronic world" at Dayton Children’s Outpatient Care Center – Springboro
Have a question? E-mail Dr. Ramey.
|Temporary tattoos, permanent problems
Be cautious before allowing children to get henna tattoos. While natural henna is safe, it is commonly mixed with para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a chemical used to make tattoos dark black. With frequent use, skin can become sensitive to PPD. This may cause skin reactions from itchiness to blisters. Another risk is that once a child is sensitive to PPD, he or she may also be sensitive to sulfonamides, a common component of antibiotics.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), reports this cross-sensitivity is becoming more and more common.
- Natural henna is a greenish-khaki color and
is safe. If it appears jet black, it most likely contains PPD.
- Natural henna takes several hours to dry and flake off. It never works in less than an hour.
- Natural henna leaves an orange stain, which
will darken to red brown or dark brown. It will
not be black.
Another threat to children
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that children can be exposed to toxins from smokers a few days or even weeks after a cigarette is smoked. How? Small particles from cigarette smoking can remain on countertops, floors and other surfaces, and in rugs, clothing and fabrics. Children crawling on the floor or exploring their world by putting things into their mouths are at particular risk. The AAP compares this to lead poisoning – the negative effects of lead flakes and dust linger for years, exposing young children to harmful toxins.
Here are some tips to help minimize your child’s risk of thirdhand smoke:
- Hire only nonsmoking baby sitters and
care providers. Avoid having your child
spend extended periods of time in the
homes of smokers.
- If smokers visit your home, store their
belongings out of your child’s reach and
that they don’t smoke.
- While you may have quit smoking when
your child is around, minimize smoking
in areas where your child will be such as
the car or van.
TOP OF PAGE
Kohl's A Minute for Kids
Countdown to good health 5-2-1-0
Little turtles return and spread disease
Checking holiday toys for hazards
Teens and screens:
Helping kids manage their electronic world
Temporary tattoos, permanent problems
Thirdhand smoke another threat to children
Dayton Children's Focus
ENT and pediatric surgical services
Going the extra mile
More about ENT, surgical services
Pediatric Sleep Center
Helping families get a good night's sleep
Why Dayton Children's sleep center?
New doctor joins urgent care in Springboro
Springboro urgent care offers appointments
TOP OF PAGE