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Letters: Raising teens in a cyber world

April 15, 2014

Re "Whether it's bikes or bytes, teens are teens," April 13

danah boyd articulates the practical aspects of technology on teenagers' wired brains — although some of her claims can be argued — but she fails to address the more worrisome injurious effect, such as the exclusion of deep thinking and social development.

Social development cannot be acquired through the cyber world because body language, facial expressions and the ability to evaluate someone's emotional reactions cannot be assessed without face-to-face interaction.

Another concern is that the escalation in texting and Internet communications poses a threat to empathetic relationships with other people.

The practice of texting at the dinner table, a practice that boyd seems to dismiss, is just as troublesome. The fact that this might be acceptable behavior is a perfect illustration of why many teenagers have problems communicating and interacting with adults.

Giuseppe Mirelli

Los Angeles

boyd is right on the button about letting teens more freely explore technology.

Part of being a teen and growing up means growing away. Kids need to practice their autonomy, and that means testing limits; this puts them on the path to becoming self-reliant adults. More and more parental restrictions only drive them to practice wherever they can, including technologically.

The world may have changed, but typical development has not. It is a fine line, but parents need to be more consultant and less director.

Betsy Brown Braun

Pacific Palisades

The writer is a child development specialist.

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