FROM THE DESK OF THE PRINCIPAL
Cell Phone Usage and Adolescence
The most frequent reason parents give for the use of cell phones by young adolescence is security. The ability of the parent to be able to access their child at a time when the child is entering the world of afterschool activities is comforting and, for most, considered a necessity.
The child has a completely different rationale. For the child the cell phone is the social center of his universe. A cell phone gives 24/7 access to friends and friends of friends, and a smart phone allows facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat capabilities with a level of connectedness adolescence 15 years ago would never have imagined.
Cell phones open the world to your child. Unfortunately, they also open your child to the world. Research shows that the adolescent brain is not fully formed and underdeveloped areas of the brain include the ability to plan ahead and impulse control (Gail, 2014). Stir in normal teen insecurity, cyber-bullying, and sexual curiosity and the recipe for harmful interactions quickly begins to outweigh initial safety benefits.
Almost 34% of all teens admit they have been cyber bullied (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018). Studies reveal that over half of all teens admit to sexting before the age of 18 (Holder, 2014). .
With two such opposing views of cell phone usage, it is inevitable that parents and children will begin to conflict.
It is critical to set some family standards for cell phone usage. First, remind your child that the cell phone they are using belongs to you. Children under the age of 18 cannot sign a cell phone contract. Legally, the cell phone belongs to the parent, therefore, the parent should have full access to every area of the cell phone at any time. Therefore, the child is not entitled to online or texting privacy on their phone.
Secondly, children’s cell phone usage should be limited. Consider placing a limit on children’s cell phone usage and place cell phones in a charging location outside of the children’s bedrooms at night. Place strict boundaries on cell phone usage for yourself and your child during meal times. Chick fil-a recently started a program where all cell phones are placed in a box in the middle of the table during dinnertime. Take advantage of all opportunities to communicate face to face without distractions with your child. Finally, it is possible to block their online access and their texting access. Young adolescence should only be able to communicate with select family and friends. If your child’s cell phone is not being used properly, speak with your cell phone provider. It is possible to disconnect cell phone numbers for a period of time and reactivate the number later.
Adolescence is a difficult time for parents and children. Dr. Dobson often said that as parents it is our job to just help them make it through, so keep the lines of communication open by putting down your phone and doing activities with your child. If your child is a freshman in high school, you only have the possibility of 1,185 dinners at home before you are dropping her off in a dorm room at college. Use your time wisely.
Resources for Parents
The teen brain: still under construction
Teens and technology: Managing cell phone usage
Internet safety information for teens: getting it right
A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety
Most internet sex offenders aim at teens, not young children, study shows
Online with a sexual predator
Stop cyberbullying before it starts
Study finds most teens sext before they’re 18
The dangers of social media
Cyberbulling: Identification, Prevention, and Response
MEET OUR NEW PRINCIPAL: SHERI ASPITO
Excitement is in the air about the coming year at Lighthouse Christian Academy. I would like to thank Mrs. Duncanson and her faculty and staff for keeping things running smoothly through the last year. This summer there will be periodic updates, however, be assured that the teachers, staff, and I are working together to develop the best educational experience for your child in the coming school year. Let me take this opportunity to introduce myself.
First, I am a former LCA parent. Both of my sons flourished in LCA’s academic program. James is currently a youth pastor in Ohio having completed his Bachelor’s degree a few years ago. He was recently accepted into Fuller Theological Seminary where he will be working on his Master of Divinity degree. My younger son, Jonathan, just completed a degree in civil engineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. He begins work with an engineering firm in Towson, Maryland, in a few weeks. As a former parent of LCA, I understand the unique challenges parents of private school students face and I will do everything I can to make the Lighthouse experience positive for you and your child.
As an educator, I have decades of experience in public schools, private schools, and in higher education. For seven years I taught in local middle schools beginning in the language arts, reading, and social studies areas and eventually transitioning into the math and science areas. For six years I served here at Lighthouse as the school administrator, overseeing the development of the high school program and expanding the daycare to include 2 year olds. Finally, I have 15 years of experience in higher education as an associate professor of education at the University of Valley Forge where I have taught many different courses to pre-service educators while supervising student teacher interns and developing new course offerings and majors.
Currently, I am enrolled in a Doctorate of Education program at Liberty University where I hope to complete my degree in educational leadership within the next few years. I have found that engaging in a doctoral program with other educational leaders broadens my perspective on educational concerns and increases my value in any educational setting. I also hold a Master of Education degree from Frostburg State University with an emphasis on language arts instruction. My Bachelor of Science degree, also from Frostburg, includes a concentration in mathematics. Finally, I hold a Master of Arts degree from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in the area of Biblical languages. My current Maryland Department of Education teacher certification is an Advanced Professional certification with Administrator I & II, Elementary 1-6 and Middle School, and Math 7-9 endorsements.
Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President from 1913 to 1921 said, “No study is more important to the child than the study of the Bible and of the truths which it teaches.” By enrolling your child at LCA, you are demonstrating your commitment to an education that integrates Biblical truths in every subject area. My commitment to you is that LCA will do its best to honor that trust and provide your child an excellent education integrated with Godly truths in a safe and secure learning environment.
I look forward to meeting each of you. I will be in and out of the office for an additional few weeks as I make the transition back to this area. However, I would love to hear from you and I will be available via appointment to meet with you at the school. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school office at 301-777-7375.