Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Tuesday’s Tip: Choosing a College That’s Right For YOU March 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:26 am

College bound

“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating.”

John Schaar



If you are a high school senior (or the parent of one), you know it’s time to decide what university you are going to attend next year if college is your plan. Many have already done so, with dorms at countless schools already full. It’s not too late though and according to a bestselling book, there’s a college for every one and a high-ranked one may not be your best bet.


I was recently hired to proofread college entrance essays for a high schooler looking to attend a top-tier university. She’d already been accepted to both UT and Texas A&M but was holding out for an Ivy League. This struck me as odd, as UT and A&M are amazing schools and are also so many kids’ first choices! I’ve always said I feel sorry for UT and A&M alums as the odds of their kids being accepted to their alma maters are low considering both school’s “top 10 percent” acceptance policies.


I feel blessed. Kristen was accepted to my alma mater and her first choice “dream school,” the University of Oklahoma, and is thriving. She is a smart girl who works hard…an above average student from an above average public high school who is proving herself at a highly competitive major university. She is also having fun. Let me say that again, she is also having fun and enjoying college life.


This, come to find out, is just as important as making grades and making Dean’s Lists.




Malcolm Gladwell’s book “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” is a bestseller and in it Gladwell writes about, among many things, whether Harvard and the likes are really the right places for a child, even if they are accepted.


Crazy, right? Shouldn’t Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton and other elite universities be the goal of every student and their parents? Apparently not.


Gladwell warns readers that college is expensive so why waste time and money at a school where you may not succeed to your fullest capacity? Yes, it’s impressive to be accepted to certain schools if you’re a high-achiever but just like clothes, even if it fits doesn’t mean you should wear it.


Bill Nye



Gladwell writes about a student at Brown University who loved science but ended up not pursuing it because her confidence sank to all-time lows in the school’s hyper-competitive atmosphere. You see, she was surrounded by students who quickly grasped concepts she was having trouble learning. This one-time whiz kid had always been a “top 1 percenter” but she suddenly found herself simply mediocre.  She was good enough to be accepted to Brown but not good enough to compete with her college colleagues. She met her match and felt out of her league. This was something she wasn’t prepared or equipped to handle. She ended up changing her major and pursuing another path…somewhat reluctantly.


Gladwell argues that had the young girl attended a less-demanding university, she may have stuck with her first love and gone on to do extraordinary things in the field.


In his book, Gladwell reports that the distribution of science degrees is identical at say a Harvard and a more mid-tier university. In both, the top third of a class got 55 percent of the science degrees while the bottom third received only 17 percent of them.   Research also shows that the top 1 percent of students from much-less-demanding schools produce more research papers in the first six years of their academic careers than most of the people who earned Ph.Ds. at the most demanding graduate schools – Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago. In other words, if you’re determined to major in a given field, doing so at any university may prove more beneficial than doing so at the Harvards and Yales of the world.


It is my belief that if a really smart and/or talented young kid attends a university that isn’t necessarily the strongest or the best, that student has a chance to really shine and set themselves apart. Not all students are highly competitive or need to be the smartest tools in the shed. There is much more to college…and life…then finishing first.


It’s equally important to feel comfortable where you go to college. I’m a big proponent of college visits and living in a dorm your first year on campus. The years you spend in college should be some of the most memorable of your life. You are going to work the rest of your life, so why take everything so seriously and be so miserable? You should be learning and growing not struggling and waning.


Grad cap

If all that doesn’t convince you, how about another reason why choosing the best college for you and not one based solely on reputation is important: the cost of going to college. It’s estimated that attending Harvard comes to just under $60,000 a year and other comparable schools average about the same. Do the math. That’s about a quarter of a million dollars for a degree that you might have also received for about half the price at another respected university.


Is it really worth it? I guess it depends on you and your wallet. Me? I prefer a happy child pursuing something she loves at a place where she feels loved.


Maybe Steve Jobs said it best when he said, “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by the results of other people’s thinking and don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”



A Spring in Your Step March 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 1:27 am

XMarilyn on shoes


Now that I got my spring fashion blog out of the way and off into cyberspace, it’s on to something equally if not more exciting: spring shoes!

“You can never take too much care over the choice of shoes. Too many women think they’re unimportant but the real proof of an elegant woman is what’s on her feet.” Christian Dior


I love shoes. Unlike clothes, they always fit! As the saying goes, Cinderella is proof that a good pair of shoes can change your life! This year’s spring offerings offer new trends and new takes on old styles and, although I’m not a huge fan of all of them, here are this year’s hottest footwear finds:

Chunky heels. Chunky heels, strappy, two-toned, and often low-heeled sandals are all the rage and I am obsessed!  The thick straps are flattering on any figure and the multi-color schemes mean one shoe goes with multiple outfits. What’s not to love?! Buy them sparingly though, as they may scream “so 2014” in years to come.

Chas David2

Charles David





Kat Maconie2

Kat Maconie





Pointy flats. I am so happy to see that these long-time favorites of mine are on trend this spring. Audrey Hepburn would be proud!

TBurch two-tone pointy flat

Tory Burch


Oscar pointy flat

Oscar de la Renta


Two-piece flats. Perhaps THE flat of the season, these fashionable finds can be worn with everything from minis to maxis and come in colors to die for.


Sigerson Morison two-piece flat



d'Orsay two piece ankle strap flat



Sling-back flats. I’ve never had success with sling-backs of any kind as they always tend to slip off my heels, but these are all over the place. Maybe you’ll have better luck with them than I have.


Dolce-Gabbana-sling back flat



TBurch slingback2

Tory Burch


Espadrilles. Relaxing and sweet, the Euro-favorites make any outfit fun and colorful.


Nautica espadrilles



Carolina Herrera RTW Spring Summer 2014 New York Fashion Week September 2013

Carolina Herrera


Fisherman sandals.   When I see these I think of Mexican huaraches and the 70’s. I won’t be wearing them but I’m sure countless women will.

DV by Dolce Vita fisherman

dv by Dolce Vita


K. Jacques for Opening Ceremony

K. Jacques


Cage sandals. Straps of all kinds crisscross on these popular heels and flats. Take your pick and take to the streets!

Gucci strappy heel



Giannico cage sandal



Brian Atwood cage sandal

Brian Atwood


Mules. They’re baaaack and I love them!!!!!  These also go to show that if you buy quality traditional shoes they will more than likely come back in style, allowing you to pull your “old” ones out and not have to purchase new ones.  I know that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!

Victoria Beckham mules

Victoria Beckham


Monique Lhullier mule2

Monique Lhuillier





Natural. Think Kate Middleton’s famous L.K. Benett nude pumps and you’ve got it…in heels, sandals, flats and whatever style your little shoe-loving heart desires.

Zara chunky heel   Vince two pice flat  Steve Madden neutral   Sole Society nude  Rachel Roy perforated   Sam Edelman chunky gold heel

“A woman can carry a bag, but it is the shoes that carries the woman.”

Christian Louboutin

Perforated. Much like the clothing trend I wrote about, perforated shoes (and bags) are way current and oh-so popular. I love the look and have already purchased this pair of colorful loafers!

DV by Dloce Vita mesh loafer

dv by Dolce Vita


Nordstrom peforated wedge



Nicle Miller perforated wedge

Nicole Miller


Oxfords. They were a hit in the fall and are here to stay but are now boasting colorful spring colors. Nude ones are also “must haves.” Consider them the new ballet flats.

Clarks oxford



Karen Walker metallic oxfords

Karen Walker


Metallic. Glittery accents ranging from sparkly gold to more subdued bronze are lighting up shoe departments coast-to-coast. What I especially love about this style is that sometimes just one part of the shoe – like the heel – is metallic. I’m a lover of all things glittery (as long as it’s not too Vegasy!) and am the proud owner of several sparkle Toms, sparkly pumps, and glittery flats. Let the twinkling begin!

TBurch metallic chunky pointy pump

Tory Burch


Rodarte metallic loafer



Oscar metallic heel

Oscar de la Renta


Dressed-up flip-flops and sporty sandals. Not your run-of-the-mill flip-flops, this year’s beach and pool styles are ladylike and embellished.  These plastic Kors jellies can actually double as patent leather with the right outfit!

Michael Kors flip flop2

Michael Kors


Sam Edelman sport sandal2

Sam Edelman


Slip-on sneakers. Vans has been making them for years, but 2014 is seeing a wave of these comfy sneakers from the likes of Chanel to Sanuk.  I’m also throwing in these adorable glittery Keds just because they’re so darn cute!

Steve Madden sneaker

Steve Madden


Chanel espadrille






KSpade Keds

Kate Spade for Keds


I know many of these shown here are high-end, but no worries.  That’s how it works.  Top designers come up with their creations and everyone else follows suit.  You are sure to find similar styles at your favorite department and discount stores!  Happy shoe shopping!


Sunday Scripture: A Confirmation of Faith March 23, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:10 pm


“For I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11



Sometimes you are asked to do something that you are honored to do but feel a tad inadequate in fulfilling.  That was me a few months ago when my dear friend Ana’s son Max asked me to be his Confirmation sponsor.  I love that family dearly but I couldn’t help but think, “Me? I’m so not worthy!”


A strong but full of laws life-long Catholic, I knew I brought to the table a deep faith and sound knowledge of our sometimes complicated Catholic convictions, but what was this mom of a true girly-girl going to do with a high school boy…a high school boy who is not into sports?!


As they say, God works in mysterious ways and Max’s path to Confirmation was as powerful for me as I hope it was for him.  I grew in my convictions and the power of God and as I told my daughter, doing so made me feel wanted and loved.  I am forever grateful for having been chosen by Max.  He is an amazing young man.  Extremely bright, a talented musician, unpretentiously handsome, and wittingly funny, Max was a joy getting to know better and to share my faith with.


As a Confirmation sponsor I accepted a special role and responsibility that is considered an honor in our church.  It truly was a wonderful adventure to spiritually walk with Max and help him see the gifts he has been given and the gifts that make up our faith.


Confirmation is the Holy Sacrament during which one confirms his or her Catholic faith, develops one’s relationship with God, strengthens us as disciples, and deepens our belonging in the Catholic faith community.  Throughout the months-long Confirmation process, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are discussed at length, and without getting into too much detail, they are:  knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fear of the Lord, fortitude, piety, and counsel.  The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are also studied, which include charity, joy, peace, meekness, fidelity, gentleness, goodness, patience, and self-control.


During our “Night of Reflection,” I was asked by his Confirmation teachers to tell Max which of these I see in him.  I see them all, but I love the joy he has for life and the immense knowledge and wisdom he has been blessed with.  It is my hope though, that he also demonstrates meekness and humility as I don’t ever want him to be “that guy” who is so smart but so annoying…and I told him so!


The pageantry of Confirmation is a centuries old Catholic tradition.  Bishop Joe Vasquez said the mass and all in attendance were touched by the ceremony.  Sponsors sat with their Confirmands and I couldn’t help but feel so blessed to be among them.  I remember watching at one point as our Hispanic Bishop along with our African pastor and Indian priest presided over the consecration and thinking, “this is truly how God would want it…all races involved and praising him as one.”  It gave me chills.


So did much of the mass.  When it was time to walk with Max up the aisle, behind him and my hand on his right shoulder, for the Bishop’s blessing and anointing, I struggled to hold back both tears and pride.  I felt honored, I felt loved, and I felt accomplished.   I had done it and I will forever cherish the experience.


It doesn’t end here though, as I plan to be in Max’s life forever.  I hope to be a good example of our Catholic faith for him and hope he knows he can count on me to be there for him always.  Just like God is for all of us.






Spring Fashion Finds March 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:28 pm

Spring has sprung! The season of growing things and warmer weather officially started March 20, and that means spring clothes and new trends from the spring 2014 runways.  Visit your favorite boutique or store and you’ll see racks filled with this season’s hottest styles. Here are just a few of what’s on trend this year. Next up:  my real favorite – shoes!


Geometric and edgy cutouts are all the rage on everything from laser-cut leathers and metal accents. Shoes and bags also sported mesh-like (but not locker room type!) cutouts and I kinda like the look!

J_Mendel_mesh                                                                          J. Mendel


Crop Tops
I hope you’ve been doing your sit-ups and core work all winter because full-on stomach baring is perhaps this spring’s hottest look. Clearly not for everyone or for every age, but if you’re young and in shape, pair yours with anything from summer pants to high-wasted skirts to cuffed shorts.

elle-crop-top-workout-mdn1                                                                                  Elle


Styles go south of the border on this one, as fiesta-friendly “cantina” fashion incorporates ruffles and embroidery in a whole new and modern way. Ole!



Tennis Sweaters
No, I’m not talking a head-to-toe 80’s country club look, 2014’s version is a much more updated preppy look. To avoid the “I’m from Connecticut” appearance, be sure to keep the rest of your outfit modern and current.

Rag and Bone sweater                                                                           Rag & Bone


White on White
Now here’s where you should think head-to-toe but as Elle magazine warns us, there’s a fine line between tasteful monochromatic and looking like the Michelin Man! You may think matching your whites is a must, but it’s not. In fact, it’s advised not to wear all the same shade. If it still horrifies to think of an all-white outfit, consider changing up the color with your shoes, opting for anything but white.

CKlein white                                                                             Calvin Klein


Swirly motifs are fun for this spring, but be careful. I’m thinking they may be a short-lived trend so don’t invest too much in them! As with any busy print, keep the rest of your outfit simple.

Peter Som marble                    Stella McCartney marble Elle                                                                            Peter Som                                       Stella McCartney


Modern Prints and Florals
Using striking, springy colors, designers have updated your basic plaid and Victorian styles with dynamic new takes on the classics. In fact, many of the florals are being called “art prints” because they look like works of art.

Style florals, etc                                                                                 Style Voyager


Riding right along the “art” wave is one I’m obsessed with:  watercolor inspired fashion. Both creative and artistic in both subtle and bold brushstrokes, these vibrant markings are both feminine and fun!


Sabo watercolor        Eliz and James watercolor      Alice + Olivia watercolor         Sabo                                  Elizabeth & James                           Alice + Olivia


Sheer Paneling
See through pieces can be sexy but make sure you have the body to expose certain parts of it! Thankfully this season, the trend isn’t skin tight. I love the strategic use of sheer paneling on T-shirts, skirts, and even evening wear, but nothing ruins the look more than the wrong body type sporting them. Remember: just because something fits doesn’t mean you should wear it!

Krizia mesh panels   LaCoste sheermarc-jacobs-black-blue-striped-eyelet-overlay-skirt           Krizia                                 Lacoste                                     Marc Jacobs


I love stripes but I’m not loving the trend of pairing them with prints or plaids. Ew! Tory Burch instead suggests mixing the scales of your stripes for optical contrast while others advise candy colored striping instead of the requisite nautical blue and white.

                                           Stripes1                                                    M. Kors              T. Burch                   A. Ferretti


No, we’re not going back in time; we’re employing the current year’s take on fringe. It’s soft and delicate and anything but western!

fringe-netaporter                                                                                Netaporter


This is one trend I’m not too keen on, but it’s out there so I’ll share it. Blatant branding is everywhere and it seems the bigger the better. Eh.

Alexander-Wang mesh crop top with logo                    Alexander Wang rocks three trends:  logo, crop, and mesh


Expect to see lots of blue this spring, especially in denim and chambray. It’s important to know the difference: denim is woven diagonally while the lighter chambray has a crisscross weave. I’m a big fan of chambray on both men and women. Stock up, this is a trend that will probably never go out of style. In fact, to me it’s really not even a trend!

                                   Chambray                                          D.Karan               R. Taylor         V. Beard



Purple Reign

Another color that you’ll see everywhere this spring is orchid, as it’s been chosen “The Official Color of 2014” by Pantone, the leading color brand and trend-caller. Actually “Radiant Orchid” is the official name of the spectrum that includes pinks and purples and that was all over the spring 2014 runways. A soft change from last spring’s vibrant emerald green, the warm color incorporates “a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones” according to a Pantone spokesperson. Those pinks also have rules though, ranging from blush to anything but shy or baby-like.

Fashion orchid                                                                         Fashion Lady


Here’s to packing away the jackets and sweaters and bringing out the short sleeves and sundresses!


Everybody’s Irish Today! March 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:50 pm



Ireland.  The land of leprechauns, Catholics and Protestants, U2, fabulous golf courses, and St. Patrick.  The latter of whom we celebrate today, but who was St. Patrick and why do we celebrate him in such a big way?


St. Patrick is one of the world’s most popular saints and is usually associated with Ireland but he was actually born in Scotland!  Also somewhat surprising is that we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the day he died, March 17, 461.


There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.


 st. patrick

As a boy of 14 or so, he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep.  During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. His captivity lasted until he was 20, when he escaped after having a dream in which he was told by God to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain, where he reunited with his family.


He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “to come and walk among us once more.”   He returned and was eventually ordained a bishop and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.




During his travels, Patrick used the shamrock as a way to teach the trinity.  The simple green plant grows abundantly in Ireland so he cleverly used it to explain that the trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – although three separate entities are really just one, much like the three parts of the one plant that is a shamrock.   His idea was so convincing that even pagan rulers quickly converted to Christianity.


 Chicago river

The Chicago River turns green every St. Patrick’s Day

The Greening of a Holiday

St. Patrick’s Day originated as a somewhat political holiday rather than a religious one.  In the mid-19th century, Irish immigrants faced discrimination comparable to what African Americans encountered, sometimes even worse.  In a show of solidarity, Irish American immigrants organized themselves and commemorated St. Patrick’s Day with annual parades and festivities to demonstrate their political and social might.


Irish law from 1903-1970 considered St. Patrick’s Day a religious holiday, requiring all pubs closed for the day.  This means drinking was not a part of original celebrations!  The law was reclassified as a national holiday in 1970, opening the doors of drinking establishments and the tradition of green beer.  However, in the diocese of Ireland, it is still considered a holy day of obligation, meaning Catholics are obligated to attend mass and receive the sacrament on that day…perhaps before visiting the local pub!


Today it’s said there are more Irish people in the U.S. than there are in Ireland!  Well, sort of.  There are an estimated 34 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry, but the population of Ireland is only 4.2 million.


St. Patrick, along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures, but he is also recognized in the secular world.  He is not only revered by Catholics though.  He is honored with a feast day in the Episcopal Church and is also venerated by the Orthodox Church.


Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.


He is said to be buried on Down Cathedral in the County of Down in Ireland.





Sunday Scripture

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 1:32 am



Digital Dementia: It’s Affecting Us All March 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:45 pm



Is your toddler already comfortable using your IPhone or IPad?  Do you want him or her to be one of those “technology addicts” you see at every restaurant and possibly suffer serious risks?  If so, you might want to read on.


There’s a new cognitive condition in town and it’s called “Digital Dementia?”  It’s not a joke, it’s not funny and it’s a serious problem, so serious that a recent UCLA study found that 14 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 39 complained of memory problems.   For those little ones you allow to use your tablet and smart phone the hazards are just as high, if not higher.


A few months ago I was driving to work and listened as a medical professional warned of the risks of what he called “Digital Dementia” of young kids today and even toddlers.  Being a preschool teacher who has seen my three-year-olds swipe away on an IPhone or IPad, I listened intently.  What I heard alarmed me so I began doing research.




The term “Digital Dementia” started in South Korea a few years back.  South Korea is home to one the world’s highest digital-use populations but that use is not all good.  Doctors there started seeing young patients suffering from memory and cognitive problems and disorders more commonly linked to brain injuries.   In short, the overuse of smartphones, computers, and other digital devices is increasing stress and leading to the deterioration of cognitive abilities.  We are on the fast-lane to not only having an elder popular with dementia but a younger one with digital dementia.


Stop and consider the standard impression of dementia and more than likely an elderly person who has trouble remembering things, organizing their thoughts, has a very short attention span, and just generally has trouble just thinking comes to mind.  Those symptoms are exactly what are being diagnosed with Digital Dementia of the young.  Scary, right?


Digital Dementia is officially defined as the deterioration of brain function as the result of the overuse of digital technology, resulting in unbalanced brain development.  Heavy tech users are more likely to overdevelop their left-brains, leaving their right-brains somewhat underdeveloped.



Quick brain lesson:  the left side of the brain is traditionally associated with rational thought, numerical computation and fact finding.  The right side is responsible for more creative skills and emotional thoughts.  If the right brain goes underdeveloped, the long-term result can be an early onset of dementia.  With the age of technology growing younger and younger, so is the age of dementia symptoms.




Dr. Manfred Spitzer, a German neuroscientist and author of the book “Digital Dementia” recently spoke in Austin and warned parents that their young child who can nimbly use their devices isn’t necessarily talented but instead may be en route to trouble with memory and thinking.  Sptizer adds that while computers can be beneficial for adults, they’re poison for kids.


“When you use the computer, you outsource your mental activity” Spitzer said.  “Many children don’t memorize anything because they can Google it,” he added.  “But clicking around can contribute to low attention and impair learning.”




The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees.  Way back in 2011 it recommended no TV use for those under age two and reported that media use has been associated with obesity, sleep issues, aggressive behaviors, and attention issues in both pre-school and school-aged children.


Not only are kids’ brains being affected, so are they bodies and lives in general.  The more time a kids spends on a computer, phone, or in front of the TV is less time he or she is spending exercising and interacting with others…face-to-face.  The results?  Obese kids and young teens with little or no social skills.  Still, the national obsession for all things digital is reaching kids younger and younger.  Consider for a moment that it’s estimated  one in 100 children ages 8-18 are said to be addicted to technology.  Addicted!  Eight-years-old!  That’s second or third grade!



Just last night a friend of mine with two sons, one in middle school and one in high school, told me about Ask FM, a somewhat new on-line “app” where you anonymously ask and answer questions from anyone anywhere.  Creepy, right?  She demonstrated that some of the questions are just fun and innocent, but she also told me that it’s one of the newest methods of bullying, as it is totally anonymous.  And it’s all done on phones.   It apparently is only for young ones too, as when I asked my college-aged daughter if she used it she said she’d heard of it but that no one she knows is into it.  What just a few years ago may have been a college phenomenon is now in our middle schools.


Another threat is just what your child is watching on-line or on TV.  Amazingly, one research study found that 60 percent of parents don’t supervise their children’s technology usage and that 75 percent of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms.  Yet another study reported that nearly 100 percent of kids surveyed under eight had TV and cable  and 38 percent have the Internet on their TVs.   Have you seen MTV lately or surfed YouTube?  You might want to before giving your 12-year-old a smart phone and unlimited Netflix and ITunes usage.  One more thing to think about:  the U.S. has categorized media violence as a Public Health Risk.  Yes, that TV or computer your child uses could actually be hurting their health!


It’s reported that young people look at their smartphones about 150 times a day.  This may keep them in touch with friends and “followers,” but it’s also been shown to raise their stress levels and increase anxiety.  Aren’t they under enough stress today?


Nearly one-third of children today learn to use a mobile device before they can talk, those two and under spend an average of 15 minutes a day using the devices, and 70 percent of them master the devices by the time they hit grade school.  By the time those same kiddos are nine, they are proficient at both texting and emailing.



Much of this from a survey conducted by the group Common Sense Media.  The study, called “Zero to Eight:  Children’s Media Use in America 2013,” found that 38 percent of children under age two have used mobile devices of all kinds.  Just three years ago that number was 10 percent.  Three years ago!  The survey also found that in 2011, 38 percent of those eight and under had used a phone or tablet.  Today the percentage is the same…for those two and under!


What has happened?  Number one, parents themselves are increasingly turning to smart phones and tablets so they in turn hand them to their kids to keep them busy.  They may think the kids are doing something educational or beneficial, but they are in fact possibly hurting their own children more than they know.


What can you, as a parent do?

  1. Do not allow any media devices in your child’s bedroom.
  2. Do not allow any child under the age of two to play with any type of screen, whether it is your phone, your tablet, or a TV.
  3. Children ages 3-5 should be restricted to one hour per day of technology exposure.
  4. Limit the use of all devices and have “device free zones” in your home.
  5. Spend more time in nature, listening to music, and working on puzzles, which all help improve right brain development.
  6. Make sure your kids memorize things…in their brains.  This could be anything from the ABCs when little to friends’ phone numbers as they grow to favorite quotes or bible verses.
  7. Limit phone and text usage.  Make your children have actual conversations and meet people face-to-face.
  8. Exercise!
  9. Read actual books, magazines, and newspapers…don’t download them on-line.
  10. Stay off your devices more when with your kids.  Be the example!



The concern is so great that Pediatric Occupational Therapist, biologist, speaker and author Cris Rowan recently penned an article on The Huff Post titled “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.”   Her reasons should alarm you.

  1.  Rapid brain growth.  Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli or lack thereof.  Stimulation caused by overexposure to technology has been associated with attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity, and the decreased ability to self-regulate…i.e.: increased temper tantrums.
  2. Delayed development.  Technology use restricts movement, which delays development.  One in three children now enters school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement.
  3. Obesity.  Children who are allowed a device in their bedrooms have a 30 percent increased incidence of obesity.  One in three U.S. children is obese and due to its physical ailments, 21st century children may be the first generation of kids who will not outlive their parents.
  4. Sleep deprivation.  A shocking 75 percent of children are allowed technology in the bedrooms and 60 percent of parents don’t supervise their children’s technology usage.  Not surprisingly, 75 percent of children between the ages 9 and 10 are so sleep deprived that their grades are suffering.
  5. Mental illness.  Technology overuse has been shown to be a casual factor in increasing rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behavior.
  6. Aggression.  Young children are exposed to more and more incidents of physical, emotional, and sexual violence in today’s media.  Not a day goes by that they can’t find it on TV or on their computers.
  7. Digital dementia.  Yep, here it is.  Rowan warns us that “children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.”
  8. Addictions.  Admit it:  you are addicted to your phone.  I know I am.  Well, Rowan notes that as parents attach more to technology they detach from their children.  Your kids are watching you constantly checking your phone and playing Candy Crush.  In turn, they are become attached to devices themselves.  One in 100 children ages 8-18 are said to be addicted to technology.
  9. Radiation emission.  In May of 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phone and other wireless devices as a category 2B risk for possi ble carcinogens due to radiation emission.  Do you really want your three-year-old constantly exposed to these?
  10. Unsustainable.  How kids today use technogly and grow obsessed with it has basically become unmanageable.


Still not convinced?  Okay, here’s a challenge.  Give your toddler a toy to play with rather than your phone, move that TV out of your child’s room, limit their phone use, and suggest a game of Scrabble or Monopoly.  I’m guessing you’ll quickly discover that they may indeed be addicted to technology.