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Almost Famous: Teens and Online Video

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Stop Internet Thrill-Seeking

The ways to prevent kids from going wild online start with basics like insisting that computers only be used in public places in your home, installing parental-control programs, prohibiting personal-info sharing, and looking over their shoulder when they Web surf. But to fully address growing fame-game temptations, experts also recommend the following:

  • Dial down your own addiction to celebrity gossip. It makes living your life publicly seem okay and doesn't show the downside of a lack of privacy. Instead, talk up real heroes. "Kids need to know that people who have actually achieved something are more important than people who go clubbing without their underwear," says Dr. Zodkevitch.
  • Address your teen's craving to be constantly connected and entertained. "Kids today get bored easily and often have difficulty being alone," says Dr. Zodkevitch. Set up a tech-free time every day -- or at least once a week -- when everyone in the family turns off the computers, video games, and cell phones.
  • Teach your child that how you treat other people is what matters most. It's more important than whether you can make them pay attention to you or envy you. "Kids need to know that it's more vital and rewarding to make a contribution to the world than to stand up and yell, 'I am here,'" says Dr. Zodkevitch. Doing volunteer work together as a family will instill a sense of thoughtfulness in your kids.

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