Be in Touch...

I am always eager to have comments and questions about my work. In particular, I'm interested in the ethical issues that kids and parents encounter online. If you have suggestions for future Growing Up Online columns, this is a good place to share them.

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I have used this book as a daily reference guide to reuse things since the early 90's. My home flooded in 1997 and lost parts of my reuses book ,I dried pages and put in 3 ring binder.which wasn't easy for me to piece it back together w/ 1 hand, because I also had a stroke same month as flood, now am a Hemiplegic, but I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! WELL DONE!!!!


Hi Carolyn!
I just wanted to stop by and say that I have just gone through your book, "Re/Uses" for the umpteenth time, being inspired all over again to be creative about recycling what I have on hand again, and again, and there is so much waste. I was first inspred by it years ago when I found it at the library, and when one could use search engines to locate books online I tracked it down, and was lucky enough to get a former library copy - my favorite kind! Every so often I have to go through it and be inspired all over again. Thank you for such a wonderful book!
Donna Hughes

Thanks, Donna! Some of the ideas in Re/Uses may be outdated, but the principle is very much alive.


Hi Carolyn,
Very impressed with your articles. I am a teacher and have just developed an app
for parents and children, I wish to give you a story for your column.

I love to get ideas from readers. You can reach me by clicking on the "Contact Me" button on the home page

I would love to get a fresh copy of Quality Play from Working Mother Jan 1992 issue if possible...the copy is so dark in places I can't read it. my email is
Thank you for your time.
Jennifer Saunders


A wonderful article 'Give your child the happiness trait' by Carolyn Jabs was published in India by the Reader's Digest in the June 1992 issue. It's worth republishing. Unfortunately this article seems to have been blatantly plagiarised and published in India in the Chandigarh issue of 'The Tribune'. Plagiarism at its very worst. Do take it up, please. Thank you and best wishes, Naushad (Mumbai, India)

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Unfortunately, the Internet makes it all to easy to copy the work of others without compensating them or giving them proper credit. That's why one of the first Growing Up Online columns was called Preventing Plagiarism. The advice is as relevant today as when I wrote it!


Just ran across your site... Child safety online is such an important topic. I knew it before, but unfortunately we are seeing first hand the effects of making bad choices online and in life. We have spent all summer with a daughter in drug and alcohol rehab. The parents meet one night each week and, for one meeting, we watched Growing Up Online : Parenting in the Internet Age.

In the discussion afterward all the parents were talking about what can be done, and I shared some of the steps we've gone through with our daughter in trying to give her a structure to keep her safe. I've written up some of what I learned. Some of it is kind of rough but it might be helpful to other parents. This goes beyond the normal "install a filter" tips, so some of it sounds extreme, until you have a kid who won't work within the boundaries.

From the name of your site I'm wondering if you're associated with the video we watched.

Roger K.

The program you saw was a PBS special that happened to have the same name as my column. I was critical of what they did because they took extreme cases and made it seem as though best thing parents can do is try to "control" what kids do online.

My point of view is different. The first thing parents should do is talk--frequently--about online activities. Ask questions, listen to the answers, raise more questions. The goal is to help kids THINK about what they are doing online just as they do in the real world.

Obviously, some children need more structure--both on and off line. And the resources you've compiled are very helpful. Your daughter is lucky to have involved and pro-active parents.


In your column Better Than Bake Sales [How to raise real money with virtual events], you included some great ideas. Your readers should know, hwever, that many of these sites give only 2-3% of net and not gross. It is a good start, and I am not trying to knock you down because giving information is great. I am a Shaklee distributor and my own goal for year 2009 is to help schools, etc. raise money with green products sold from their own website. Check out And keep writing.
M. Carter

Thanks for your advice. It's true that many vendors contribute only a small amount to non-profits. Still, those funds can add up if it's a product people want.


Why does YouTube have videos that show underage kids dancing sexy? This is not a good idea.

I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, teens often don't think through the consequences of their actions. That's why it's so important for parents to talk to their kids about both privacy and healthy sexuality. For tips, see the Growing Up Online column "A Few Words about Sex."


I enjoyed reading your article about Tiny Techies in Mendo-Lake Family Life magazine. It led me to your website which is one of the best I've seen for parents of Elementary age children. I will be referring parents you your site often!

One of my favorite sites for teaching younger children is I use their Up To Ten at School program with our K-2 students. Many of the older kids like the puzzles and creative games for their free choice time in Computer Lab.

Thanks for your kind words. I included in a recent column called "Websites Worthy of a Summer Afternoon."


We are writing to let you know about our new website which includes a running dialogue, column, and resources between "Prof" and "Anna" aimed at fostering intergenerational dialogue. We also include resources that, we hope, will help teens with the ethical dilemmas they face. The website isn't "preachy" - rather, it's intended to be fun, edgy, secular. We hope it will stimulate ideas, conversations, and ultimately, more ethical teens.

I am a huge fan of anything that helps teens and, for that matter, adults think more clearly and systematically about ethics. Recently I got my Masters degree in practical philosophy (aka ethics) because I think there's a real need for more thinking about how we should promote human well-being, especially online.


I was just reading your column in Kids Pages Family Magazine out of Denver and I wanted to tell you a little bit about, a suite of free children’s creativity activities and they’re all free. Some have called Kerpoof “KidPix on steroids." Children can create a picture, a story or a movie using a library of backgrounds and objects. Some scenes are just plain silly like Cartoonland. Others are more realistic, like Northwest Trek or the traditional Haudenosaunee village. All activities build computer fluency, foster creativity, and encourage thinking and reasoning.

I have fond memories of Kidpix because it was my son's favorite program when he was little. Your website seems to be everything your promise--fun that encourages kids to think!


Touche! I found your website in the “Parent Internet Safety Area” on the Atlantic City BOE website. Very well done. Wouldn’t it be nice if the people who actually needed to read this site were the ones who read it?

So many parents are in denial these days regarding their kids and the internet. Personally, my son and I deleted his myspace account 2 years ago when he was 13 pretending to be 18; he had no problem deleting as he didn’t use it much. I am computer savvy, so I am very aware what the local teens are up to with their myspace accounts but theirparents are not.

Even if you’ve reached a handful of parents with your articles, you may have saved the life of a few teens. Maybe just maybe, a little word of mouth might help others read your articles and send people to this area on the schools website.

In my experience, most parents want to know what their kids are doing online but they don't have the time to keep up with every new development. I started Growing Up Online to give parents concise information and clear advice so they can talk to their kids and give them the guidance they so desparately need as they grow up online.


I work for a company that has recently launched two new products in child internet security. The products are Free! No strings attached... FREE! As a parent, I encourage everyone to test them out. and

These are interesting products. I've always been a believer in monitoring software that tells parents exactly what kids are doing. This isn't a question of spying but of supervision. It isn't easy to make good decisions about online activities, and kids need lots of support from parents. For more information, see my column on The Case for Surveillance Software.


I've got a copy of your great book Re Uses. I'm wondering if you plan to do an update? Things have changed a bit since '82! I've been reading this book for years, and it's getting a bit worn.

You're right! A lot has changed since I wrote Re/Uses though the philosophy--use less, reuse more--is, if anything, more urgently important today. I may figure out how to find the time to revise Re/USES someday but for now it's all I can do to keep up with my column, Growing Up Online.


What are reasonable amounts of time for children to be online at 4 years? 8 years? 12 years? Should parents set a daily limit as some do for TV? A weekly limit?

The answer to this question depends both on the child and what they are doing online. With that in mind, here are very general guidelines. Children under four shouldn't be online without a parent's direct supervision. Their attention spans are often short, so after thirty minutes they should be encouraged to take a break and find something else to do. For elementary age children, an hour a day is enough unless they are doing something that is creative or has educational value. By middle school, it is much harder to set time limits especially for kids who have Internet access on their cellphones. With my own kids, I found it most effective to declare media free times--during dinner, before bed, while studying--rather than trying to enforce specific time limits.


In your article "Is Your Family's Computer a Zombie" that you put on this website and in the Carolina Parent magazine, you stated "If you suspect that your family computer may already be a zombie, you can confirm your suspicions with a free online scan like the one available from Panda Software. (Go to and look for the “free scan” button on the left side of the screen.)" I went to this website and it does NOT have a scan to check if your computer is a zombie?????????

Hi, Keep up good work.

The URL should have read If you go to that site, you will see the free scan on the left hand side of the page. Sorry for the mistake.


why should kids bring cellphones in school? P.S. please answer my question!

Sorry for the delay in answering your question. Most schools now seem to have policies that require students to leave cellphones in their lockers. This makes sense. Not only are cellphones disruptive but kids have been known to use them to cheat on tests. Of course, after school is a different matter. Then kids carry cellphones both to talk to their friends and so that they can reach (and be reached by) their parents.


Very clear. 2 questions: 1. When I click on one of your article headers like "Becoming an Internet Savvy Family," it takes me to a brief description, but no article. How do I access the article? 2. In the second paragraph on your home page, it seems like the word "HOW" is missing. Thanks! Your moderately Republican neighbor who is more concerned about Bish than you can imagine.

Thanks for the feedback. I do need a proofreader!! Some of the columns are on the site in their entirety. Others are just teasers for editors who may want to use the complete column. Right now, I have limits on the number of pages in the site, so I can't post everything.


tell me where you can find out about loud music reffering to headphoner/earphones.

The problem of hearing loss caused by loud music has been in the news a lot lately. In addition to my column on the subject, read helpful information on the subject is available at this website from the National Institutes on Deafness: (


personaly i think kids should be spoiled rotten and given anything they think they need so give em a cell phone if they want on and make sure its nice so it doesnt break on em.

Thanks for the input. I think if you read my columns carefully, you'll find I believe parents should be very cautious about giving kids cell phones, not just because of the cost, but also because it's hard to supervise their use.


if a parent did that, the child would be greedy, manipulative, and whiny. They would have no sense of what hard work is, or the value of a dollar. you would hurt the child, rather than help them. Be a mature adult/parent. not just their "Friend"...

I agree that parents need to have the courage to set limits about what kids can buy and what they can do online as well as off.