Thursday, August 13, 2015

By Request: Cherdo's Tech Rules for Teens

It is my great pleasure to call the Richardson family my friends. Dad Tim Richardson is a gifted motivational speaker who has worn many hats (and shared the comedy stage with yours truly, eh? I notice that is not on your bio, Tim. Well played, sir.). 

Tim is only half of the Richardson team, however! His wife, Adele, is one of the sweetest ladies on the planet and these wonderful, caring people are raising their lovely brood in my neck o' the woods. I'd list all their children but it would break one of my personal rules about broadcasting kids' names online, so lets just call them #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and what was the last one...oh, yeah, #6. I'm a huge fan of #2 (a former student of moi).

Recently, the Richardsons sent me an email with this request:

"With a new school year starting, we are reviewing guidelines for teen computer and cell phone use and wanted to get some input from other parents. What guidelines do you have regarding computer and cell phone use, texting, hours available, etc. Adele and I would appreciate any thoughts you might have." 

After I sent my opinion, worth every cent anyone pays for it (zero), Tim added:

"You made us all laugh and helped us have a conversation about some potentially sensitive subjects. If you haven't already written a blog post about your tec rules, you really should."

Tim and Adele, you're too kind. Your wish is my command.

The Cherdo Rules for Tech & Teens

1. Cellphones are a privilege for mature teens. When appreciation of the privilege or maturity exits, so do cellphones.

2. An online presence requires vigilance from the get-go. If you allow a child to have a Facebook or social media account, it includes the condition that you have passwords and "friend" status. When you're online, nothing is private -- so why would it be private in regard to your parents? You know...the legal guardians responsible for your care, misdeeds and bail?

3. No "befriending" of strangers on line, period; you just don't know who or what they are about. Want to debate this? Wait a minute, I think I see maturity exiting...go back to rule #1.

4. Your online self may NEVER go away. Grandma, employers, people who are considering you for internships, etc., will look at it. Post accordingly.

5. Intentionally insult or demean someone, however much you feel they deserve it, and we're back to #1. 

6. Computers can be a study tool; if you're using it as a tool, great. If you're just surfing and gaming, that's another deal. Limit use to an hour or so for fluff. And fluff always comes after study, chores, etc. You

7. "It's my laptop (or cellphone or tablet), so why does it matter to YOU how much I use it?"  Oh...that is so darling. It's my toilet, refrigerator, garage and car insurance policy. This is fun. Want to play some more? Tag, you're it. Go back to #1. 

8. Cellphones and computers off an hour before bedtime.

9. No cellphones at the table or in the presence of guests. 

10. Cellphones at church are muted and put away.

11. No online orders without parents. The first time you get your monthly delivery of Princess Diana remembrance coins, you'll understand this one. Ditto for the Cake of the Month Club, just $49.99 per cake.

12. Ask before you become a "member" of anything. Websites love to try and reel kids in.

13. Grades go down, electronics time goes down. Don't be fulled by the "I need to research" plea. The library is awesome.

14. Watch for plagiarism. I always told the kids you can cut and paste your way to #1, too.

15. Never, ever do live-time posts. For example, the kid who posts a picture of the family at the beach with "we just saw a live dolphin!" Cool. I know you all are not at home. "Let's see if I can clear that house out before you return," said the local burglar. Post those vacation pictures when you get home.

I've got only one suggested parent guideline: if you don't want to monitor electronics, don't even let the kids have them. It's a different world out there and there's more to consider than the black hole of wasted time.

Remember that overuse is not the only problem associated with electronics and cell phones. How about obesity, sleep problems, aggressive behavior, educational problems, and downloaded viruses? Strangers attack kids for comments all the time, even if they are careful. Unfortunately, that is a lesson they will learn, too. Actually, that last one is very much like the real world; everyone has a chip on their shoulder lately. 

Academically, too many kids are not thinking; they're Googling. Huge problem. Heavy computer use kills creativity. It doesn't hurt to keep all the electronics out of their rooms (televisions, I'm talking to you...).

Kids can have a whole lot of fun with their devices and never stray from these guidelines. I've road tested it.


More about Tim Richardson:

A little bit from his website
Tim Richardson has been a full time professional speaker since 1988. He has also owned two other businesses and been the host of a radio talk show interviewing authors, business owners, and community leaders.
Tim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida Southern College in 1984 and a Master of Science degree in Marketing Communication from Florida State University 1988.  While at FSU, he taught courses in communications. Tim earned the designation of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) given by the National Speakers Association in 1997.
Previous to starting his company, Tim worked for IBM Corporation in the Marketing Division.  He was recognized for his outstanding contributions at IBM with the President’s Circle Award for team service, given only to 1% of IBM employees.  Tim has worked as a seminar leader with CareerTrack, North America’s largest seminar company and as a trainer for Creative Training Techniques International (the Bob Pike Group). Tim also worked as Director of Training for a luxury Five Diamond resort.
In addition to his business responsibilities, Tim is active in several professional organizations.  He is a member of the National Speakers Association and the founder of the North Florida Professional Speakers Association where he served two terms as President.  He is founder and president of the Bill Walter Melanoma Research Fund and co-founder and board member of the Jeffry Roth Cycling Foundation. He also serves on a task force to help reduce childhood obesity and is a fund raising coordinator for the Boy Scout district where lives.
Tim is author of Jump Starts: Wit and Wisdom to Super Charge Your Day, co-author of Transformation Thinking:  Tools and Techniques That Open the Door to Powerful New Thinking and contributing author to Meditations for the Road.  He's currently working on his a new book titled How to Live Rich in a World Consumed with Cash, Career, and Conquest. He has been interviewed on regional and national TV and radio programs and writes articles for national publications. 

If you're planning a retreat or seminar with the goal of advancing your business or career, check out Tim Richardson's website for more information. Bring Tim's wit and wisdom to your team:


  1. luckily my kids grew up from the beginnings of computers and are less enamored with things like facebook, etc.

    1. Yes, you are lucky, Mike. It's a scary world sometimes. But I see adults mess up, too!

  2. The only thing I disagree on is the electronics off an hour before bed. I 100% see and agree with your point, but let me explain why I still disagree.

    Coming straight out of this generation of techy stuff, bullying and cyber bullying got even worse. Depression statistics rose. I didn't go to public school and I also had insomnia, so my friends knew they could count on me to be able to talk.

    I talked friends out of suicide far more than I would care to think about. A few times, I was responsible for getting (or helping to get) in touch with their parents or police when I knew I was losing the fight. One girl in particular was locked in a hospital for six weeks and still had regular out patient therapy after that because the EMTs found her with the pills in her hand.

    The only reason I think the phone should be on (but unused) is because sometimes teens are more responsible for other lives than anyone actually believes.

    1. I'm sure it was said to you, but in any case... thank you for being there.

    2. Your friend was very lucky to have someone to talk to but I know trained counselors who cannot always get it right. There's no guarantee ANYONE can help, so in my book, you were party to a miracle. Lovely job and bless you for it. Not everyone is a Rachel.

      Overall, I'd still give the "general" guideline of getting young people to disconnect and wind down before they go to bed.

  3. Your rules are spot on! I get so annoyed when my wife and I go out to dinner and the table next to us is full of kids busy texting their friends. Sadly, their parents are often leading by example and doing the very same thing.

    1. Boy, I've seen that, too. Talk to each other, people. Some day, those kids won't be sitting at the restaurant with them. What is more interesting on a phone?

  4. These are amazing. I wish every parent and guardian would follow these. As a teacher, I've witnessed students get into trouble for posting about faculty, staff, and classmates, not to mention all the personal things they post that they shouldn't. I've confiscated numerous phones, because students should not be on social media during the learning process. Also, long after graduation, these pictures and posts still exist for potential employees to find.

    1. Thank you, Medeia! That is high praise coming from a teacher who witnesses so much first hand. It's dangerous and problematic for kids who lack maturity and I agree that it needs to be removed from the classroom.

  5. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    It is I/me, Shadysaurus Rex, the blogger that time forgot!

    For decades I have been learning from motivational speakers and success coaches like Tim Richardson. Looks like Tim and I were neighbors at one point because I lived a couple of miles from Florida Southern and used the campus as a shooting location for commercials and promos.

    This is an excellent set of guidelines regarding teen tech time. I appreciate the fact that when a child whines and protests any of the rules, they are directed to "Go back to #1. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200." There are many pitfalls in the wonderful world of computers and phones. Too many children think they already know it all when, in reality, they are not aware of all the dangers and the long term harm caused by misuse of and addiction to electronic devices. Two of our grandchildren, one in her teens, the other age 11, recently came down with their mother for a visit. To our dismay the children spent most of their time with their faces in their laps pecking away at their smart phones, even when Mrs. Shady and I took them out to a restaurant. They simply can't stand to be out of touch with their friends for even a few minutes of the day. When they weren't connecting with friends and checking the status of their favorite pop music idols, sports heroes and flava of the month celebs, they were glued to the TV. Perhaps it's all for the good, because it one of them ever struck up a polite conversation with me I'd probably drop over dead.

    Parents need to practice the art (and responsibility) of parenting and stop trying to be a BFF to their kids. Parents need to have enough backbone to enforce common sense rules like the ones you listed here.

    Thank you very much for writing and posting these guidelines, dear friend Cherdo. I hope they go viral. Have a happy Thursday!

    1. The blogger that time forgot...from the Land of the Lost!

      You'd love Tim, Shady (okay, that reminded me of Slim Shady...).

      I'm always amazed at the number of parents that will cave to tantrums and demands from kids, even though they love them and know it is NOT the best thing for them. If they'd just consider what the kids miss when they spend so much time online or on the cell phone.

      Seems like I've been in front of this computer too long, as a matter of fact. :-)

      Have a good evening, Skim Shady.

  6. Great list of rules!! We have a rule with my stepkids, when we are at dinner the phone needs to be put away. There is nothing so urgent that cant wait 45 minutes while we're eating. I joke that I only see the tops of their heads because they're always looking down on their phones.
    My grandma Nanny gets so upset when family comes over and then get on their phones. She's 88 years old and has no desire to know about mobile phones. Its been passed around that you do not get out your phone while visiting nanny. The only exception is if you're showing her pictures.
    I always wanted to be a motivational speaker. I am jealous that you know Tim Richardson. Very cool!
    Have a great day sweet lady!

    1. I think my own mom is used to some of the grandkids being buried in phones (not mine! I'd point that out....).

      Pictures, though - I do love that I can have a camera in my purse at all times with my cell phone. I may be guilty of recording way too much of my children's, dog's, and plants' day.

      Tim and Adele are great! Their daughter was my student and she is as sweet as she is beautiful. You'd love them.

      Kids on phones when they are a guest at another person's home...PET PEEVE.

      Stay cool, cowgirl!

  7. lol #7 is so what I'd use to throw back in their face hahaha everything off before bed indeed, or put in another room. As the blue light crap can screw with sleep too.

    1. Now that you mention it, #7 is my favorite. :-)

      Thanks, Pat!

  8. It looks like you struck a cord with others too. Thanks for sharing and for the PR!

    1. My pleasure! It's not PR if it's true, Tim. :-)

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  10. Oh I LOVE "The Cherdo Rules for Tech & Teens!" Every teen and parent should get a set of these rules. Bravo!

    1. Thanks, Chyrs! They're road tested, ha ha.

  11. Good rules! You really have to watch what your teens are up to on those things.

  12. Those are great rules. As for us, our son is 35 and he's the one we go to when we can't figure out something on the computer.

    1. Yes, you are in the perfect position to benefit from this trend, ha ha.

  13. Tim was right- great post! Every one of those rules is spot on. I would add "death sentences" for online dating sites, discussions with joe hunk in Ghana, porn, and bullying. If I had a close friend who was a motivational speaker, they'd prolly move without a forwarding address....

    1. My Nigerian banker says the same thing; he's holding a large sum for me.

  14. Replies
    1. Rules give a framework to things; it's a bit of a security blanket for young folks. Till hormones kick in...then it's San Quentin, only the warden loves you.

  15. Beautifully put, Cherdo. I vote for #7, too (I actually encountered it at a remove - I was generally a good, respectful kid...generally - when Dad told my kid brother to 'shape up or ship out!'. It worked. A comment on the 'computers/phones, etc off an hour before bedtime': I've had to do that, yes even when I was going hot and heavy on the editing because I found I couldn't get to sleep. It's a good rule. All of them are good rules, and Mr. Richardson sounds truly fabulous. (And he knows where to go for advice, too.)

  16. This is great especially the "Like my toilet, car insurance..." You made me laugh out loud with that one. This is so well written and well done that I will mention this to some clients who spend over $400/mth on cell phones for themselves and their kids. It makes no sense!


Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo