Wait Until 8th and Parents New Movement Towards Smartphone Usage

By Michael Harris-Arzon, Dadologist

Creating technology and online guidelines for your kids

It’s not often I see a trending story on the news that inspires me to take action. In today’s fast passed world of over sharing and daily tech advancements, I see little point in speaking out. The reason for this thought is that I want to ensure I am bringing forth a message that has meaning and can truly benefit our readers and followers.

This morning on #GMA there was a story about a new trend sweeping the country called Wait Until 8thand the negative power that smartphones have on our children. This is where I feel in a bit of a catch 22. As a father and Branding expert, one the one side I know how bad social media and what searching for the wrong keyword can reveal. But, as a brand expert I feel that in this super charged world of building a strong online presence, I feel that the younger kids start building a following, the larger their sphere of influence will be when they hit the job market as young adults.

As a father, one thing I have learned is that each child needs to be treated differently. Neither of our daughters are ready for starting an online presence, yet our son, whom is in the middle, will be starting his this year (with my managing his identity and brand presence). The reason for treating him differently is that he has show consistent interest in modeling and acting. So, we have started working on his portfolio and he begins his first taping sessions for a new online cooking show to debut on YouTube next spring.

How Danny and I decided to handle the problem was like this. We knew that getting the kids their first iPads when they were super young (our youngest was only 18 months old), the smarter and more advanced they would be when it came to their education. Granted we limited, and still do, the types of apps they use. We still don’t allow internet access unless it’s for a school project and even then they have to literally sit right there with one of us, and our eldest daughter is almost 13.

We have always said that we wouldn’t even consider letting any of our three kids have a phone until they turn 16, but now we are faced with the strong likelihood that Onyx and Anthony will both be attending school almost an hour away from our home. Just this morning I was talking with my husband, Danny, about getting Onyx a super basic phone for emergencies when they start school next year. Then lo and behold we see this story on #GMA about Wait Until 8th. It seemed to make the decision for us. It also makes m feel good to know that other parents seem as concerned as we are about their kids use of technology and the exposure risk that the internet and social media brings to the table. Like their tag line says, Let kids be kids a little longer.

So I encourage all of our readers across the globe to join this strategic movement and sign a pledge for each of your kids today.


Dadologist Says “Fathers Must Spend ‘One-On-One Time’ With Each Of Their Kids”

By Michael D. Harris-Arzon, Dadologist

As a professional and father, I used to find it extremely difficult to find time to build quality relationships with each of my children.  Granted, as soon as Danny and I realized that we would actually be adopting three amazing children, I started transitioning work to where I could do it all from our home office.  The incessant traveling came to an abrupt end.  I finished up all of my speaking engagements and stopped scheduling new ones.  I embraced smart technology and made it work for me at a time when tech experts insisted that every aspect of a business could not be run from a smart phone or iPad.

 After almost twenty years of hoping, waiting and disappointment I knew that I had to make as much time available as I could to spend with the kids.  Not only to help them with the transition into their new home and environment, but to instill in them the importance of sticking together as a family.  Family is, has been and always will be the most important thing to Danny and I.

Being an Entrepreneur and small business owner, up until that time, had meant innumerable long hours and a work schedule that didn’t always meet-up with other peoples lives.  This craziness had already made me an expert in scheduling and time management.  Thus, it came down to plain ol’ common sense and listening to the one piece of advice we got regarding the raising of kids the most….KIDS NEED STRUCTURE!  So I permenantly scheduled certain times throughout the day and week to spend with the kids.  I actually spent the time to create reoccurring events in my calendar so I wouldn’t accidentally schedule a conference call or meeting during family time.

I will never know whom benefits more from those times, but I look back at my own childhood and I don’t remember either of my parents helping with homework every day because it seems like they were always working.  Having weekly movie nights and Friday Night Dance Parties are just as important as the weekly conference calls with clients, and again not the type of memory I have growing up.  I want our kids to have as many memories as possible of the family doing things together.

Time started passing us by faster than I could ever have imagined.  Soon our family had its routine down pat, the adoption was finally completed and we looked forward to those scheduled family moments, even homework time lol.  The fluidity that time possesses makes it difficult to gauge memories and what is going to standout to our children.   A few years into my newest career as a father, I had a serious health scare and was in the hospital for about 10 days (during the Christmas holiday season no less!).

 Each day Danny brought the kids to spend time with me at the hospital and that is when I started to hear from the kids that they wanted to spend one-on-one time with me.  They were scared and each of them wanted me to themselves.  While laying in the hospital bed and coming in and out of consciousness I noticed that the kids were taking turns laying with me.  It didn’t matter if I was awake or not….. or if I was even paying them any attention.  They simply needed to be with me on their own.

Being as young as I was and being faced with the very real possibility of dying (technically I did since I stopped breathing for 91 seconds) and never seeing my kids again was a wake up call like you couldn’t believe.  Once I was home, it took me months to recover my strength and health enough to even walk to the end of the driveway by myself.  But the very second I felt comfortable enough to leave the house with out help, I vowed I would start spending individual moments with each of our three kids.

Years later, it’s has become something for us to look forward to.  While certain things are always done as a family, the monthly one-on-one adventures gives that child the chance to get undivided attention and now that they are older has become the best time for them to talk to us about more personal problems.

The Truest of Professionals NEVER Disappear….we take heart (part 1)

Dadologist, Industry Leader and Consummate Professional from ArdynnMG Apologizes to Peers and Readers

By Michael Harris-Arzon

For many of you it may seem that I have dropped off the face of the earth when it comes to actual consulting work, speaking engagements, original content creation etc. Well, this Dadologist and Simplistic Professional is alive and well, and back to having his nose pressed firmly to the grind stone.

Early last summer our family began experiencing one of those LifeTime Movie Special moments that I, personally, thought would never happen… let alone end…or that when it did, it would have the very worst of outcomes. Without going in to details or lengthy explanations, our 9 year old son began having leg pains that systematically became chronic. After innumerable doctors visits and more X-rays than any human should have in their lifetime (sigh} it is still difficult to think about, let alone share with the world) a significant mass was found inside his femur.

Thus the nightmare began and true terror entered my heart as the words “we need to do an immediate MRI as it looks like he has a tumor”. There was no time for taking stock of the situation as we were sent immediately to the children’s hospital for the test. I hardly had time to tell my husband, Danny, what was happening before we were both being gowned and him wheeled into radiology. You see, he couldn’t even walk by this point. He went from chronic pain, to a severe limp, to crutches and to a wheel chair in a matter of days.

After two hours of sitting with him, as he was strapped down into the most confining MRI machine I had yet to see (mine was what they call open when I had it done for my gall bladder a few years ago.) they asked us to wait….nothing about the appointment I had already scheduled for results with our orthopedic sports medicine specialist two days later. I knew instantly something serious was wrong as the technician came back and said they were speaking to our doctor now and could not leave the hospital. They were trying to determine if h should be admitted right then and there.

Okay, so I may have misled you and this does seem to be turning into a lengthy story…..I apologize and would understand if you decide to stop reading at this point.

Finally they came back and said we were to go see our doctor before the office opened at 7am the next morning to discuss the results. Now, when was the last time you heard of a doctor seeing patients prior to or after office hours? I hardly remember the hour and half long drive home that night or even telling Danny what was happening. I do remember telling myself to be careful what I said and how I said it in front of any of the kids….especially Anthony. And hiding my fear and tears was a testament to my years of being bullied as a kid and not giving the bully the satisfaction of seeing my reactions.

The next morning they swooped us into an exam room where the head of the orthopedic dept., our nurse and doctor were already waiting for us with the pertinent images visible on a computer screen. There was nothing but calm compassion as he explained that a large mass had been found and a biopsy was needed to determine if it was malignant or not. They also explained that the images and our chart had already been shown to the head of radiology at Nemours Children’s Hospital and it was decided that, though initially Dr. Stanton was going to perform the procedure, the head of radiology would be performing the surgery himself.

When I looked at those images, they became seared into my brain and I can still see every detail. The mass was so large and had grown so fast that it was about to break his leg from the inside out. We are talking a millimeter from each edge. The bone marrow had been completely consumed in about 1/3 of his upper leg bone. No wonder he was in so much pain that every over the counter suggestion for relief had failed.

We immediately set appointments to meet with the head of surgery for the oncology department and a date to have a biopsy done of the tumor and bone marrow. 10 days was all thought we had to wait to get more definitive answers and devise a course of surgical options. But within two days the pain became so bad ( they had still refused to prescribe anything) Anthony came to me crying and begged me to take him to the ER because he couldn’t take it any longer.
To be continued…….