July 16, 2014 

Scrabble players to benefit literacy

Game and word lovers are prepared to shake their tile bags and rack their brains during the first Play for Literacy Scrabble Tournament. The event begins at 11 a.m. July 26, at MacNarb Gaming, 2307 U.S. 90, Gautier. General public, family and businesses are welcome to provide donations or can sponsor teams with per-point pledges to benefit the Jackson County Literacy Council. The winners will receive prizes.

The Jackson County Literacy Council Inc. provides a non-sectarian literacy and English as a Second Language program for adults. The council. is a nonprofit agency supported by United Way allocations, private donations and fundraisers. Entry fee is $30 per individual and $75 per team.

Details: Jackson County Literacy Council at 762-2814.

-- Sun Herald


Parenting while distracted

When crazed LSD-advocate Timothy Leary said, "Turn on, tune in, drop out," he never dreamed that 50 years later those words would apply perfectly to our obsession with cellphones, HDTV and other digital devices.

On sites like, people are documenting kids starved for parental attention while mom or dad texts or chats without any acknowledgement of the child's existence. Talk about sending messages.

Recent studies confirm just how careless folks have become with their devices. Researchers discovered that 75 percent of parents engage in distracted behavior, including texting or talking on their cellphone with kids in the car. And the Journal of Children and Media reports children 2 and younger are exposed to 5½ hours of background TV a day. That can stunt development of a child's communication skills. Seems parents, distracted by the show (even if only watching it casually), use fewer words and introduce fewer new words when talking with their children.

What does this all mean? You don't have to be focused on your child 24/7; that's micromanagement of a kid's life has its own negative repercussions. But when you're spending time together, pay attention to your child. Focus on the interaction, talk to your child using descriptive language, and send the message that you are interested in what your offspring is up to. Hugs now?

-- Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz

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