If you’re under 60 years old, chances are that you use your laptop or tablet in bed or on a couch resting on your lap – hence the “lap” in laptop. You may even have noticed a humming or whirring sound coming from your laptop as its internal fan attempts to cool down the device. High temperatures and electronic devices don’t mix. If you’ve ever visited the server room at your company (the place where all of the computer servers are kept) you’ll wish you had brought a parka. In order to protect the components, server rooms are kept exceedingly cold – remember that the next time you need to keep 40 pounds of pastrami fresh.

But if you’re a man you should be monitoring more than just the temperature of your devices (or your pastrami). Conventional medical wisdom has long recommended that men keeping their undercarriage as cool as possible by staying away from hot tubs and super tight clothing. However, as the portability and constant use of electronic devices rise, our daily habits also change. Constantly using electronic devices expands the length of time and places the devices are used.

Several studies have connected extended time of increased lap and groin temperature with an increase in scrotal temperature – which seems to lead to the production of abnormally shaped sperm. These new “warmer” sperm are less effective in penetrating the egg, diminishing fertility.

BOTTOM LINE: Gentlemen (of all ages) use a lap desk of some sort at all times. Parents of boys – here’s to ONE MORE THING to worry about…the future grandchildren you don’t even want to think about yet.

READ THE STUDY HERE: Hagai Levine, Niels Jørgensen, Anderson Martino-Andrade, Jaime Mendiola, Dan Weksler-Derri, Irina Mindlis, Rachel Pinotti, Shanna H. Swan; Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis, Human Reproduction Update, https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmx022


If “Ecstatic Anticipation” were a perfume, it would be made up of equal parts: autumn leaves and school bus exhaust. Parents everywhere would wistfully dab a bit behind each ear in mid-July as their children stared aimlessly at a glowing screen.  Despite our best intentions, in the absence of the structure of a school day, the summer months can be filled with high rates of digital device use.

Why less is better

Last year I presented to over 70,000 students and gathered millions of lines of self-reported student data. Here’s what I’ve found consistently (regardless of socio economics, geography, or school type):

  • The age of onset of pornography consumption is  8 years old
  • The age of onset of pornography addiction is 11 years old
  • Sexting is beginning in the 4th grade (sexting = sending sexualized or “sexy” content via phone/web)
  • Smartphone ownership begins as young as 2nd grade (7 years old)

There is no question that children who have unfettered, unsupervised access to web-enabled devices are multiplying their risk of being a victim and/or becoming a perpetrator of cyberbullying, sexting, sexual predation, and human sex trafficking – not to mention the absurd amount of pornography which is being consumed by extremely young children.  The single thread which binds all of these risks together is access. Every single one of these risks requires access to the device in order to exist. Simply speaking:  minimizing your child’s access minimizes their risk.

Changing any single habit or behavior can be tough – changing several can seem almost impossible. However, if you think just in terms of time and location, it will be far easier to cultivate and enforce healthier digital behaviors.

Time-based restrictions

No smartphones under 14 years old. In this case, the best place to begin is to not begin at all. A child under 14 years old has zero justification for owning a smartphone. (If there is a divorce situation – buy your child a flip phone.) Wherever you begin, your child will expect to expand on that starting point. If you bought an iPod Touch for your 8-year-old, the expectation to “upgrade” to a phone will come earlier rather than if the iPod Touch was gifted when the child turned 12 years old instead.

One-hour non-academic time per day. From that first day of school, the biggest difference in your child’s digital behavior comes from the reduced amount of time he has available to spend on devices. There are several studies suggesting that anything more than one hour of non-academic screen time per day increases your child’s digital risks. This solution also supports the idea of being mindful via proactive portion control versus reactively becoming a victim to the consequences.

Not on a school night.  A great solution, especially for students in 6th grade and younger –  no gaming or device use on school nights (Monday through Thursday). This is my favorite time-based solution mostly because it’s simple, super easy to enforce, travels easily with your child, and has fantastic outcomes.

Not before bed.  Regardless of the day of the week or the person (this means you too dad)  no one in your home should be using their phone, tablet, or laptop less than one hour before bedtime. The blue light waves given off by a backlit screen (versus a television) confuse your brain’s circadian rhythms into thinking it’s morning and it’s time to wake up. Additionally, this blue light can make a negative impact on the neural messages sent to your internal organs. If you look at your phone right before bed and you can’t sleep – that could be why.

Not after mom and dad have gone to bed. There comes a natural tipping point when children stay awake later than their parents. It’s very hard to keep an eye on what’s going on when, well, your eyes are closed. The easiest solution is to move the wifi/router into or near your bedroom and plug it into an outlet which has a timer. This way the power gets automatically shut off at X o’clock each night. The low tech solution? Yank the power cord out of the router as you head off to bed.

Location based restrictions

Not in the dead zone.  Create dead zones for technology in your home – these are specific locations where devices are forbidden. Here are a few suggestions: all cell phones (including mom’s and dad’s) can travel through the kitchen but can never stop at the dinner table….no devices should ever be sitting or charging on a nightstand….there should be zero posting, texting, or web surfing during a family outing – especially while eating, etc.

Create a charging station. At X o’clock every evening all cell phones should be placed in a predetermined charging location. This includes your child’s friend’s phones if they’re sleeping at your home. Be sure to make it clear to their parents that this rule is non-negotiable.

Change the view. Make your children play outside! Studies show extended lengths of time engaged in immersive tech usage negatively impacts impulse control and anxiety. Conversely physical exertion and exercise increase blood flow to the brain which improves impulse control and lessens anxiety.

As parents, we’re expected to be infallible and omniscient – a tough combination. Mistakes and missed opportunities are inevitable. It happens to all of us. Going back to school in the fall is a natural time to re-engage. It might be hard, but don’t lose heart. You can do this.   #BeFierceBeUnafraid.


Here it is, August AGAIN and here comes a new school year AGAIN. Is it just me, or can life feel like a never ending viewing of Groundhog Day? (I’ve got you babe…)  Personally, my work and speaking schedule follows the typical school calendar. As a result, I use the summer months to finish writing projects, add new educational features, and plan the coming speaking year.

The beginning of the school year is an obvious time to reinforce established family rules and possibly implement new ones as a response to your children growing older.  

So here’s my contribution to both of those efforts: taking stock of where we’ve been and adding new educational opportunities.

How we got here

At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, I felt the need to reassess where this is all headed. I had successfully presented to well over 70k audience participants (students, parents, educators, and law enforcement), I had gathered hundreds of thousands of rows of anonymized student data and feedback, and (perhaps most importantly) I had been a live witness to hundreds of students reporting their experiences with child exploitation, sexual predation, porn addiction, sexting (tons), and even sex trafficking.

Over the past few years, I have become friendly with law enforcement personnel who have acted as a sounding board as well as a much-needed voice of reason (I tend to come with child protection ideas involving an aluminum baseball bat ala Hollis Queens). I called a detective friend of mine and said to her “I feel like the building is burning and I’m the only one who can see it, do you ever feel that way?” She said “Everyday”, which made me feel better and worse. Better because I’m clearly not the only one. And worse because the building is in fact burning, and not enough people can see it.

My end-of-year reassessment then took a new tack – How do I share this message with the highest number of people without spending 365 days on the road, having my family hate me, and end up shaving my head, moving to a Tibetan ashram and living out the rest of my days in silent meditation? (I’ll be honest, that last bit still sounds AWESOME.)

So I’ve come up with a list of goals for moving forward and I’d like to share them with you here:

  • Increase my output of content dramatically in ways which can be easily consumed by all of you – including audio versions of blog posts and articles
  • Create new online outlets for education – several free so that everyone can participate, several at very low cost for school districts who can’t afford to have me come out and speak.

Where we’re headed

Beginning now, with this post, the blog on my website is undergoing a complete re-birth (or actually just birth since the first iteration wasn’t particularly consistent). Because of Google search algorithms and reasons way TOO tedious and nerdy to explain (trust me you won’t care) -I will be posting a significant amount of my content on the website as blog posts. But don’t worry I will be cross-promoting those pieces on my Facebook page and in the twice-monthly emails – so you won’t miss anything.

#1 Last May I was able to complete and publish the 2nd edition of my book The Boogeyman Exists; And He’s in Your Child’s Back Pocket. (Thank you to all of the parents who waited so patiently after the publish date was pushed back several times.)

Well, there you have it. That’s where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. The ultimate goal is to reach as many parents and educators as humanly possible. If there’s a feature or a topic you’d like to see covered, please don’t hesitate to let me know.