Dear Abby: I am 17 and dating a 16-year-old girl. My mother lives a few states away. Every time we talk she tells me to spend less time with my girlfriend. It always seems like she’s trying to break us up. Please give me advice. I want her to want me to be in the relationship I’m in and to let me stay with her. – Teen in Love in Pennsylvania
Dear Teen: Regardless of what you may think about what your mother is telling you, she is not the “enemy.” She may be worried that the more time you spend with your girlfriend, the less you will have to devote to your studies, sports, friends, etc. – all of which are important at your age. The two of you need to talk further about this, so there are no misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
P.S. Because your mother lives out of state, I assume you are living with your father or some other relative/guardian. It might be enlightening to know what the other adults in your life think about the amount of time you’re spending with your girlfriend. Perhaps you should ask them.
Dear Abby: I am struggling to adapt to our accelerating technological world. When I remove myself from the rapid information cycle of the internet and social media, I feel the world is passing me by. I have tried to find a balance, but the ubiquity of technology and our cultural reliance on the internet leave me feeling like I have only two options at any given time – connection or disconnection – and neither one feels entirely healthy to me.
This isn’t the first case of technological advancement leading to rapid cultural change and a sense of dislocation, but at the current rate, it may be the most extreme. This is to say nothing of the increasing presence of artificial intelligence in our lives. Do you have any advice for maintaining one’s humanity while remaining culturally relevant in our increasingly technology-dependent world? – Floating in the Digital Age
Dear Floating: Just this: Try harder to find a balance, because if you are constantly online, you will be swamped. Sometimes we must disconnect and enjoy the “real world” without the constant interruption of the latest news cycle. Trust me. You won’t miss much because the information will find its way to you.