Dear Amy:

I am a responsible 14-year-old teenager. In my spare time, I watch music videos.

My mother recently confronted me about the videos that I watch. She found out from a friend that some of them are inappropriate.

Amy, I don't watch rap videos, and if something is inappropriate, I turn it off.

I like artists such as Jesse McCartney, Jason Mraz and Brie Larson -- none of whom is in any way questionable.

My mother said that any video I watch from now on she wants to watch beforehand, to make sure that it is okay.

I take great pleasure in watching music videos and would feel very limited if every video I watched had to be looked at beforehand, even though all music videos are edited for any inappropriate material before being put on the computer site.

None of my friends has this problem, and they watch music videos all of the time.

Really, the bus ride to school is probably worse than any video.

Alisha in Montana

In your home, the most important editor of "content" is your mom.

As chief editor in your house, it is completely right for her to check out anything that comes into the home, whether on television or over the Internet.

I realize that you might think it's dorky for your mother to check the stuff that you see before you see it, but she is actually doing what parents SHOULD do.

Go with this. Show her Brie Larson's latest video. Explain what you like about Jesse McCartney. You will educate your mother about the culture you enjoy and she will educate you about some of the messages she is most worried about. (These artists are a heck of a lot more benign than what I listened to at your age, and your mother will probably see this, too.) As time goes on, she is going to see that you are trustworthy to make these choices on your own.

Dear Amy:

My daughter is planning her 11th birthday party. She invited a few friends, including our two neighbor children.

Just a few days before the party, the neighbor called and asked if we could include her three nieces and two nephews. I don't know how to respond.

Etiquette Challenged

This isn't an etiquette question. The answer here is simple. You just say, "No."

Dear Amy:

Recently I have received e-mails from a woman I was best friends with in elementary school. My family moved when I was in junior high, and I rarely saw her after that.

I haven't seen her in nine years.

I've moved out of the area, and I don't feel that we have anything in common anymore, but I don't know how to reply to her e-mail to let her know.

I don't want to not reply and seem like a snob.

Is there a polite way to handle this?

Moved On

Sometimes, not replying is less snobbish than replying with, "I'm sorry, Wendy, but I'm over you. I've just moved on." Unless she is papering your inbox with unwanted e-mail, I suggest that you wait a few days after an e-mail, reply in a simple, polite and noncommittal way, and simply let the correspondence peter out.

If she persists and you feel uncomfortable about it, you can reply with, "I'm so sorry that I can't keep up my end of this correspondence, but I am so busy and I've sort of run out of things to say. I've really enjoyed catching up with you." Sign off affectionately.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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