How many times does your teen come home and jump on the computer, iPad, or phone, only to go on social media? In working with parents of teens, this is one of the number one complaints. Their teen is always buried in their phone or on their computer posting, tweeting, snapchatting. Where did the days of talking on the phone go? What about actually having face to face conversations about important things? Technology has certainly changed the way we communicate.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SAY?
In 2015, Pew Research Center conducted research on teens, technology and social media. And the numbers reported were overwhelming.
- 92% of teens report going online daily
- o 24% of those teens report going online constantly
- More than half of the teens in this study (56%) went online several times a day
- 12% reported going online once a day
- And only 6% reported going online weekly.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY WITH YOUR TEEN?
A couple of weeks ago I co-facilitated a parent support. Besides the complaint of being on social media all the time, another main concern was “How do we know what our kids are doing?” “How do we know that they’re being safe on social media?”
Unless you are checking their phones, computers, or tablets, you don’t know.
For me, honesty is the best policy. As parent, you want to role model what you would like your children to demonstrate. If you don’t feel you can be honest, there are many monitoring programs out there. Just google “Parental Control Software”. You can install these on phones, tablets, and computers. There are free programs, and programs that you pay to use.
HOW DO YOU SET BOUNDARIES AND FAMILY RULES AROUND TECHNOLOGY?
Then comes the questions and comments about how much time is too much time to be on the phone. Teens often use their phones, tablets, and computer for school work. Additionally, most enjoy listening to music from those devices. So, setting so limits are really up to you, and will vary from parent to parent. Again, I also like to suggest having a conversation about this and not make it a unilateral decision. Maybe dinner time is a phone free time? Maybe the phone gets put in another room to charge overnight so there is a 100% chance your teen is not on the phone during the night.
Regardless of what you decide, and how you decide to handle it, having these conversations and keeping the lines of communication open is what is really important.
Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in practice for 30 years. Norine views the decision to enter therapy as displaying strength and courage. For 5 years Norine supervised a mobile crisis response team for youth and specializes in suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and life transitions. Norine is also EMDR trained and uses this to work with people with PTSD and severe anxiety. Norine works with youth, adolescents, adults, and families.
If you have a teen, and you are struggling with these or any other issues, please feel free to reach out and schedule a free phone consultation or appointment with me.