Technology can be good and bad according to most people! Technology helps us to explore, learn, and find new ways of doing things. Technology can also keep us connected to family, friends, and current events. When we think of the world before such inventions as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we can recall a time when we had limited access to information, celebrities, and long-lost friends and relatives. “Snail Mail” wasn’t even a term because the postal service was something We relied on heavily on the postal service. Now it’s just “Snail Mail”. Now we have forgotten how good it felt to get a letter from a loved one, a new magazine, or a daily subscription of the Dallas Morning News or The New York Times. The internet and all of its access is now glorified.
Teens and Technology
When we think of teenagers and parents, technology has basically hijacked the parent/teen relationship. This does not sound so good. Teenagers are too engaged with it and parents use it as an excuse to decompress, relieve stress, and delve into what they feel is appropriate networking and connecting. What makes this situation complicated is that both teens and parents need limitations. They also need to understand how technology can trigger tons of emotions.
Teenagers experience a lot. We know this to be true because as adults, we remember our awkward experiences of adolescence. Today, teens are overwhelmed with non-stop exposure to instant access to everything from video games, celebrity status, music, news, and gossip. Often times teenagers are expected to engage in technology pitfalls in order to be cool or relevant. Not having a phone or an Instagram account is like being a wall flower at a dance and no one wants to be associated with you. It’s even worse that parents give into this without realizing the trap of too much exposure and how this can diminish relationships because their teens are too consumed with technology.
Adults and Technology
Too much exposure to technology is not only bad for one’s health with the amount of screen time and the eyes, but what about the emotional distress? The triggers of the constant competition to want what others have? Seeing others so happy when at home, you may not be. What about body images and the life of a celebrity in constant rotation.? Twenty-four hours of the day and seven days of the week, technology is only a reach away. Parents and teenagers need limitations.
First Step, Boundaries
To start, families need to set rules for technology use.
- There should be explicit times when technology is turned off. Typically, that should be during times when teens need their rest. Setting a timer from 10 PM to 7 AM is ideal for 12-14-year-olds and 11 PM to 7 PM for 15-17- year-olds. During meals, even if families choose not to sit together, technology such as cellphones should not be in the area when eating and the television should be turned off.
- Next, parents need to monitor cellphone and computer usage and pay attention to which sites/apps are visited by their teens. For younger teens, parents are encouraged to place restrictions on their teens cell phones and block sites unsuitable for their teens. Although this can be costly, it can prevent access to inappropriate sites.
- Lastly, as adult’s, we are encouraged to adhere to limitations too. Such apps as Moment, Flipd, and AppDetox can help adults with ways to reduce cell phone usage.
Next Step, Learn Together
Join me at TNT, a group to learn ways of setting limitations and sticking with them by replacing technology time with meaningful family time. Tuesdays, we teach parents and then Saturdays, we work with teens. This way, the whole family learns the skills from classes focused on their concerns and how they learn.