Tweens, Teens and Technology
February 2, 2010 · Posted in Communication, Discipline, Media, Parenting, Technology, Teens · Permalink

TextMessageA recent article in The New York Times, If Your Kids Are Awake They’re Probably Online, reported powerful data regarding children and their “screen time”.

“The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.”

While technology is here to stay –for good or bad– parents should not give up their role in limiting media use and monitoring what is going on online.

Here are some basic tips for keeping tabs and limits on your children’s “screen time”:

  • Know how to use all technology. Stay current and educated about how to text, use Facebook, ichat and skype. Stay in the loop on the kinds of communication systems your child and their friends are using. One way to get closer to teens is to have them teach you — let them be the expert and you be the student.
  • All teens are on Facebook and many adults are as well. Starting your own Facebook page and being “friends” with your teen — even if they block you from seeing some information, will keep you tuned in to what is going on with them. Even if they resist and think you are “creepy and old”, it will become commonplace and accepted after a while.
  • Make sure your kids are not sleeping with their phones. Texting becomes addictive and kids are often texting late into the night long after you are sound asleep. Maybe make a family charging station where all phones are charged at night and retrieved in the morning. Protect your child’s sleep!
  • Set time limits for TV, computer and video game use. You do not have to allow your child to use media eight hours a day!
  • Make rules that children and adults adhere to at home. No texts, email, phone or TV at dinner, or when you are walking children to school. Set a good example.
  • Have a healthy distrust for new technology but embrace it as well. It is here to stay and if you can’t beat ’em-join ’em with care!
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  1. kcf
    February 3rd, 2010 | 4:04 pm

    another tip or two we’ve found helpful:
    1) suggest they give their password to a trusted friend during finals week or a tough night of homework. Their friend uses their password, changes it and doesn’t let your kid know so your kid can’t get on until the designated time. I read about kids doing this in the New York Times and mentioned it to my teens. My totally addicted teen scoffed and then proceeded to do it (on her own terms) during finals week.
    2) take laptops away at night/bedtime, too.

    it’s a struggle we/she hasn’t won by any means, but the guidelines help.

  2. Lola
    February 16th, 2010 | 10:04 pm

    How will I help my kids when I am a techno junkie myself!11??

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