A Parent’s Guide to Tackling Teen Technology Use

They grew up on Wi-Fi and touchscreens. We learned on floppy discs and dot-matrix printers. When kids begin to explore more than Dora and Webkinz online, parents struggle to stay on top of new technology, trends, and tracking what our kids do online.

We can feign competency for only so long. At some point, the lie of an all-seeing app tracker we keep in our ancient flip phone will become exposed. There is a way, however, to craft a game plan specific to your family’s situation, save face, and find a compromise.

We’ve broken down the Four Horsemen of Tech Entanglements:

  • Apps
  • Internet
  • Smartphones
  • Television/Video Games

We’ve also included a sample of a technology navigation agreement between parents and teens intended to keep the peace. Of course, family dynamics can vary. Proportions of safety and trust also fluctuate in importance, not only from family to family, but within families, too.

Our interactive agreement lets you customize expectations between your child and you. First, let’s explore friction points on both ends.

The Players

For The Parents
For the Teens and Preteens

What’s the Danger?

The Apps
The Smartphone
The Television & Video Games

Teen to Teen: A college freshman’s advice to device life

My daughter, Madison, is 18. She’s entering her freshman year in college. Like many teens, she’s navigated devices, the Internet, movies, music and more. She gave three pieces of advice for teens who’d like to earn freedom when it comes to tech.

  • DON’T BE SHADY | If you hide your device screen when your parents come into the room, they’re going to suspect you’re doing stuff you shouldn’t. Locking yourself in a room with your smartphone won’t help. Leaving your phone out like you have nothing to hide will.
  • SET AN EXAMPLE FOR SIBLINGS | Your little brothers and sisters are watching. Don’t tell them not to do bad things online, then do them yourself. It’s good to have someone you’re accountable to. Don’t be afraid to call out a sibling for doing the wrong things – and let your parents know if something’s going on.
  • FRIEND YOUR PARENTS | Let them be your friends and know who your friends are. Parents freak when they don’t know what you’re up to. Show them you’re being smart online. If your friends think it’s strange that your parents are your online friends, who cares?

Check out the Parent and Teen Technology Contract here