Lately, there has been chatter regarding our youth’s preoccupation with devices and how they are living a distracted life. Parents read stories about cyberbullying, Internet addiction, Smartphone obsessions, sexting, and the oversharing of personal information. Parents will eventually find themselves questioning a teen’s right to privacy in our hyper connected society.
However, we need to take a step back and consider our own relationship with devices. It is always easier to control our own behavior rather than correct a child’s. Ultimately, we want to carefully consider the message we are sending our children and teens.
8 Ways to Protect Your Kids from the Techno Trap
Here are 8 steps to approach technology that convey a positive relationship with our devices to our children:
Unplug during family time. It is important to power down during family meals, activities, and conversations. Give teens and children your whole attention and send the message that they are more valuable than a text message.
Avoid using your Smartphone while driving. We all know how dangerous it is to text or surf messages while behind the wheel. If you don’t follow your own advice, you can’t expect a child too.
Put down your phone and be active. Take a walk, pick up gardening, hobby or activity that doesn’t require battery life or data.
Limit the amount of time you are online. Display a healthy relationship with technology by shutting it down. Try to set aside time each day to relax or work without the soft glow of a screen.
Start open conversations about technology and Social Media issues. Ask questions and listen to your teen. If they notice you are not hiding concerns they might be willing to voice their opinions freely.
Avoid Social Media blowups. We all have “those” friends who have no filter and post anything they want. Often, a verbal fighting match erupts over taboo topics like politics, religion, homeschooling, and anti-vaccines. Lead by example and refrain from these types of posts.
Don’t expect your teen to avoid game apps, trendy apps, or online shopping if you frequent the sites. Lead by example and do as you say. Actions always speak louder than words.
Discuss and model Social Media etiquette. Be careful what you post online and make sure it’s always positive. Avoid racy or derogative comments. Above all, be mindful that your teen might see anything you post!