Teens and Tech

Teens and Tech(a resource for parents)

Wisdom starts with God – then you.

There are so few rules here: we are the first generation of parents to have to deal with this stuff, and we (and our students) are making up the guidelines as we go. Don’t be obsessed with the right answers – go with the good ones and we’ll figure it out together.

The internet and social media just magnify what’s already there. It can be used for good or for evil, but often its effects go unnoticed.

Model right use: In your own tech use, model what you want your children to do with theirs. For example: if you want them to leave the phone alone during dinner, you should first.

  • Don’t give your student a computer (or TV) to have in their own room. Computers should be placed and used in a public area of the home.
  • Anything with an internet connection is a portal: not just a computer, but a smart phone, xbox, iPod, wii, tv, you name it.
  • Consider setting up a charging station for all phones overnight–away from the bedrooms, so that texting doesn’t happen after bedtime. Get him a teddy bear instead.
  • Think of online and social media stuff as “portals:” they open up a whole new world of stuff. Know it and teach them the basics. Get them to teach you how they use things – and why it’s valuable to them.
Permission to be Parents
  • If you allow your student to have a facebook/twitter/instagram/tumblr account, connect with it–be their friend, follow them. Don’t comment on/interact with them (too much), don’t use it to embarrass them (any more than you already do on a daily basis) or comment on everything.
  • It is totally OK for you to expect to have your student’s password to all of their social media accounts. Not so that you can log in every day, but so that you can perform spot checks at your discretion.
  • Ownership: Remember, you bought the phone/computer/ipod/device and you are paying for the electricity/service plan/roof over the head, so you are allowed to perform spot checks, confiscate, and monitor as needed.
  • Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
Relationship, Relationship
  • They need your stability and guidance even more as they grow and want to go and leave. Don’t check out – check in. Repeatedly and Often.
  • Use the community around you. Reach out to other parents, reach out to youth staff, d-group leaders, etc.
  • Don’t be freaked out – don’t be afraid. Strength and courage! Lean on God’s word in 2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:5, James 1.