Technology Tips Help You ‘Talk’ With Your Teen
Think you’d like to use technology to simplify or enrich life with your teen or tween? Use these suggestions to help get off on the right foot:
1. Consider what role you want technology to play in facilitating family life.
For example, if your goal is to spend more time together as a family, you might use an online calendar that allows everyone to input activities so you can look for an open night to dedicate to family time. If you want your child to have a cell phone mostly in the event of an emergency or last-minute schedule change, consider which kind of phone and usage plan best meets that need.
2. Clearly communicate under what conditions your child may use the technology or tool.
If cell phones are not allowed at your child’s school, for example, or if your texting plan is limited, discuss with your child how, when and how often he or she may use it. If you’re concerned about your teen texting after lights-out at night, make it clear that the phone gets turned off at bedtime. And absolutely no texting while driving.
3. Establish ironclad rules regarding online safety and security.
Make sure you talk to your children about the dangers associated with online activity, and don’t be afraid to revoke their privileges if they don’t follow them. Think also about how you set up your home computers. Scott Keoseyan, a father who works in information technology, cautions against allowing children to use computers with administrative privileges or having an Internet-connected computer in their bedrooms.
“A phone with Internet access, texting capability and a camera makes a child accessible to the entire world,” cautions Melinda Harper, an assistant professor of psychology at Charlotte’s Queens University and a licensed family psychologist.