As a parent, do you feel like technology has taken over your teenager’s world? Does your teenager spend what seems like hours texting or literally hours on the computer? Or do you sometimes feel a sense of distance in your relationship with your teenager because technology? Here are 7 tips for parents of the wired generation:
1. Be aware
Do you know what an iPod is? What do you know about social networking sites like Facebook and Linkedin? Twitter? Flickr? This biggest mistake many parents make is not taking the time to find out about the latest gadgets, software, and websites. If your knowledge of technology is limited to a cell phone, then a good starting point is simply finding out what is available.
2. Become a consistent user
As a parents do you feel like your teenager is more techno-savvy than you? There is good news. The world of computers changes as rapidly as time itself, and it seems to become more user friendly in the process. Get educated. Take some classes, read some books. Better yet – ask your teenager to help you. Most teenagers enjoy showing their skills and tend to be pretty good teachers – the key is in the asking.
3. Embrace technology, rather than avoid it
Can you remember what the new technology was that your parents were resistant to when you were a teenager? Perhaps it was the use of a computer itself. We all know that technology is here to stay. It is not going to go away, and with all of its benefits, why should it? By embracing technology rather than ignoring or resisting it, it sends the message of openness and interest in your teenager’s world.
4. Help them discover balance
Too much of anything is bad for you. Moderation is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Teenagers, like many adults, are still learning how to find that balance between overindulgence and relaxation. Excessive time with any technology leaves little room for down time and allowing your mind and body to rejuvenate.
5. Teach responsibility
As with anything useful, there can be harmful applications as well. Technology is no different. Yet, lack of responsibility can result in harm to your teenager physically and emotionally. Help your teenager discover that using technology responsibly, rather than avoid it altogether, is essential within his/her highly wired lifestyle.
6. Strengthen your parenting relationship by using technology
What is a parent to do about all this technology and the internet? Use it to foster your relationship with your teenager! The wired generation of today’s teenager often uses technology to build a sense of community. As a parent, why not use this as a vehicle to build community with your teenager as well?
7. Establish some rules
As stated, technology can sometimes be harmful in as much as it can be beneficial. Identify what the household rules are, and communicate them to your teenager. Rules are necessary for safety and accountability.
Technology and teenagers go hand in hand. It is difficult to find a teenager that does not enjoy listening to his MP3, or communicating with her friends via text messaging. In reality, technology can be a great tool in parenting the wired generation.