Every day a parent asks me what to do about their teen’s texting. A lot of parents feel their teens are too tethered to technology. I agree with them, to a point. Teens need interaction with each other. It’s how they learn. So having friends on Virtual Social Networks (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc.) is now a normal part of life. (Make sure your child is old enough to handle online experiences before you let them sign up) Texting is here to stay and is fast replacing emails and phone calls. It’s simply too simple to use. We humans are lazy creatures. Teens are going to use technology and use it a lot .What’s too much?
When technology keeps your teen from having time to spend with real friends and real life or interact with the family, it’s time to set limits It’s also a good idea to curtail technology use if your teen is being harassed online. All technology should have time limits that allow a teen to get a good night’s rest. And of course, there are some places where technology just doesn’t belong, such as the dinner table, or certain social functions. Nothing is more embarrassing or rude than your child’s cell phone ringing as they are lowering Uncle Jack into this final resting place. There is a time and a place for everything.
Parents ask me how they can set limits. First, you have to talk and listen to you teen about their technology use. Decide together on some boundaries and stick to them. Parents can always make use of a little known application ATT has. If your teen is an IPhone user, ATT offers a service called Smart Limits. You can control when your child sends or receives texts, and even block numbers they can dial or receive. It’s a good idea to let your teen know if you are going to use Smart Limits, as no one likes to be dictated as to how they interface with their technology. However, Smart Limits is a smart idea. ( I haven’t researched other providers so I don’t know what they have available for limit setting. But you can ask what’s available.)
As a parent, remember that you still have the ability to ask (nicely) for your teen to TIO ~ Turn It Off! Technology use is like the use of anything else. It’s a privilege not a right. Make sure your teen is using it respectfully and carefully.