Teens and tech: Thoughts on how to manage it and help them understand it

Teens and tech: Thoughts on how to manage it and help them understand it

A large part of parenting tweens and teens these days seems to be managing devices and social media accounts. Here are some articles on teens and tech that I've found interesting lately.

I've been a fan of having kids read terms of use for social media before signing up for an account, as I wrote here. I'm an attorney, so I can help my kid decipher what they say, but the fact remains that they aren't always in plain English and they are usually quite lengthy. They're tough for adults, let alone teens and tweens.

A lawyer in Great Britain, Jenny Afia, rewrote them for teens with great results as explained in the article "A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of use ‘in plain English’ so kids would know their privacy rights" in Washington Post On Parenting.

"'I think the timely goal is just plain English so that children can actually give informed consent,' Afia said. 'And then once there is more transparency around how the site works, we hope that will lead to some consumer pressure from the children and they will start demanding more . . . And parents need to bear in mind children are children until they become adults — not until they pick up a smartphone. We need to treat them as children.'"

I love how Denise DeRosa uses an episode of the show Blackish to make some great points in her article "Don’t Fight the Future: Adapt to A Tech-Filled World" in Huffington Post. While parenting in this ridiculously connected age may be new, the challenge of kids being curious, exploring, and testing boundaries is not.

"Part of the problem today is that the pressures and style of parenting has changed so that we expect perfection in ourselves and the solutions designed for us. I think instead, we should welcome the advancement in technology with all the good and the bad that comes with it," DeRosa writes.

While I agree with DeRosa that we should welcome technology, I think it's also important to be aware of the impact it can have on our kids, which is why I found "Are Teens Replacing Drugs With Social Media?" by Lilly O'Donnell in Rolling Stone fascinating.

"It's like social media is serving as a universal methadone, a replacement to give kids the same gratification they would have otherwise gotten from experimenting with drugs," O'Donnell argues.

It's interesting to discuss with our kids how they feel when using social media and what they see as the benefits and drawbacks, and reminding them that there is no replacement for actual time spent with friends and without phones.

Prior Post: Power Hour gets kids to do their chores

You May Also Like: Advice on parenting teens from an Uber driver (with an assist from Bob Marley)

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