I am sure you have noticed that technology has weaved itself into the fabric of your family. This reality brings many wonderful opportunities as well as no shortage of stressful situations.
You know what I am talking about. I am sure you can fill in the blank as to how technology is affecting your teenager and your family.
So, how can you limit the impact of technology stress on your family?
Here are some ideas that I want to share with you today. Please feel free to leave comments with your thoughts. I would love to get your input.
1. Sign a media and/or smartphone contract with your teenager
Take the time to sit down and look at a media and smartphone contract with your teenager. This will not guarantee a smooth ride, but it will make sure the expectations are clear and everyone is on the same page. Also, make sure you are willing to follow the rules you lay out for your teen. 🙂
2. Set up protection software on computers & mobile devices
This may or may not be necessary, depending on your teen and your particular concerns for him. However, he may need an extra layer of protection to make sure he doesn’t get himself in trouble. I recommend Mobicip as a good option.
3. Have regular family meetings
It is always good to have set times to talk about how things are going in the family. You can use the time to talk about current events, relationship conflicts and other important issues. This is a perfect forum for discussing how family members are using technology and what is working versus not working.
4. Create digital free zones in your house
You can set up times and places where the family does not use technology. An obvious place to start is at the family dinner table – no texting, no smartphones, etc. You can even consider making certain rooms of the house tech free or having a family digital fast for a day or more.
5. Show interest in your teen’s life and their relationship with technology
Whether it is computer use, video games or the overheating smartphone, there is a good chance that technology is impacting your teen in significant ways. The more you can be curious and just listen to your teenager the better. If he can talk to you without fear of judgment or getting in trouble then you can support him.
6. Use your wireless carrier’s smart limits features
You can use these services to manage a variety of things. You can block unwanted calls and texts, limit data usage, limit texting, limit purchases and limit phone use by the time of day. It is very important how you implement these limits and that you do it respectfully and with clear communication.
7. Don’t take away the technology as a punishment for everything.
This is an understandable response. Technology may be the main thing that your teen values and need to sustain life (or so he thinks). It may feel like taking these things away is the only way you can discipline him. However, this approach is often ineffective. It is a better idea to use logical consequences instead, make the punishment fit the crime.
Please leave a comment and tell me how you manage technology stress in your family. I would love to hear your take on this important issue.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons