Parents like you and I are understandably concerned about smartphones, video games, cyberbullying, sexting, internet addiction and other such things.
I totally get it, but who is talking about all the positive ways to use technology to inspire and connect with teenagers? Well, I know there are others out there, but I am making a conscious decision to be a voice on this important subject.
Here are a few ways that you can connect with your teenager using technology over the Thanksgiving holiday.
1. Ask questions about what tech your teen is interested in
Hint: look at the Black Friday ads that are full of sales on video games and other fun toys. I guarantee their are multiple tech items on their Christmas wish list this year. Be curious, non-judgmental and ask good open-ended questions. Ex. “What new technology would you line up for at midnight on Black Friday?”
2. Play video games with your teen
Like anything with teenagers, if you can get into their world, then you can connect with them. This is a huge holiday for video games with new hardware and tons of new games. Even if you can’t play (or your teen won’t let you!) just hang out and watch for awhile. Of course, playing smartphone games online counts just as well.
3. Find an inspiring or hilarious YouTube video to share
You likely know what types of things your teen is interested in. One of my favorite ways to relate to teens is to open up YouTube and find some interesting or inspiring videos to watch together. There are some truly amazing and hilarious videos you can find if you search around a bit. Have you seen the videos of the beat boxing cellist? Check it out HERE. (The good stuff starts at 1:03)
4. Download and play with the apps your teen is using
With all the downtime that the Thanksgiving holiday brings you can download some of the current smartphone apps your teenager is using. Take them for a spin and have some conversations about your experiences. Take a risk and use that app that you would never usually consider trying out. 🙂
5. Send some encouraging or thoughtful texts to your teen
As we are all considering what we are grateful for, take a minute to think about what you appreciate and enjoy about your teenager, their personality and their strengths. Send a couple of texts with affirming and positive words. No reminders about chores or homework, just kind words.
I want to help you navigate some of the challenges around raising teenagers with smartphones and technology. Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have.
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons