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Teens, Tech and Talk

Teens in high school are exposed to and use technology every day. Computers, phones, tablets, cameras, 3-D printers, laptops, and interactive white boards are a part of high school curriculum. They have no choice but to engage with and keep up with technological advances. Helping them understand the place of technology in their world, how they relate to technology every day, and what purpose technology should have can help open the conversation. Asking your teens about their emotional relationship with technology by talking about how they feel before they picked up their phone, how they feel when they are on their phone, and how they feel after may be a good starting place for you and your teen. Talking about instances of use for work, education, and pleasure is another way to help them gain some insight and awareness of how much time is spent with technology. Helping them identify their values related to socializing by technology as their only method of social interactions is another area to address when it comes to technology use.  

Signs & Behaviors:

  • Engage in face to face social interactions at a higher frequency 
  • Has a number of ways to cope with their feelings
  • Can identify how they are feeling and what triggers those emotions
  • Has alternative ways to engage in socializing with friends
  • Has an ability to regulate their emotions
  • Identify what triggers their feelings

What you can do:

  • Talk to them about how often they are on the different types of technology
  • Discuss and develop rules about technology use at home
  • Explore how they stay in touch with friends, talk about the importance of face to face interactions
  • Develop coping plans 
  • Learn and understand what triggers their emotional distress so you can offer alternatives
  • Learn what they look like when they are stressed – they may look angry or withdrawn
  • Give them tools to use that will make them feel better
  • Spend more time with them without any technology involved in your time together

 

Conversation Starters:

  • “What do you think the role of technology should be in our house? How much time on tech is healthy?”
  • “What are your coping strategies when you feel stressed? Let’s come up with at least 5 other options that don’t involve tech.”
  • “Let’s talk about the meaning of technology and the purpose of tech in your life.”
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