Teen and Technology Guide for Parents: Text, Talk or Track?

Do you already have a parent-child agreement or have set rules about Smartphone use for your child? Even if you do, those may need to change as children become teenagers and start to communicate differently or less frequently with you

Take advantage of their continual Smartphone use to set some communication guidelines, which will give you peace of mind and help them to understand  your expectations.

One of the most important things to establish with your teen is how they communicate with you when they are out with friends or not at school.

Have a discussion(s) that answers these questions:

  • What time(s) should they check in with you? Are texts ok?
  • What are the consequences if they don’t contact you?
  • What are their passwords?
  • What is the school’s phone policy? Does it conflict with your own?

Social Safety

Teens are quick to try the latest in online technology, like new social media platforms. Smartphones make these social channels easy to access, but they your teen needs to be selective about them. When establishing social media guidelines for your teen, make sure to talk about best practices on social media which include how to be safe online. For example:

  • Avoid sharing photos or videos with strangers
  • Use privacy settings on all your social media accounts
  • Do not share or post your location
  • Do not accept friend requests from people they don’t know

Data Management

Talk to your teen about:

  • How much data they can use based on your family’s monthly plan
  • Use a data calculator to manage which of their apps or online activities (gaming for example) drain the most data
  • Consider setting data limits through your wireless provider and teaching them how to connect to Wi-Fi to eliminate data overages.

Making an Agreement

One of the best ways to help your teen keep their word is to update or start using a parent-child agreement agreement, which where you can include some of these guidelines customize it to meet your family’s needs. Formalizing your agreement helps your teens to take responsibility for meeting the guidelines.