Teens and Tech
More and more people spend the majority of their days with technology. From work to play, it’s become an integral part of everyone’s lives it seems. From smartphones to tablets to smart home products, you just can’t (and don’t want to) get away from screen time. It makes connecting so much easier and makes most tasks better and more efficient. There’s no doubt about any of that. Technology has improved so many things in our lives, I know I’ve very thankful for it. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do…literally.
As much as most grown-ups are tech obsessed, I think it’s safe to say that kids and teens are even more connected. They have literally grown up with iPhones, the internet, and apps as a part of their lives and it’s how they go to school and stay connected. It’s culture, it’s news, it’s basically everything for them. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen, but it’s difficult to argue that with all of this access to information, there is a great need to monitor what your kids are doing. Limits and control over screen time and what your kids are seeing is so important for their safety.
Balancing Freedom and Safety
Last year, the Pew Research Center found that 61% of parents “have checked which websites their teen has visited.” I’m actually surprised this isn’t even higher! Between giving teens privacy and freedom to express themselves, and also ensuring protection from the potential dangers of the internet, parents face a delicate balance and many choices in the parental controls they wish to use.
Understanding the nuances and potential dangers of popular apps and platforms can help build a sensible monitoring strategy. Service provider or third-party tracking programs and apps — like PhoneSherriff or WebWatcher — allow parents to monitor and catalog what teens are viewing. This can put a parent’s mind at ease while allowing your kids some of that freedom they so desperately crave. There are so many great products today to help in this effort.
Controlling Screen Time
One important aspect of dealing with kids and their technology usage has to be the controlling of screen time. It’s a vital part of parenting today. We do it all the time, both as punishment (it’s the best) as well as just wanting our kids to maintain happy, healthy, and well-balanced lives. That includes putting the screens down and living live in the “real world.” This seems to be more and more of a challenge, unfortunately, but I know I’m not alone!!
When asked how often they restricted internet or app access, 46% of parents of older teens told Pew Research that they “limit how long or when their teen can go online.” And 63% noted that they have “digitally grounded” their teen at least once.
This awesome guide to managing screen time is a great way to start to get a handle on the issue!! I love that this guide talks about why setting limits is important, how to come to an agreement with your kids, and the best ways to go about it via a slew of parental controls and options. It’s really essential reading if you want your kids to be as connected to real life as possible.
Too Much Control
While we all need to watch what the kids are doing online, there’s also a need to not be too many parental controls. As with most other areas of kid’s lives, they know the ins and outs of things better than we think they do. They know how to get around barriers and parental controls, which can drive teens to hide risky behaviors. This is clearly not something anyone wants to happen.
“Many teens are more tech-savvy than their parents,” says Raychelle Lohmann, a counselor focused on teen behavior and cyber habits, and author of “The Bullying Workbook for Teens.” Some of the tools at teens’ disposal, which parents may not fully grasp, are “online privacy settings, disabling cookies [and] clearing browsing history,” Lohmann says.
Teens generally can find a way to access the content they want, and the more pressure parents put on them, the more likely they are to try and hide their behavior.
“Parents can micromanage their child’s accounts and internet usage, but that may set up an environment of resistance and distrust,” Lohmann says.
Balancing Trust and Safety
One of the best tools I’ve found online has to be Verizon Wireless‘ Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech. And one of the best parts of Verizon Wireless’ parent help guide has to be balancing trust and safety: How parents can monitor their teen’s digital activity.
This guide also touches on how to proactively track and limit access, explaining how teens know loopholes around certain restrictions, and how it’s ok to limit their access and usage. It’s been a goldmine of information and so very helpful in this fight. It’s a critical part of life, and being as informed as possible is always your best weapon.
Verizon Wireless‘ Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech
When seeking out tech help, it makes sense to go with pro that are all about tech. Experts in the field that are in business to keep abreast of the latest and great tech. Verizon Wireless‘ Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech is an awesome resource with a ton of really actionable and easy-to-read information that will help you navigate these crazy and deep waters. I love that specific apps and technology are right there for the picking, presented in a really interactive and easy-to-understand way. It’s a holistic guide that touches on apps, products, parental controls, and mindset. It’s a well-balanced and very effective guide that should really be a huge help to just about any parent in today’s world.
Find Out More
With tracking programs and apps that also limit teens online activity, Verizon Wireless is dedicated to bridging the gap between safety and freedom. Verizon Wireless has created tools that help balance trust and safety. Check out a complete parents’ guide to kids and tech on Verizon’s Family Tech page and search #vzfamilytech.
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Verizon Wireless. All opinions expressed are my own.