Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Teenager Technology Talk

Both parents and kids have come to depend upon technology to function in daily life.  It is amazing in so many ways.  We can stay in touch with each other, communicate with photos and images and find information quickly.  There are, however, negative aspects that teens whose brains are yet to fully develop, must choose to avoid.  It is similar to a tight wire act for parents.

Balancing giving your teen independence but promoting healthy technology behaviors is tricky.  To be perfectly frank, balancing any issue with a teen is tricky and here’s why.  A study at the McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, researchers studied a teen’s and adult’s ability to identify emotions using images.  They used M.R.I.’s to watch the parts of the brain that worked during these tests.  The part of the brain that reacted in adults was the frontal cortex often called the CEO of the brain.  The part of the brain that activated in teens was the amygdala, which is more instinctable and reflexive.  The teen brain reacted more often without thought.  No parent is surprised by this information.

What it does indicate is that teens have to be given more instruction in how they react to their environment.  With technology a mere flick of the thumb, an off the wall comment, or a slight push from peers can create an action with technology that creates a huge problem for the teen.  Teens are so focused on being part of the crowd, included, accepted, and doing what is cool that they tend to be impulsive to make those choices.  Sending an inappropriate image or text can result in unintended consequences, leave teens open to what they feel is an anonymous communication, and cross the line between legal and illegal actions unknowingly.

With that in mind here are some things parents should do and discuss with their teens that will support appropriate techy behavior and cell phone etiquette:

#1.  Do only those things you would like done to yourself.

#2.  Don’t text when angry.

#3.  Put your privacy before anything else.

#4.  Remember that whatever you put on line, stays on line.

#5.  Anything can go viral.

#6.  Don’t communicate anything you don’t want your parents to see because they will.

#7.  Don’t talk so loudly that others can hear your conversations.

#8.  Don’t allow phones in the bedroom when your teen should be sleeping

#9.  For every hour on line spend one hour off line.

#10. Don’t allow phones during meal times – talk to each other.




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