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How parents can combat teens’ tech addictions


Parents of teens and tweens are not only facing the moodiness of their growing child, but they are also faced with an obstacle that parents of previous generations may not have dealt with on such a great scale – technology. Cell phones, video games and social media sites are taking over many teenagers’ lives, and some parents may be wondering how to battle the technology and the risks that come with this issue.

A number of parents are worried not only about their child doing poorly in school, but they are also concerned with the danger of cell phone use and various social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. According to The Seattle Times, parents can find ways to monitor and educate their children about their limits with technology.

A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the average 8 to 18-year-old spends seven-and-a-half hours using entertainment media. Parents need to set restrictions such as shutting off technology at a certain time each night.

Rabbi Chaim Levine of Seattle suggests to the news outlet that having Tech-Free Friday’s is one way to get some fun time with the family without interruptions.

“From just joking around and being playful to having truly meaningful conversations about life, everyone starts feeling more connected to each other,” Levine said.

In addition, parents need to start talking about the internet and cell phones, and the implications of what can happen if the teen breaks the rules.

Parents who feel as though their child is partaking in bad behavior on the internet or a cell phone may want to purchase parental control software, which can allow parents to view texts, pictures and call details to ensure that their teen is safe.

Parents may also need to talk to their children earlier than they expect. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, girls between the ages of 12 and 13 run into the most negative assessment of social networking spaces. So, it may be advisable for parents to have a frank discussion when their son or daughter gets their first cell phone.

“Your child might be just entering middle school, but they need to know there are consequences for their actions, from sending a derogatory text or forwarding a semi-nude photo,” Frederick Lane, the author of Cybertraps for the Young, told the Times.

Parents do not need to worry about having these conversations, as they are quickly becoming the norm during the age of information.