Teens and tech: Making critical decisions in the digital world

The role of technology could either improve the life of your teens or can virtually destroy it. There isn’t a doubt that technology is playing an important impact in the lives of our kids, and we have to embrace the reality that it’s going to stay in their lives forever. So the only option that parents have is to minimise the risks that these electronic devices pose on their kids.

The digital age is a real game changer, because it has revolutionised the way kids are interacting with the rest of the world, and the parents too. The impact is undeniable, but one thing that’s still not certain is whether the tech revolution is hurting kids more than helping them.

Tech and teens: a double-edged sword

Is technology really good or bad for our kids? Well, it depends entirely on how our kids are using it. If technology is used for accessing information for school work, it’s good, but if it’s only used for surfing through random stuff on the internet, then your kids are surely paving a path to become addicted to pornography, social media and dating, which is not good. So technology has its pros and cons.

But before we emphasise on the fact that why pornography or social media addiction is too bad for the kids, let’s take a look at this recent article in Time that is about men who have spent their entire childhood with access to hardcore porn. So as young adults, these people find it a lot more difficult to have healthy sexual relationships. This tech-related risk of unhealthy sexual development is a long term impact of technology, but it’s possible for our kids to experience some more immediate and threatening effects, like when do they do texting while driving.

Kids are using their phones for texting, snapchatting, taking photos or recording videos, all that while driving, and this isn’t great for their safety in any way.

But technology isn’t just absolutely bad—there are a lot of positive things to it too. Apps like Trackmyfone can track kids GPS location and tell parents how fast their kids are travelling and the routes they are taking. This really help parents monitor their kids driving habits. But the sad reality is: parents aren’t able to keep up with the pace their kids are embracing technology. The moment they learn about one app, their kids have already moved onto another one. But a single app like Trackmyfone can give frazzled parents a quick solution to monitor their kids’ online and offline behavior.

How can parents help their kids become better digital citizens?

If parents aren’t doing it, no one else is going to come to their kids’ rescue. So if you are a parent and trying to understand your kids’ digital lives, one thing that you need to know is that your kids are treading through a dangerous landscape with risks of predating, cyberbullying, catfishing and even unsolicited access to explicit content—so you have to be with them!

At Trackmyfone, we have emphasised this time and again that monitoring should be a proactive measure for parents to mediate their kids’ behavior, rather using it for negative reinforcement. Use of apps like TMF only work great if kids are instilled with good digital ethics and moral values. Kids are better off in the long term if their parents work on making their kids’ better digital citizens.

So our TMF team has come up with some suggestions that parents can use to help their kids foster a healthy online presence.

  • Be good role models: We do talk about this a lot that parents have a big responsibility on their shoulders to be good role models for their kids. So if you are texting while driving but asking your child not to do the same, you are kind of mistaken that they won’t do it.
  • Enforce tech-free zones: Parents have been working on creating tech-free zones since the advent of these smartphones, but it’s not really something that they are able to achieve. Why? Because kids don’t listen to them. Therefore, apps like Trackmyfone help parents enforce tech-free zones, especially when kids need them the Establishing no-devices zones are easier to work with on the books, but difficult to implement in real life.
  • Establish expectations: As parents, you have to start working on establishing expectations about what’s appropriate behavior and what’s not. Also, there is a need to for a distinct difference between the two.
  • Communicate: A big reason why parent-child relationships are falling is because parents are not finding the right way to talk to their kids, or more precisely, they aren’t been able to have an early dialogue with their kids. Your kids are never too young for a discussion, and you don’t have to wait for the them to enter their high school or college before you talk to them about drugs, sex or relationships. If your child is going to get his/her first smartphone at the age of 13, then you should start talking to them about cell phone use at the age of 10 or 11.
  • Make sure your kids get sleep: Your kids need to have enough sleep for the day and if they aren’t doing so, they can get vulnerable to different kids of body and mind diseases. If your child gets too less sleep, their performance for the whole day can severe—their grades can deteriorate, and they can be left out by their friends at school.
  • Be honest: kids don’t like the idea of being monitored, so it’s natural for them to resent their parents decision of monitoring them. So this is where parents make a grievous mistake of secretly monitoring their kids’ smartphone activity. Be honest with your kids about monitoring their online activity. Talk to them about the dangers of internet and the social media and how smartphone monitoring apps like TMF can help reduce the risks of cell phone abuse. You have to tell your kids that it’s their smartphones, not them that you don’t trust.

It’s no easy to be a parent nowadays, but it’s not easy to be a kid either. Technology can open up new and unthinkable channels for your kids to make grave mistakes online, but the same technology can also help them be better digital citizens.

Have something to share with us? Let us know in the comments.


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