Use the following ten suggestions to help promote family cohesiveness with technology:
- When purchasing cell phone, tablets, or mobile devices for the family look for compatible devices to make it easier to share files or music.
- Help teens set their privacy settings and encourage them to friend you on the social media sites they utilize.
- Understand the minimum age requirements and fine print before letting kids download apps. This can protect our teens’ health and well being in the long run, by preventing exposure to inappropriate content or sites.
- Avoid stalking a child’s page or friends online. It’s alright to check in now and then, but don’t fill up their newsfeeds with likes or cutesy comments. Those actions will irritate our teens and block open lines of communication.
- Introduce senior family members to technology to connect with extended family members. Older generations have a lot of wisdom to share with our teens and all family members can benefit by bridging the generation gap.
- Create a contract with a teen to outline expectations and consequences in regards to technology and their devices.
- Avoid posting embarrassing photos or stories about your teen online.
- Friend your child on social media apps and sites so you can message each other throughout the day or update each other on carpools, pick up times, and more.
- Have fun! It’s alright to play a game or text a joke. All interactions with our children don’t have to be serious.
- Know a child’s technology activity and be on the lookout for possible threats. Parents need to be actively monitoring what sites a child uses, who they are friends with, and how they conduct their online personas. It is estimated that 70 percent of our children take measures to hide activity from us. Inappropriate activity can expose our kids to serious consequences.
Technology doesn’t have to be the enemy in our homes. If used correctly, our devices can encourage authentic communication and bring us closer to our children and family members. We need to challenge ourselves to strengthen our family everyday- even if it means using a text message. Although our children are no longer toddlers, they still need us to be engaged and offer them guidance.
What is one thing you do to use technology to connect with your teenager?