Smart phones are an incredible tool and blessing in our lives. They make just about everything easier for us – communication, navigation, tracking, learning, work, fun, productivity, and even self-care. Unfortunately, like most tools, smart phones can be misused and abused, and they come with their own set of challenges. When most teens today have smart phones it almost seems like an expected right, but teaching your teen responsibility with their smart phone is an important part of that right. It is critical that teens understand that their handheld devices are tools that are intended to be used to make their lives better, not worse.
3 Ways to Teach Your Teen Responsibility with Their Handheld Device
Time Management – smartphones and cool handheld devices can quickly become the biggest time-sucks of our lives. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of interesting or fun activity on our handheld devices, and suddenly find ourselves far behind in our responsibilities after hours of no productivity. One of the first lessons to teach your teen about responsibility with their handheld device is how to be aware of the time they spend on their devices. Ask them how they feel about friends or family who are always distracted by other things, and not always present. Talk about good behavior and respect for others – maybe putting away the phone for meals, dates, or movie nights is a good idea. Setting rules about device use when in bed or when homework needs to be done can be helpful. Lead by example, and make an effort to be present with your teen when possible.
Improving Daily Life – Show your teen how to appropriately use their phone. Share with them apps you use to organize your life, increase your productivity, or make things easier for yourself and others. Help them set up calendars, to-do lists, or find apps that can help them establish habits, complete homework, or live a healthier lifestyle. This helps them understand that their phone is a good thing that can improve their lives if used appropriately.
Defining Inappropriate Use – The most critical lesson to teach your teen, however, is the lesson about inappropriate use of smart phones and handheld devices. There are many ways to misuse and abuse handheld devices. Have open and frank discussions with your teen regularly about sexting and pornography, as their exposure is always evolving. Carefully define cyberbullying with your teen, and be sure to commit them to avoiding cyberbullying in all its forms. Set clear rules about using phones while driving, and explain the reasons and consequences that can come from dangerous behaviors such as texting and driving. Monitor their phones regularly and keep an eye out for apps that can be concerning.
Teaching your teen responsibility with their handheld device is an ongoing process, but one that will greatly improve their life – and your relationship. It’s well worth the effort! For more help and parent resources visit our site, where you’ll find any kind of assistance you may need.