Keeping track of how preteens and teens use smartphones is a difficult task, but the pitfalls of the digital age leave us no choice.
Aside from potentially problematic apps, parents should be aware of time spent on a device, parent controls, acronyms/slang, and the common behaviors of young people in the digital age. Plus, we need to be conscious of the example we as parents are setting when it comes to being tethered to our devices.
Kids should NOT have unilateral access to download and delete apps. Restrictions can be implemented on most phones, and we encourage parents to remove an app when they load a new one to ensure that screen demands are limited.
Recent studies show that parents have an even larger issues with digital addiction. The decrease in parental interpersonal interactions with children is hindering childhood development in a very negative way. Don’t be on your phone when your kids are around. When you are in the car, have them take out their earbuds and ask them questions to help them learn how to have appropriate interpersonal communications.
Young people often use slang and acronyms to mask their communications. WTTP – Want to Trade Pics? KPC – Keeping Parents Clueless, are just a few of these terms. Research and ask your child about any term you’re unfamiliar with.
Recent surveys show that for many teenagers, sharing nude photos is considered less intimate than holding hands. More and more kids are sharing nude photos as part of their interactions with potential romantic interests, even before meeting! Help your child understand the implications of sharing such content. Nude photos of minor children is considered child pornography and kids can be criminally charged with possession or distribution if it is found on their devices or if they shared it. These are serious consequences they may not fully grasp.