Technology is Here to Stay – So Let’s Embrace it
The tipping point when our adolescent knows more than we do about social media, technology trends, and phones will happen soon… if it hasn’t already. Unlike other challenges your tween may be going through, the struggle of balancing our digital and physical worlds is one we share with them.
Application: Acknowledge to your child that you share the same affinity and even fight addiction to social media, gaming, scrolling, etc. And that the thirst for dopamine dings is real and requires resistance. Appreciate the whiz kids they are by asking for their expertise with tech issues such as organizing picture files, making your posts more fun, finding treasure in video games, turning off notifications, and using your google drive.
Creating a playbook for managing all things related to cyberspace is essential, so our tweens know how to participate appropriately and safely. Getting a phone is a privilege we give our children because they earned it, but that doesn’t mean it comes without expectations.
Application: Establish a let’s make this work for us approach using a shared decision-making model. Together establish device-free time, charging location, approved games, social media and content, and parental monitoring. When our adolescents have input establishing targets, they feel valued, which builds cooperation and trust. Frequent level setting is needed because technology is fluid.
What happens on social media matters to our tweens. It’s an opportunity to be seen, heard, and understood by those who follow them and us. When they share fun and funny or mysterious and upsetting posts with us, they invite us into their world.
Application: Enjoy this opportunity to gain insight into their interactions and interpretation of things. Help them process their emotions when they learn that friends went to the lake and your son wasn’t invited or her friend copied and posted her TikTok dance, and it got a zillion likes. Our stability and support provide a safe outlet them.
We need to follow our children on their social media accounts. (Establish this in the playbook.) Seeing their involvement, comments, and relationships first-hand is kind of like spying, but not really because they know we are there.
Application: When we see things of concern, bring them up expressing curiosity in a conversation, not online. We need to support our child and keep on topic. Avoid criticizing and judging their friends or ideas. This makes us trustworthy.
The giant step into the digital world complicates our child’s world – although they don’t see the risk or danger. It’s impossible for them to comprehend that they are creating a digital footprint and that every post can be copied, pasted, and shared forever. And that each post can affect others.
Application: We must teach them how to foster healthy relationships on and off social media. The intention is to empower them with practical parameters for online safety, personal boundaries, and etiquette. We must be their ally in fostering their digital life rather than fighting it.
Technology never stops changing which means we must chat with our tweens and tweak our playbooks. You’ll be so glad you took the time to do this!
©2022 JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You | All rights reserved.