Navigating the World of Technology with your Teen - Glasshouse Christian College

Navigating the World of Technology with your Teen



  • November 9, 2023

Navigating the World of Technology with your Teen

One of lovely the things about welcoming Year 7 students to Middle College is the excitement around getting their ‘very own’ MacBook. It is the number one thing that soon-to-be Year 7 students ask about. But for soon-to-be Year 7 parents, it is often their number one concern, and it should be.

The current statistics are frightening. The recreational average screen time by teens is three hours per weekday and more than eight hours over the weekend. Forty-four per cent of teens have been exposed to sexualised images in the previous month, 30% of teens had been contacted online by a complete stranger, and over half had been subjected to some form of cyberbullying. Between MacBooks, phones, tablets, and the latest App, it’s hard to keep up.

What is happening is unprecedented in the history of parenting, and it is so important that we stay on top of the issues, teach our children the right way to use technology, and set the necessary boundaries to keep them safe.

Whether you are a soon-to-be Year 7 parent, or well into the secondary years, here are the top four safeguards you can use to help your child navigate this constantly brave new world.

#1 No devices behind closed doors

(This will eliminate 80% of the most serious issues).

TIPS: have somewhere open that devices are stored and charged. That way you’ll know when your teen’s device isn’t there and neither are they.

When teens are using their devices in shared spaces, watch for the tell-tale signs of misuse: making it difficult for parents to see their screen, such as sitting somewhere awkward, dulling their screen, being hyper-aware of where you are and the quick tap or swipe when you come near.

#2 Limit screen time

(The Australian government recommends no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time for teens).

TIPS: Recreational screen time should only be after necessary screen time, such as homework. Look out for the sneaking of devices and unrestricted access outside of the home, such as using data on phones. Consider extended time for proven creative use of technology, such as gratitude emails, digital artwork, or story writing.

#3 Keep a current password bank

(Expect to have all of your child’s passwords, including chats and social media, and agreements to access devices anytime. Keeping your child safe trumps your child’s privacy every time).

TIPS: Look out for cleared history, multiple social media platform accounts, hidden files and applications, and excuses such as “I can’t remember my password”.

#4 Open technology communication with your teen

(Talk to them about their life on technology and let them feel they can come to you without fear when they do mess it up).

TIPS: The best defence is going on the offence – talk to your child about the dangers, how you deal with them, and why you have the rules you do. Ask your child to show you what they use the technology for, maybe play a game together, start to chat with them online, show them something you have found. Opening up communication about technology will allow them to invite you into their world and make them feel better about coming to you when the wheels fall off.

Navigating the world of technology for your teen is never going to be easy, but using these four safeguards will go a long way to keeping your teen safe and helping them develop healthy technology habits.

Notes:

For more information on screen time visit HERE at the Australian Institue of Family Services

Safer Internet Day: Three in ten teens are contacted online by strangers. (n.d.). ESafety Commissioner. Click HERE

The effects of pornography on children and young people | Australian Institute of Family Studies. (n.d.). Aifs.gov.au.

Larry McKeown, Year 7 Coordinator

Scroll to Top