In Part One and Part Two of Teens, Tweens, and Technology: The Rules Change. Principles Stay the Same, I state, “Please keep in mind that we should have a dialogue over time in regards to technology. One discussion does not make an education complete!”
Parents, consider the questions below to start discussions with your teen/tween based on the principles presented in the two previous technology posts. Yes, several questions ask the same concepts in different ways. And, some questions overlap principles. This is intentional!
My goal is for our daughters to develop their own thinking over time. These discussions are how we prepare and practice the strategies for independent self-regulation on devices and social media.
Speaking of time: Developmentally, your influence is greater with a typical elementary student than a middle or high school student who wants to assert independence. You may wish to begin these discussions early!
“Be the Example” Questions to Ask Yourself:
As the parent, do I:
- Put my phone in its home when not in use?
- Put people first?
- “Think aloud” about my technology temptations, frustrations, and struggles?
- Share positive, encouraging posts?
- Model other activities that are important to me?
“Maintain Your Integrity” Discussions
For the following discussions, consider if the question is developmentally appropriate. Also, consider your answers ahead of time. Then, pose questions such as these to your teen or tween:
- How do you portray your life? Is it true? Is it misleading?
- How do you act when you use social media? Do you change your personality?
- What counts as inappropriate behavior in our family?
- How do you avoid gossip?
- What is passive-aggressive behavior? How do you recognize it in yourself and others?
- Why is it important to share your passwords, screen names, etc. with your parents?
- How will you share your thoughts with your parents or others?
- How will you be open with your parents?
“Balance Your Life” Discussions
- How will you create balance in your week? In your day?
- How will you use technology? Is there a better way?
- Why/how should you develop self-regulation skills when it comes to tech?
- How will technology benefit you?
- If you say “yes” to technology at certain times, what are you saying “no” to?
- What are some other activities you enjoy doing besides using devices?
- What new skills do you want to learn besides using technology?
- What activities are more important to you than devices?
“Guard Your Mind” Discussions
- How do you guard your mind?
- What is considered inappropriate?
- How will you decide which apps to use? Videos to watch? Games to play?
- What should you be aware of when clicking on sites?
- What should you do when you land on an inappropriate site/video or something does not feel right?
- How will you handle a friend who encourages you to look at something inappropriate?
- What will you do if friends share an inappropriate website, picture, or video?
- How will you respond to someone who asks you for something inappropriate?
- Why should you check your “self-talk” and build yourself up?
- How will you battle contentment/comparisons?
- How can you handle negative comments about your appearance, beliefs, etc?
- How do you act when you use technology? Are you a different person?
“Create and Maintain Boundaries” Discussions
- What time will you turn off electronics? Why is this self-discipline necessary?
- When will you actually use technology? When will you NOT use technology?
- How will you hold yourself accountable?
- Where will you use technology? Why is it important to use devices in public places?
- Where will you charge your devices?
- Who can you ask for help?
- How will you decide with whom you will connect?
- Which apps do you think you can use appropriately? Why? How?
- What would you do if a friend asks for your password? Why?
- What should you do if someone approaches you online? What red flags might the person give?
- How can you respect yourself?
- What ways might you put yourself in danger using social media? Technology in general?
- What can you do to use social media safely?
Download and Print these Questions for Free!
“Develop Deep Connections” Discussions
- How will you handle conflict via text? Social Media?
- What should you do when someone comes into the room while you are using technology?
- What will you do/think if it takes a friend a long time to respond?
- When might you need to give someone the benefit of the doubt?
- How will you develop the ability to read nonverbal cues?
- How might you advocate for yourself?
- What is your plan for recognizing birthdays?
- What are some ways you might collaborate with others?
- How could you build up, support, or encourage friends?
“Do the Research” Discussions
- What is your plan to research the positives and negatives of various technologies, social media platforms, etc.?
- How will you teach your parents to use technology or social media?
- How might you use social media beneficially? To support your job?
“Recognize Fake News, Bias, and Marketing” Discussions
- What is satire?
- How do authors disguise opinions as fact online?
- What makes a picture or headline sensational? Why do creators use them?
- How will you seek different points of view?
- What will you do in response to emotional posts? Does this change if you know the person or not?
- Why do you think it is difficult to change a person’s opinion?
- What online sites are typically reputable?
- How do marketers appeal to emotions? Fear of Missing Out? Rewards?
- What types of red flags should you look for in emails? What should you do if an email looks suspicious?
“Filter Images Through Wisdom and Kindness” Discussions
- What types of images/posts are appropriate? Inappropriate?
- What happens if you delete something on your phone after it has been sent to others?
- What are the potential consequences of certain images or posts staying online forever?
- How might an investigator use an image or post against you?
- How could you respond to chain emails? What about ones that promise if you send $100 and forward the email to ten people, then ten other people will send you $100 for a total of $1000?
- How would _____ feel if he or she saw such a post?
- How would you feel if everyone you know saw this?
- How might this post/image put you or a friend in danger?
- How could __________ hinder you in the future?
- How could __________ help you in the future?
- What kindness has someone shown you on social media? How did you feel?
- How would someone feel if he or she was not invited to the party?
- How would someone feel if a not-so-flattering picture was posted without permission?
- How can you encourage/build up friends when they post something?
- How would you feel if you saw a similar post?
“Be the Light” Discussions
- How can you respond to other people’s posts with empathy and kindness?
- How can you make sure no one feels left out, ashamed, etc?
- What types of pictures and posts should you share?
- How can you be positive in a negative situation?
- What could you do to benefit someone else?
“Bring Darkness to Light” Discussions
- What would you do if you saw a friend post something disturbing?
- How might you respond to a picture when someone is clearly looking for likes/compliments?
- What should you do if you feel tempted to hide what you are doing? If you struggle with an addiction?
- How could you seek help for yourself or others?
- How might technology or social media be dangerous for you or others?
- What have you seen people share that concerns you?
Yes, we are in a unique position for navigating technology, devices, social media, games, and other apps. For more information on Teens, Tweens, and Technology, please see the following posts in this series:
Parents, what other technology and social media questions do we need to discuss with our teens and tweens? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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