Parenting Tips on Managing Technology For Children and Teens


What are the Advantages for Millenials (1977-1997) who are

Active Technology Users?

  • They are interactive users, global communicators, not passive TV watchers
  • They are the new authorities, teaching their parents how to use the web and as a result are respected and more engaged with adults creating a more open, consensual, effective family unit.
  • They search for information, develop critical thinking, investigative skills, and are critics of which websites are the best.
  • It’s been suggested that their brains are wired differently from the previous generation, because they are perceiving fast-moving images faster than their parents did. As kids, they were stimulated more during their first wave of brain development (birth to three years old) than previous generations, and again more during the second critical period of brain development (the teenage years).
  • They are collaborative and like to share information
  • As knowledge expands the power it creates is more inclusive
  • The technological landscape is filled with the potential of bringing people together to create new personal and professional friends and relationships. This can be a great resource for both youth and their parents


What are the Disadvantages of Active Technology Users?


  • They may become addicted phone users because of the increase of dopamine in their brains that increases a feeling of stimulation that is continually sought after.
  • Fast online comments among users may be impulsive, rash, filled with gossip, exclude others in a rejecting way, and thus create shallow connections that interfere with healthy social connections.
  • Impulsive oversharing may interfere with privacy and later haunt those who give too much intimate detail
  • Having grown up digital, they expect speed, meaning they are used to instant responses and rapid feedback. if requests for regular feedback are not acknowledged in a short amount of time  they may feel emotionally less satisfied.
  • Cyberbulling may become easier unless there are careful restraints
  • Less in person contact can result in less life satisfaction and mental health problems such as depression with feelings of loneliness and isolation

An example is how by not getting quick replies to text or social media messages causes anxiety, a common precursor to depression.

There is a finding that the growth in suicide rates jumped 30 percent between 2011 and 2016 coinciding with the rise in I Phone usage, a coincidence but a suspicious result.

  • Smartphone usage seems to have decreased teens’ sleep times to less than seven hours a night—where they should be getting nine hours a night Sleep deprivation affects mood so that those who don’t sleep enough are prone to depression and anxiety, and furthermore, teens who sleep less than seven hours a night are also 68 percent more likely to have at least this one risk factor for suicide


What Advice Should Be Given to Parents About Phone Usage?


  • No one, including adults, should sleep within ten feet of his phone.
  • Buy an inexpensive alarm clock rather than using your phone to awaken you.
  • Teens and adults should put their phones away when with other people in person. This can be taught as phone etiquette if parents model it.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, the human being cannot multitask but focuses attention on only one cognitive task at a time. So, putting down the smartphone is crucial for study and work.
  • Use the phone for a break from work and study after about forty-five minutes, and then put it away.
  • Parents need to prevent children and teens from seeing pornography on phone apps by discussing it in open, honest dialogue. Let your teens know that pornography does not portray normal adult sexuality.
  • Overall, the ideal is that the phone is used in moderation by both busy parents and their kids. Parents should help their kids put it down and be present in the moment as much as possible in order to safeguard mental health.
  1. How Does This Advice About Phone Usage Change During the Social Isolation of the Pandemic?

While phone usage may need to be increased, especially for teens whose emotional development leads them to want more peer interaction, online video chats are a better choice because they simulate more in-person emotional connections.


 What are the Physical Effects of the Increased Usage of Technology?

  • exposure to technology goes hand in hand with a decrease in physical activity, burning calories, and energy. Combined with an increase in mindless snacking, this can lead to significant weight gain, even obesity.
  • tension headaches
  • dry eye syndrome
  • effects on the brain

Texting and surfing use different parts of the brain than in person communication and it raises the question for neuroscientists as to the impact this is having on brain development to the age of 25—Is it just different, positive, or deleterious?

Excessive use of technology, according to leading scientific publications, atrophies the frontal lobe that controls personality development, cognition and social behavior.  There are breaks in ties between differing parts of the brain, resulting in the shrinking of the outermost part of the brain making it more difficult to process information.

These brain changes can affect the way people interact in that there might be changes in an ability to regulate emotions, remember certain events, and pay attention to different things. If this is the case, then technology use can certainly affect how you communicate with people.

There is also evidence of neck (tech neck) and back pain from too much sedentary sitting behaviors.


 What is Cyberbullying and are its Effects?

Bullying is a form of aggressive harassment that is unprovoked and repeatedly directed toward another individual or group of individuals. There is always a power differential. Additionally, bullying may inflict harm on the targeted youth—including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.

These are several characteristics of bullying:

The behavior is intentional.

It can be written, electronic, verbal, physical, or visual communication with the malicious and willful intent to coerce, abuse, torment, or intimidate.

The maliciousness is some form of violence.

Overt aggression includes name-calling, pushing, or hitting.

Relational aggression includes gossip, rumor spreading, social sabotage, exclusion, and any other behaviors harmful to interpersonal relationships.

By definition, a bullying behavior is repetitive, creating a dynamic where the victim worries about what the bully will do next.

The bully has perceived or actual power over a victim, which can include technological proficiency

It is attractive because of its ease of use, potential anonymity and potential viral capacity.