Techy Teens – Helping Them Find a Healthy Balance Between Real Life and the Tech World
by Monica J
There’s no doubt that we live in a digital age. Computers are an integral part of life today, and many households are learning how to deal with technology overload in their homes. Instead of having meaningful face-to-face conversations, we text and send e-mail. Instead of asking friends for advice on sensitive matters, we search the internet for answers. Instead of slowing things down every once in a while, we are always in a hurry to get what we want: answers, entertainment, status updates. If you have a “techy teen” that’s living more in the cyber world than in the one right around him or her, you may need to help them to find a healthy balance between real life and the tech world.
If you want your techy teen to stop spending so much time online, you should start by limiting his access to technological equipment. Don’t let him have a computer in his room; keep it in a public area where he has to share it with the rest of the family. If she texts all the time, make her start paying for her own texting plan so that she is forced to start paying attention to how much time she’s dedicating to texting.
In addition to this negative reinforcement, try implementing some positive reinforcement. Make it fun for your techy teen to engage in outdoor activities. If he isn’t good at sports, find something else he’s interested in that you can do together. If she doesn’t seem to want to do anything at home, go out with her. Organize activities with other parents of teens that you know. Encourage your teen to spend time in the physical presence of other human beings. And when they do it, make sure that it’s a pleasant experience for them.
Most importantly, it’s not enough to get your techy teen to stop spending so much time on the internet. If you’re not going to spend time with your teen, then they might as well learn things online instead of just lying there. If you want your teen to enjoy real life and engage in the world around him, then you have to lead by example. If you enjoy living life, then your teen will be encouraged to follow suit. And, whether she says it or not, she’ll be glad to know that you’re more interested in spending time with her than with household chores or work that needs to be done.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are that of Monica J.