Focus on the Family

Staying On Top of Your Teen's Technology

by Lindy Keffer

Ten years ago you could walk across a middle school, high school or college campus and never see a cell phone. Now up to 75 percent of U.S. teens own mobile phones. And parents and teachers find it necessary to create rules and make decisions they've never considered before. Is it appropriate to talk on the phone during passing period? What about text messaging at the dinner table? On top of mobile phones, there's the ubiquitous iPod, with music that comes in digital packages rather than cellophane. And then there's Facebook. And MySpace. And IM (instant messaging). Not only do teens use them all, they use them all at the same time.

New technology has always bewildered those who have grown up without it. And it almost always raises questions about wise and ethical ways to use it. But this generation of technology — and technology users — may take the cake. It's easy for parents to throw up their hands and despair of ever getting a handle on it. But what you don't know about your teens' technology use may hurt them. On the other hand, staying current on your offsprings' techno-habits can provide opportunities for both meaningful conversation and personal growth.

This series of articles will help you better understand how you as a parent can relate to your kids technologically, while giving good guidance spiritually.