47 0 0 0 13 6. Parents welcome technology parenting magazine advertisements in the home as helpful tools. Who doesn’t want a homework assistant, a boredom killer, or a virtual chaperone a pre-installed geo-tracker for their teen?
But without parameters, technology is like the obnoxious houseguest who overstays his welcome, while consuming all the snacks in the fridge. So how do teens reform their technology habits? Author and voice actor Bill Ratner is probably the last person any parent would consult as an expert on the topic. The man made a career out of lending his voice to some of the most aggressive advertising powerhouses around. But Ratner is also a dad. And his lifetime of work in the industry make his perspective a useful one.
When they’re part of the decision making process of how and when their household uses technology, teens are more likely to take ownership of the plan. They are familiar with kids who are game-addicts, textaholics, and Facebook freaks. Teach teens to pick up on marketing ploys. Teens who are wise to the ways marketing, advertising, and the media work, are also more keen to tricks of the industry. Ask your kids questions about the advertisements they see, questions like: What’s being sold? Who does the advertiser want to entice?
That type of conversation encourages critical thinking in place of passive viewing. Teens sometimes connect technology devices with social status. Make it clear that a person’s value isn’t related to the things they own. The challenge for parents is to find ways to affirm children’s self-esteem and their membership in their group of peers while making sure that they know the difference between self-worth and simply owning a smart phone or t-shirt. Remember that technology use is not an all or nothing matter. Don’t be afraid to adjust a rule that doesn’t quite fit. Each family needs to find the formula that works for them.
Connect with families from the neighborhood, school, and local place of worship and find out what other parents do to manage technology use in the home. Each family must determine the principles and practices that will work for them . Confronting the obstacles for families in our digital age can either be a battle or a creative challenge. This is one of those simple and timeless parenting principles. Find which rules work and stick to them.