They grew up in the digital age and generally know more about tech than their parents do. It can be pretty overwhelming to navigate what your teen is doing with all the technology readily available to them.
It's enough to make us nostalgic for landlines. Remember when the only way to get in touch with a friend was to call their house and make awkward small talk with their parents before they handed the phone over to your friend? Well, parents are no longer the first line of communication because 78 percent of Americans ages 12 to 17 have cell phones according to the Pew Research Center. And just because you don't hear your teen's cell phone ringing doesn't mean they aren't talking. Or texting. Or Snapchatting. Or... you get the picture.
Teens today have the absolute freedom to communicate with anyone, whenever, wherever. The good thing about that is it's easier than ever to keep tabs on our kids, but it can also can leave the door open for your teen to get into trouble.
According to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study, kids between the ages of 8 to 18 years old spend about 7.5 hours a day consuming media — watching TV, listening to music, surfing the Web, social networking, and playing video games. That's half the time they're awake! They are literally talking, posting, texting, playing, watching and gaming at all hours of the day.
The key when it comes to technology and your teen is to set up boundaries, initiate moderation and explain the importance of discretion. It's easier said than done, but it's worth a shot! Heck, maybe it's time to take a page from our parents' playbook and tell our kids to "go outside and play."
Now Willie and I are parents just like you, and while we think we have some pretty good ideas, we certainly don’t have all the answers…WE WANT YOUR HELP!
Tell us what’s driving you nuts and making you lose sleep at night. Better yet, send us any tricks you might have up your parental sleeves. As we all know, being a parent is the toughest job in the world, but it’s totally worth the wild ride, especially when we get a little help from a friend!
Do you have an idea for an upcoming episode of Parental Guidance, TODAY.com's original video series? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ParentalGuidance: @megancolarossi, @williegeist, @today_parents.