What is on your preteen's cell phone?

Do you know what your preteen is doing on their phone?

It matters what they are looking at, listening to and soaking up. This is a pivotal time in their brain's development. The trajectory of their relationships are being set

How are you helping guide your teen's technology use?

You can't help them unless you know whats on that screen.

So we have already discussed the hours that teenagers (all of us, really) spend on our phones. So what is going on there? Lots of great things, I am sure! But, screen time gets a bad wrap for a reason.

I realized my screen addiction when I traveled to Taiwan and did not have wifiI would go back to my hotel room and settle into the bed; scrolling through Facebook brough a wave of relief from the culture shock and social anxiety. This wave of images, familiar faces, 0.2 seconds of fame memes, THIS was my peace and my joy. I had very weak muscles in the meditation and relaxation muscles of my mind. I depended on this scroll time to unwind at any moment that I was feeling anxious, be it a crowded room or while waiting in line. Without it, I was unhappy. 

Wasting their time...

Technology is not the ultimate enemy. Moderation is the key. With over indulgence comes higher rates of anxiety. Teenagers are spending 44.5 hours/week on their cell phone or tablet. Opportunity cost: using your time on one thing means you can't use it on something else. This results in lack of development in areas of their life that need training and practice:
social skills
time management
physical development
problem solving skills and
distress tolerance.
You could master 4 skills by the time you are 18 (think: language, programing, musical instrument, etc). If you have the option of skills training or social media, choose skills training some of the time. Social media is a total time suck!

Comparison steals your joy.

That old quote, "do not look at beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly" applies. Flooding your teen's brain with filtered images is setting them up for feeling less than beautiful. If you are not preventing it, you are contributing to it. Social media exacerbates the fear of missing out. Your teen is watching the world of others go by while they sit at home on their bed and wonder what they should be doing to at least look like they are having as good of a time. 

"It is for the pictures" is a common and accepted term. It is as important to look like you are having a good time as it is to actually be having a good time. Before they know it you are so focused on making each moment camera ready that they are not attuned the themselves or empathizing with the people around them. In a sense, they are surrounded by people but all alone.

Be careful little eyes what you see.

Did you know by the time they turn 14, 2 out of 3 boys in America have looked at porn in the past year. Be it on purpose or stumbling upon it by accident, their eyes have found it. Usually on their cell phone.

A helpful resource to learn more about the prevalence of pornography is Fight the New Drug. There are short videos and great articles about how it effects our brains, heart and world. It is difficult to prevent the exposure of pornography to your children. There are definite steps you can take, but it is so accessible if they go looking for it. 

Technology exposes preteens, teenagers and young adults to pandora's box. What is seen, without the grace of God, cannot be unseen. Be it violence, nakedness, sexual acts or a combination of offenses, it is out there. Your kid will likely stumble upon it if they spend enough time on the interent.

Youtube is the number one used site across the ages and sexes. Check out what your teens are watching on this site that ranks the most watched and fastest growing youtube channels
Know what your preteen is looking at on their phone!

If you are feeling like this is a dark reality, it is.

Technology can be used in healthy ways! Next up is an article about what you can do to set healthy boundaries for your teens and protect them to the best of your ability. Keep in mind that they may want the screen, but they need you.

Ask yourself:

Were there real connections made in all that chatter?
When the buzzing stops, what are they left with?

Call me to schedule your teenager's individual session and a family session at 904-357-0536. Leave a message if you would like to talk further. Let's get back on track!