3 ground rules kids would set for their parents’ technology use

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We know by now that teens are distracted behind the wheel, they’re constantly connected, and they're compelled to respond to texts, social media messages, and other notifications.

But according to researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, there's one thing kids can agree on: their parents may be just as distracted.

With all the tech rules parents set up for their kids, shouldn’t mom and dad live up to those same rules? Researchers asked hundreds of kids about their perspectives on technology use and rules parents should follow, and a few themes rose to the top:

  1. Be present (19%): Kids are noticing they’re competing for attention with their parents’ phones and devices. The fix? Take a tech timeout as a family. Carve out time in the whole family’s day where everyone puts away their devices and focuses on being present. Find a place in your home to “ground” all technology out of reach, and connect with each other instead.

  2. No oversharing (18%): Whether parents are proud (that’s soooooo embarrassing…), or just new to social media, kids feel parents share too much about the family and need to ask permission before posting. The fix? Check in with your kids before posting, and try to resist sharing everyday family moments with your followers. Instead, stick to the milestone moments or send privately to your inner circle only.

  3. Child autonomy (11%): While this answer is expected, for parents who have the lockdown on your kids’ every keyboard stroke, it may be time to let up a bit. The fix? Agree together on what is reasonable technology use and try your best not to interfere. Keep a watchful eye without watching over their shoulder.    

Well, well. It seems that the struggle of parents pleading with their kids to disconnect may be the same perspective kids have of their parents. Other minor themes from the research include moderate use (10%) and not while driving (6%).

One of the keys to keeping your teen driver safe is to set a good example (and that means putting down that distracting smartphone, already!). Teens are much more likely to follow the rules of the road if they see their parents do so.

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