How to Parent the Cellphone Generation

by Jason Finkelstein- November 28, 2011 • 1:49 am

A couple weeks ago we posted an infographic that revealed some hard numbers about how much teens text. Here’s a hint: it’s a lot. The average teens sends 1500 text messages a month. That’s 1 text every 20 minutes.

While texting is a great way for teens to communicate, it poses a number of challenges for parents. Kids can get sucked into unhealthy habits, like texting after bedtime or while they’re on the road. If your kid has their face in that little screen all day, communication can be hard, too.

Here are three tips for parenting the new generation of mobile teens.

Collect your Child’s Cellphone before Bedtime

Did you know 80% of teens send texts while they should be sleeping?

The National Sleep Foundation says that teens need a little over 9 hours of sleep a night. Aside from obvious problems like performing poorly in school, sleep deprived teens also take more risks. Lack of sleep has also been associated with teen depression.

The light from cellphones makes it hard to sleep if you use them right before bed. Getting woken up in the middle of the night by a text is even worse. Studies report most teens feel annoyed when texts interrupt what they are doing (like sleeping). However, they often worry their friends will get mad if they don’t respond, so they end up texting at midnight anyway.

To make sure your teen gets a good night sleep, ask them to hand over their phone an hour before bedtime. That way, they won’t be tempted to text when they should be catching some Z’s.

Set a Good Example

People often complain about kids texting at the table or worry that they’re texting while driving. The thing is, adults do many of the same things.

Did you know that over 40% of parents text during dinner and almost half text while driving? 38% also said they have texted during the middle of the night.

The next time your kids’ texting habits get on your nerves remember that bad cellphone behaviors also tempt those of us who are past our braces years.

Learn to Text

Over 25% of adults still haven’t dived into the world of texting. If you’re one of the 1 in 4 who don’t text, you should consider trying it out.

90% of parents who text say texting has made them feel closer with their kids. Texting is the language teens talk in. It’s the best way to quickly find out where your kids are or tell them to have a good day.

Learning to text can be a great bonding opportunity in itself. Over 50% of parents learned to text from their kids.

Have you encountered problems with your teen texting too much? Have any tips for other moms and dads?

Join the conversation on twitter with @Safely.

Photo via goodncrazy.

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