technology

wtdwmdttm (what to do when my daughter texts too much)

A few years ago, The New York Times published an article titled “Texting May Be Taking a Toll” that discussed the effects excessive texting can have on teens. Some of these effects include potential increases in anxiety, poor academic performance, sleep problems, physical stress on the hands, loss of attention in school, and disruptions in everyday activities. Additionally, the article explored how texting has the potential to affect adolescents’ development, specifically in how they separate from parents to become independent adults. So, what's a parent to do about it? It's pretty obvious that we can't eliminate texting from our children's world, but how can we prevent it from being a problem?

According to this infographic, 29% of individuals between the ages of 13 and 24 send an average of 1 to 49 texts per week and 18% send an average of 50 to 99 texts per week. According to this infographic, teens, defined as those between the ages of 13-17, average a total of 3,417 text messages per month, with an average of 7 text messages every hour. Can you believe it? Well, maybe you can depending on your tween/teen's texting habits!

Teens send and receive more messages a month than all of the other age groups. Teen girls are more active in the text messaging world, with an average of 3,952 text messages a month as opposed to males’ average of 2,815 text messages a month. Those numbers are about to make our heads swirl!

It is no surprise then that parents often feel overwhelmed by teens' excessive texting and are unsure of how to communicate with their teen about their texting and do not know how to remedy the issue. Parents can turn to ParentDish’s articles on texting, titled “Texting Tips for Parents” (pay careful attention to the section on UNDERSTANDING WHY teens text so much) and “Texting - Is it Bad for Teens?” for advice on how to handle their teen’s texting.

Texting And Driving

Some of the tips provided include:

  • Being aware of how texting can be beneficial
  • Establish rules of the and where teens can text
  • Teaching teens to not text and drive
  • Reminding teens that a text’s content is not private
  • Establish consequences for when texting rules are not met

social media 101 for parents

It seems like each day there is a new app that hits the tween market, and it can be challenging to keep up as a parent! How do you learn about privacy features? What apps are appropriate? How can you talk to your tween about her online presence, safety and socializing? 

From Instagram to Snapchat, our colleague at Digital Down Low helps parents answer these questions and more. From her web posts, parents can learn about the ins and outs of specific apps and how to stay on top of monitoring how tweens use them without needing to be online 24 hours a day. Parents can learn more about how social interactions occur in the digital sphere, and how to talk to adolescents about appropriate boundaries, respectful online dialogue and how to handle online aggression.

These "digital natives" have grown up with social media, and have integrated it into their lives to an extent that leaves many parents feeling unprepared and out of the loop. Armed with a little information, parents are better able to help their tweens navigate social media responsibly, rather than merely limiting access to it. It's helpful to remember than social media savvy is an important skill for tweens to develop, and parents are better able to guide them to smart decision-making when they come across as informed, open and receptive to their tween's feedback. Come to think of it, parents get further in most conversations with their adolescent when they practice those skills! And when you need a little help getting the lingo down, stop by Digital Down Low before you sit down to have that chat.

For more on social media savvy, visit us here and here.

Back to nature

It may be scorching hot outside, but keeping in touch with nature is still important. More and more tweens and teens are so plugged-in to technology and social networking that they aren’t spending nearly enough time outside. Exploring nature is beneficial to kids because it decreases stress, increases a sense of community and belonging, and provides meaning and purpose that can increase tween’s self esteem, confidence and sense of place in the world. 

Since it is 100+ degrees on Texas summer days, you may have to get a little creative! We’ve collected some ideas to get you and your child started so you can get some fresh air this summer and stay cool at the same time.

  • Bring her and her friend to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

    on Thursday nights for Nature Nights 6-9pm

  • Visit local watering holes

  • Visit Breed and Company or your favorite local nursery to pick up inexpensive clay pots, some dirt, and plants. She and her friends can decorate the pots and plant some flowers to put in their rooms or on the front porch!

  • Go to East Austin Succulents (These plants can actually survive the Texas heat, and you will find some really cool looking cacti! Be on the lookout for a Living Social Coupon or a Groupon from them!)

  • Rent a kayak off of Town Lake (aim for early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat)

What are some ways you stay cool while keeping connected to nature?