The Social Life of the App-Addicted Teen [Infographic] ~ by Amy Williams
January 08, 2015
Posted By: Shaunescy
Smartphones and apps are an increasingly important part of the lives of teens, which makes it important to understand what they’re doing and how you can use that to become a more important part of your child’s life.
What teens see in the morning can have a major impact on the rest of their day - from coordinating outfits by exchanging pics on Instagram to checking daily sources of news and information, many teens reach for their phone as soon as they wake up so they can reconnect with the digital world.
Teens are also likely to start putting on music in the morning - and if you’re driving them to school, this is a great chance to strike up a conversation about what they’re listening to and suggest some songs for them to enjoy. Don’t be too pushy - personal taste is a major facet of enjoying music - but do try to keep up with what they like. You can even avoid the traditional arguments about taste in music and exchange songs to play on the radio.
Apps are an increasingly common sight in classrooms, though still far from universal - after all, it’s not like every child has a smartphone. Just most of them . Many teens are still hesitant to pull their phones out during class (unless their teacher is permissive, anyway), but when it’s time for lunch, there’s a sudden proliferation of devices practically everywhere you look.
What this really means is that teens spend a lot of time thinking about getting back on their devices, and lunchtime is when they’ll start making plans for the rest of the day. In a way, this might be the most social time of a teen’s day - whether they’re making plans for after school or working on building up a relationship, there’s a good chance that their friends are somehow involved with what they’re doing.
Something interesting happens for many teens when they get back home - they actually put their phones down without being prompted. Not every teen does this, of course, but quite a few of them are actually willing to exchange their smartphone for the power and connections of a personal computer. There are some forms of social media that just don’t work very well on smaller devices - but teens will even connect socially for help doing their homework.
Of course, few teens are willing to part with their phones for too long. Once they’re done with the computer, there’s a good chance that a phone (or, less commonly, a tablet) will be back in their hands as they watch television or go through their other daily activities. As with the conversations about music that you might have in the morning, this is a good time to talk with your teen about what they’re doing and encourage them to think about their entertainment. Try turning your nightly television viewing into a family activity and asking your teen questions about what’s going on - for example, what parts of a show do they enjoy or oppose? Done correctly, this will help them build the critical-thinking skills that might be lagging behind from over-use of digital devices. It’s not easy to take a smartphone out of a teen’s life once it’s there - fortunately, as long as you understand what they’re doing and how you can use that to stay a part of their life , you won’t need to.