Talking Technology with Teens: Part II

This is a summary of the first part of my talk at Bowen Library, Maroubra, on 18 September. My part of the talk was aimed at helping parents work out how to deal with technology.

The following 5 rules should serve as a guide to talking with your young people:

  1. Get informed
  2. Know where you stand
  3. Take the initiative
  4. Don’t be arrogant. Be curious
  5. Don’t be a hypocrite. Be consistent

When talking to the young person/young people:

Take the initiative. After you have gotten informed and worked out where you stand, find the right time to talk with your child. Don’t wait for a fight or a disagreement to occur. Don’t wait until online use gets out of hand, or a problem incident happens. There are better and worse times to talk about technology:

  • Bad times to talk:
    • When disciplining/delivering consequences
    • When you or your child is angry
    • In public (careful about grandstanding or humiliating)
    • Around friends (same as above)
  • Good times to talk:
    • When your child raises the topic of technology
    • When an incident has occurred to someone else
    • At a quiet time (e.g. while driving) one-on-one
    • When the topic is raised by the media
    • Family Meetings


Don’t be arrogant, be curious. Be willing to listen openly. Ask questions and try to understand your child’s perspective. Acknowledge their knowledge and expertise. Are there valid reasons for some of their digital use? Before laying down the law about rules and limits to digital behaviour, listen!

Don’t be a hypocrite, be consistent. Set fair and reasonable rules. Accept that your own digital use might be problematic. Kids will often be more willing to change their digital use if they can see that you are changing. Strike a balance between flexibility and rules.

Speak Your Mind


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