Teenagers and their cell phones.
Teenagers are ‘die hard’ users of electronic media; they are busy on their computers, cell phones, and personal digital assistants 24x7. Experts propose meeting youth where they are—‘riding the airwaves’—with positive messages that compete with and offer attractive alternatives to the negative, unhealthful, or illegal messages they are exposed to every minute
What are we afraid of? Early sexual activity, drugs, violence? Then it’s time for parents to speak up and face the reality that technology is here to stay and thus what is required is a change in parenting, stop trying to keep your teen away from it and start educating your teen about it. It’s time to change, change our ways of looking at technology rather than thrashing technology use of teenagers lets teach them technology literacy. Worried that social media, video games will drive them off course from a healthy life of learning? Well, this quote should help us understand and relieve our worry,
When flying between the Earth and the Moon, the Apollo spacecraft was off course more than 90 percent of the time. On their lunar voyages the crew would constantly bring the craft back to its intended trajectory. They were not on a perfect path but a critical path. Because they knew their intended target they could correct their spacecraft whenever it wandered off- Anon
Teenagers are on a voyage to adulthood, they will veer off course like the Apollo but we need to know that as long as they come back to the intended trajectory which in their case is a healthy, happy life, we can be there to correct their spacecraft as and when required. No teenager will be perfect what is critical is that they are given a perfect chance.
Kids are fascinated with all kinds of technology not only because it fulfills their need for ‘exploring’ but also fulfills their need for ‘independent exploring’. This is where we adults lose touch with them, we are unable to share their enthusiasm for this kind of quick learning and hence are unable to talk, share, discuss the uses or abuses of technology to them, we end up nagging, lecturing them on the abuses and that drives them away into their technological world.
Teenager's Use of Electronic Media- According to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project covering media use by adolescents aged twelve to seventeen has increased rapidly in recent years and continues to grow! One important trend captured by the Pew survey is that nearly 65 percent of teens who use the internet are now actively creating content—sharing artwork, photos, stories, or videos; creating Web pages or blogs for themselves or for friends or organizations they support; writing online journals; maintaining a personal Web page; and remixing content from online sources to create their own material. Isn’t that wonderful? So then lets ensure that they seek out the correct programs, apps to learn and grow with. (Reference- Fools Gold report on technology)
Here are some interesting apps being used by global teenagers that are interesting for teenagers and help them with their focus in learning and help them take charge of their lives. (References- Karen Finucan Clarkson- - Washington parent.)
· Distractibility is something that teenagers grapple with; make them responsible for their own distraction with these apps. An app named Self control- allows teenagers to decide which applications to block out for a given period of time while they are concentrating on exams, deadlines, tests etc. it’s like the parental lock on television but instead of the parent the teen decides and takes responsibility. Another app Freedom also does the same.
· iStudiezPro app is an organizer for kids, helps them keep track of project deadlines, homework. So it’s like having your own personal assistant. Teach your teenager to use this and no need to nag him/her all the time.
· myHomework app helps track homework assignments, teachers can use this app to send student’s announcements, links, written materials, also links with desktop. Maybe parents too can try using this app, since teenagers respond more to something that comes on the screen!
· epicWin, this is a fantastic app, it is a video game cum organizer, it helps the child roleplay a character that completes each task of homework etc, and thus earning them points , it is also like a task alarm clock.
· studyBlue. Is a fantastic app that allows kids to prepare memory cards in the form of flashcards from their notes to test themselves. It also helps them see 30 of the top cards created by others and helps them compete with peers and check scores.
· cheggFlashcards also has similar features. flashcards+ designed by Harvard is another favorite with an additional benefit of multiple languages.
· ankiDroid is another app for lesson videos, audios etc.
· eduPort allows them to search lectures, videos on the topic of their choice from you tube, Khan academy etc
Some of the above are paid apps and some are free. Many of them may have different versions in India. The whole point of these apps is to help your teenager become independent from you and take charge of his/her life and learning.
Let’s not forget that the ultimate goal of parenting ‘teens’ is to reach youth with positive messaging rather than criticism and nagging. . Embracing positive media rather than trying to counteract media use, will be a more effective way in shaping teen behaviour. Let us help them become ‘netizens’ and teach them ‘netiquette’ after all this is the cyber generation!