Teenagers and technology: Why it’s actually good for them!

By admin
08 July 2014

If you’re a SuperMom of teens (or tweens), you probably often find yourself gazing at the faces of your beloved children bathed in the flickering light of the television or the cool glow of the computer and can’t help but wonder (or worry) what technology is doing to their development. Relax a bit mom; it might actually be good for them.

If you’re a SuperMom of teens (or tweens), you probably often find yourself gazing at the faces of your beloved children bathed in the flickering light of the television or the cool glow of the computer and can’t help but wonder (or worry) what technology is doing to their development. Relax a bit mom; it might actually be good for them.

Technology can be good, because . . .

  1. It’s educational and gives your child access to useful information The internet is full of legitimate and useful information that can help your teenager with homework or to study for tests. And they can access it in a matter of seconds. It also develops their political and social awareness by keeping up to date with news, current affairs and documentaries.
  2. It makes life more convenient Advanced technology has also made certain tasks more convenient for teens. For example, if your child needs to work on a visual arts project for school, they can use various computer software programs such as PowerPoint, Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to help them complete the project.
  3. Social networking makes teens more peer-based Teachers and adults are no longer the only sources of knowledge as young people are more motivated to learn from their peers online. They interact and receive feedback from one another.
  4. They can develop their reading, writing and critical-thinking skills This happens through using blogs, chat rooms and becoming involved in message boards, for example on educational or news sites.
  5. It expands their cultural views and diversity Music, movies and social media give your teen the chance to explore places, people, ideas, issues and cultures they couldn’t see or connect with otherwise. It’s also a good way to expose your teen to diversityand to inspire them to try newactivities and engage in new ideas.
  6. It stimulates their creativity Technology allows teens to create and share their own videos, pictures and other content in a creative, innovative and inspiring way.
  7. Videogames can actually develop complex and necessary skills In a handful of experiments comparing gamers to nongamers, scientists have found frequent players have sharper vision and faster reaction times and that they're better at multitasking and less easily distracted.
  8. Social connections actually make young people more relationship-oriented, considerate, and empathic Researchers found teenagers who are more active on Facebook and other social-networking sites display more virtual empathy – they’re more likely to express support and encouragement. They also create long-term friendships by being in touch online even when friends no longer physically meet.
  9. It broadens their interests There are young people out there who are motivated by technology – it gives them the opportunity to develop and find new interests they couldn’t see or explore otherwise such as photography, writing or even singing.

But be concerned when your teenager . . .

  1. Is missing sleep to play games or check social media sites Teens need between 8,5 and 9,5 hours of sleep a day to function optimally.
  2.  Spends more than three hours a day in front of a screen They do need some screen time to complete homework – that’s just the way it goes these days. However, checking messages hundreds of times a day takes a lot of time, and is addictive.
  3. Has more online than offline friendships This is particularly true when your teen is constantly texting or using other forms of online socialising, but you never actually see any friends in person.
  4. Is unhealthy in other areas of life as a direct result of screen time If your adolescent isn’t taking care of their spiritual, emotional, academic, family, social and physical health it’s because those things all require a bit of time and effort.  When all available energy goes into online activity, there often isn’t much left over for the real world.
  5. Chooses screen time over personal hygiene Your teenager procrastinates about having a shower because they’re watching videos, playing a game or simply just can’t put down the phone and sometimes it gets so late they end up missing days of personal care.

-Janine Nel

Sources: goodhousekeeping.com, geniusinchildren.org, huffingtonpost.com, teenink.com, nytimes.com

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