Questions For You and Your Teen’s Use of Tech
Created by, Paige Clingenpeel, M.A., L.M.H.C.

Why does my teen want to have a device/phone?
Discovering the motive will help you know what areas need to be addressed, (i.e. they just “want to fit in” could be a great teaching moment to talk about peer pressure and where they find their identity.)

What are my rules about device use?
Having a concrete written out device contract helps you not waver and the teen to not plead ignorance. Contract should be a dialogue with your teen to encourage ownership with the structure. (See Trending’s Sample Cell Contract For Ideas)

Am I willing to model the rules of device use? If not, then how will I discuss my reasons to continue the behavior?
Texting and driving, viewing inappropriate content, abstaining from use when being social, and maintaining healthy time limit.

What are the consequences for violation of rules?
Sit down with your teen to discuss with them ideas for consequences, while explaining why you choose the consequences you did. This helps the teen understand that punishments are set and anything less they are given is considered grace.

Am I willing to follow through with consequences in a patient and grace-filled way?
By establishing a contract you are telling your teen that you are assisting them in healthy and protective measures while also teaching life skills. They will test the boundaries and they will make poor choices. Just remember that you are raising your child to be a healthy adult. So the ultimate goal is to educate them about why the rules are put in place to begin with, hoping they will make their own wise decisions later. (i.e. don’t text and drive because you may injury yourself or someone else, or don’t “friend” someone you don’t know because even though they have pictures of someone young they may not be that same person)

What are signs that my teen is abusing or addicted to their devices?
List some examples of what you believe behaviors of addiction or abuse look like. Then discuss the signs with your teen and other resources to see if they would be an accurate. This is also a good time to discuss how easy it is to become addicted to technology and ways to reduce dependence in the future.

Who will I seek advice and wisdom from when I am clueless about technology and teen trends?
What resources are available to me so I can educate myself about topics and issues that will be impacting my teen. (Youth Pastor, Teen Therapist, Trending Show, news sites)