Monday, April 4, 2011

Teen Texting During Family Time

Social networking can be a big bone of contention between parents and teens. Parents feel disconnected, disrespected and annoyed when their teen texts during family time. Teens feel annoyed, rebellious and like they are missing out when parents ask them not to text.

Why are teens so captivated with texting?
According to a study done by Harrisinteractive:
  • A majority (57%) of teens view their cell phone as the key to their  social life. 
  • Second only to clothing, teens say a person’s cell phone tells the most about their social status or popularity, outranking jewelry, watches and shoes.
  • 80% say their cell phone provides a sense of security while on the go, confirming that the cell phone has become their mobile safety net when needing a ride (79%), getting important information (51%), or just helping out someone in trouble (35%).
So how do you deal with constant texting of your teen when it interferes with developing a deeper family connection?
Our family found one solution that created a win/win to this dilemma of texting during family time:

On a recent road trip with another mother and daughter to find “the perfect” prom dress, we discovered a game that is prevalent in the social networking world. It is a virtual scavenger hunt. Here is how to play:

Before you arrive at your destination, determine the list of items that you will need to find when you get there. Our list included a monkey, a red hat, a yellow flower… you get the idea. We had twelve items on our list. When you find the item, you take a picture of it with someone in your group holding the item or next to the item. Your teen then gets to post the picture to Facebook, Twitter, etc. or text it to friends.

We had great fun creating and finding our list of obscure items. It was exciting hunting for and finding each object, and we had a blast taking the pictures. Our teens got to stay connected to their social network and we got to feel connected to our teens on many unique levels.
By Kathryn Kvols Author of Redirecting Children's Behavior and founder of INCAF

Note: As always, be safe when using social media and texting. Teach your teen not to post their locations during events like these and help ensure they use adequate levels of security on their facebook, twitter or other similar sites. We recommend setting pictures so that only friends you and your teen select can see them. 


  1. Love this idea! You are great at making diffusing power struggles fun!

    Maggie Macaulay, MS Ed

  2. I tweeted a link to this article and wrote that it is like "texting Aikido." Girlogy "favorited" my tweet! See it on Twitter @mydiaryunlocked, (and feel free to Follow me).

  3. I mean Girlology. Can you edit the spelling from the previous comment?