How to Use Technology to Bond with Your Teen

(Photo by Steve Woods)
(Photo by Steve Woods)

I know because of late-night infomercials that plenty of adults feel like their kids know more about how to use computers than they do, even if their children are mere toddlers.

The great digital divide! The younger a generation, it seems, the greater its potential to master new technologies! What will the American high school class of 2020 know about how to use computer technology that the class of 2008 will not? Even in those 12 years, expectations will change.

Guess what? This provides a great opportunity to bond with your child!

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Bonding Over Computers?

Allowing your computer illiteracy to come between you and your child would be a ridiculous thing to do; doesn't he spend a great deal of his time on the computer? So why not incorporate yourself into his computer usage?

I know, I know. Most teenagers are not going to want to teach their parents how to word process. Not at first, at least. And don't expect him to teach you how to use MySpace and then have all his friends "add" you; the point is not to invade his space but to ask him into yours.

But remember that, for most of their lives, you have been teaching them: helping with homework, coaching in sports, giving advice. How great for your child to share one of his self-taught skills with you!

How to Approach It

If you have your own computer or laptop, you're going to want to use that. Now, what would be a fun project to complete? If you have a Mac, you could make an iMovie or slideshow and add music to it (if you don't know how to do it, that's the point). If you have a PC, why not design and order a photo book on Shutterfly with pictures from a family vacation and silly captions?

Your teen will know how to do these things, I can almost guarantee. The reason you want to create a fun project is that then, you can learn through trying, and you'll have a final product that you both can be proud of!

Ask, putting the power in your child's hands, if there's a time she could show you how to use the programs to do this project. Be open in letting her know that it would be valuable to you if she could teach you the skill because you'd like to spend that time with her and because you want to share in her wisdom. Teens respond well to compliments.

The Point?

The point of all this is to become more computer literate and to use it to your advantage that your child probably already is extraordinarily computer literate. Bonding over a shared interest is the best type of bonding there is, I think. And learning a new skill or two isn't bad, either!

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Comments 6 comments

Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

Actually I think its a bit of a myth - I'm pretty competent on computers at an advanced user level and I find that younger people have no patience - expect stuff just to work and have no understanding of the different levels: network protocols, OS, applications etc. I guess I'm almost a boomer, born 1962, and I find it pretty eas to keep up with the tech.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

My mom (born 1960) is pretty computer illiterate, and only knows how to check her email and go to websites if the name is exactly like the store (ie. olnavy.com, target.com, etc). My dad on the other hand (born 1961) is pretty computer savvy. He's been working on computers before I was born with the big ugly apple's that were once the new thing. He was prtty quick to start learning html and making websites.

I think computer literacy is more in regards to the generation before that, but even still my maternal grandfather picked up pretty quick to computers, whereas my paternal one just calls when he wants more info about something.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

I like your ideas for bonding - great job.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Whitney and Lissie, you guys must be from a time warp or something! ;) Most of the older-but-not-old adults in my life (50s and 60s) are pretty useless with modern technology. They can check email well enough (but many have issues sending attachments) and can word process but couldn't make a pretty chart in Microsoft Word or use most of the features on their expensive Blackberries.

It probably greatly depends on what they've needed to learn for work or hobbies; my dad's more fluent with email than I am as a businessman, but my mom's a doctor and just never uses it except for pleasure.

Anyway, thanks to all three of you for commenting! Guess this hub doesn't apply to everyone; just the less literate adults. :D


Digital Divide NC 7 years ago

Great article on computer literacy! You should check out Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, great book on the digital divide


jGaunt profile image

jGaunt 7 years ago from London

When I look at the difference in how technology is perceived by me, my father and my son it's just amazing how different it is. With every new generation technology has just become so much more important in how we live our lives.

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