Technology That Helps Your Pre-Teen Gain Some Independence

Family Fun | Wednesday, September 27th, 2017


Your baby is almost a teenager. While you still may want to coddle them and protect them from every mishap, you can’t deny that they’re growing up. As they’re transitioning out of childhood into the teenage years, you want to start giving them a little more independence. With technology invading every part of society – especially for kids who don’t know a world without it – you can find the perfect tools to help them gain that independence.

Smartphone

This is the ultimate device for your tween’s independence. With a smartphone they can call or text you to let you know they’re staying late after school for a club or call to ask if they can go over to a friend’s house to do homework. You can let them go more places on their own, such as the mall or movie theater, and still be able to check up on them if need be.

You may want to go over some ground rules to make sure your child doesn’t abuse this privilege. For example, make a rule that all smartphones will stay out of bedrooms once it’s bedtime. You also may want to look into parental control apps to make sure they aren’t visiting any websites you don’t want them to.

Home Security System

You’ve decided that your tween is ready to stay home by themselves – at least sometimes anyway. Instead of going to an after-school club or having a babysitter, talk to your child about coming home by themselves after school. They can text or call you using their smartphone to let you know they made it home safely and use it to call with any emergencies.

You also should consider installing a home security system that you can check remotely so you can monitor your house at all times. If your tween calls you because someone’s at the door, you can use the security system app to see who’s there and let your child know whether or not it’s ok to open the door. Go over how the system works with your tween, and let them know that you can monitor your home in case they try to make any bad decisions.

Laptop

You may already have a family computer, but your tween has shown you that they’re responsible enough to have some extra privacy and freedom. A laptop lets them take their homework, online communication and streaming services with them, whether it’s to their bedroom or the library. If they’re having a hard time focusing with your other children and pets running around the house, they can use a laptop to conduct research, write papers and do homework in a quieter area. They can watch videos or stream music when their friends are over. And they can be on social media without you hovering.

Just like with the smartphone, you may want to put some boundaries on laptop use. Follow your child on social media so you can see what they’re up to and be able to check their activity on the laptop if necessary. You should let them know that you’ll respect their privacy as long as they earn it, but you have the right to check in on them and take the laptop away if they aren’t behaving responsibly.

Your tween is ready for some independence and technology provides you with some easy stepping stones. Give them the freedom they crave within reason and lead them down the path of becoming an independent adult.


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