What Is Your Kid’s Tech SweetSpot?
Want to improve your relationship with your kid? Add another channel of technical communication.
Don’t take my word for it. A brand new study out of the University of Kansas reveals “the more modes of communication parents use, the better their kids feel about their relationship.”
Let me not mislead you, the study was done with young adults between 18 and 29. So more accurately, the more modes of communication you use with your college kids, the better they feel about your relationship.
I can definitely vouch for this. I use four different “tech” channels of communication with my 17 and my 19-year-old daughter, and they each seem to respond differently to different channels. I might post a picture of a jeep I passed that looks like it belongs to Malibu Barbie, and my girls will like it. Other times I’ll send my oldest a pic of a pair of pants I like to get her fashion advice. Or sometimes we just send texts to keep each other posted.
“I just ate the entire bowl full of Halloween Candy. Can you grab another bag on the way home?”
The simple fact is this. Many parents have trouble finding connection points with their kids. Some moms and dads are even resistant to using technology because of its misuse, and tech use is seen as an item of contention.
Don’t make this mistake.
Parents should constantly be on the lookout for any communication arenas where their kids feel comfortable communicating. In a world where young people are finding growing difficultly communicating face-to-face, parents should be flexible to try different mediums. Don’t replace face-to-face communication, but definitely don’t be scared to supplement with tech.
“So, if you are only using one or two technologies to communicate, adding a third might hit the sweet spot for relationship satisfaction,” researcher Jennifer Schon said.
Don’t confuse the results of this study as a license to stalk. The results of this study didn’t point to tech as a place to spy on our kids or use as a venue to interrogate them like a parole officer. The number one reason I hear young people complain about Facebook is “stalking moms.” My daughter provided a nice little rant about that in my blog last year, “Ashley’s Rules for Creepy Parents.” Advice like, “Don’t comment on everything we post!” and “Definitely don’t comment on our friends pictures or posts!”
But the young adults in this survey seem to like parents who pursued communication. In fact, “the better parents were at getting an effective and appropriate message across to their child, the happier the child tended to be.”
What arenas do you use to communicate with your kids?
Have you considered adding another channel into the mix?
What tech channels might your kid enjoy communicating with you?
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for parents on his website TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.