4 Tips for Parenting Teens In A Digital World

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Parenting teens in a digital world***Post includes a giveaway of  Rescue, Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture

As children grow, their needs change. Every parent realizes this fact early on, but during the teen years, it seems we become acutely aware of the world in which we are raising our children. With all the instant access to friends via social media networks and endless opportunities of online connections, the world can seem more troubling each day. I love digital connections, but teaching our teens to appropriately manage a digital world is extremely important.

About nine years ago, my oldest daughter was allowed to own her first cell phone. At this point in the cell phone economy,calling and texting were about the limit. Since then, social media and gaming sites have significantly broadened the reach of a cell phone user. Today I wanted to provide a few tips on parenting teens in a digital world.

1. Decide on a digital-free time zone as a family.

What works for us may not work for you;but for us, this digital-free time zone is meal times at home. I will say that we have made the exception at restaurants on occasion because waiting times have been longer than usual or the restaurant atmosphere is not conducive to conversation. Maybe your time is the last hour before bed. Decide on a family time together when everyone purposefully looks in one other’s eyes for good, old-fashioned conversation. 😉

2. Address self-image issues with a Biblical foundation.

No matter the age of the user, online comparison is a trap just waiting to happen. You can always find someone who has a better senior photo, more friends, or a stronger sense of fashion. But when I was a teen, we only saw that someone in social settings. Now they come through the phone into your teen’s bedroom via Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat and every other social media network. Teenagers need verbal encouragement from their parents on a consistent basis in order to proactively sculpt the right Christian self-image. Feel free to use this list of Bible verses for when you feel “not good enough” to reinforce how much God loves them just as they are.

3. Set behavioral expectations for cell phone, tablet, and all electronics usage.

Making wise decisions about who you trust with very personal information is extremely important. Remembering that every digital action and reaction leaves a traceable imprint is priority.

4. Emphasize that digital access of any kind is a privilege.

Just like any other privilege, if your teen’s phone or tablet or gaming device is used inappropriately for any reason, then that privilege can be withheld.

Parenting a teen in today’s culture is challenging to say the least. My son is in middle school and he is one of the only kids in his classes who doesn’t own a cell phone. While there are many reasons for making the decision of when and how much online and media access to give to your teen, today my hope was to provide a few thoughts to stimulate proactive parenting in this tough teen area.

Recently I was introduced to a newly-released book, Rescue, Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture by Candy Gibbs. This book is packed with practical tips for not only the murky waters of technology, but also the deep waters of sex, sexting, abortion, communication, family expectations,and more. Candy is the Executive Director of CareNet Pregnancy Centers in Amarillo, TX. I’m privileged to be giving away 2 copies of this awesome book today; just follow the Rafflecopter to enter.

For more information on this wonderful resource, check it out here:
Rescue, Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture

Have a marvelous Monday!



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a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My 11yr old has cell phone. I so regret the decision! Everyday is new lesson in a new app, or question about something a friend is doing online. I have already asked that no cell phones are used during dinner. I will add the other three items on your list as well. Keeping my fingers crossed to be choosen for the resource book, I could use it at this point.

  2. Tanya Spillman says:

    It’s so much harder to be a teenager today than it was when I was that age. It breaks my heart to see what today’s young people have to deal with.

  3. This book seems perfect for me!! My oldest girls just started middle & high school, so we’re all navigating these topics together.

  4. I had firm guidelines set in regard to cell phones/social media/Internet use for my oldest two boys (both now in college), and they didn’t seem to have a hard time with it. However, my youngest is 13; he is pushing a bit harder for social media connection with his friends. I’m now wondering if I’ve been too strict. But I’m terrified of being too lenient. This book sounds like a great resource to help me walk through this area.

  5. Thank you for this!! Perfect timing!!

  6. What a great time for this. My youngest child just entered middle school and is now almost desperate for a cell phone and social media access. He feels left out, as all of his friends have these things. I disagree myself with children having access to things like Facebook when they are too young to have their own accounts legally, and yet so many do. It breaks my heart when I see a 7 year old child with a cell phone.

    I think learning how to keep our kids safe in the digital age we are in is so important, and it’s not just predators we have to worry about. Teaching our kids their self worth doesn’t depend on social media opinions, but on our God is so important.

  7. This post couldn’t have come at a better time as I have been struggling with my 15 yr old dear son and soon to be 13 yr old dear daughter. In the midst of losing their dear dad to cancer, the social media world has magnified a struggle of comparison & priveleges other families have. Setting boundaries in a culture that has none is like trying to swim upstream but I am determined to do it.

  8. I have a daughter who will be 13 next month and a son who just turned 11. I’ll be honest. I have no idea how to parent them! My parents held the reins way too tight when I was a teen and I totally rebelled the first chance I got! I want to do better with my kids! Also, I’m not tech-savvy and all this technology scares me! Anything I can get to help me navigate these years will be appreciated! 🙂

  9. my oldest is a 9year old and and keeps asking for a cell phone but i think its still to soon. my 20 year old sister in law lives with my husband and I and we constantly have to tell her to get off her phone to get other stuff done she’s addicted to her social media.

  10. Although I have no teens to parent in my home, I am involved in a variety of community groups, committees, and as the head coach of a large local Special Olympic team, I have much interaction with many teens and young adults and their families. This has actually been an issue. I would love to share this book with families!

  11. My son just turned 13 and loves the Lord. But with all the world’s influence especially through technology, this book is a great help in reminding parents about the boundaries we need to set for ourselves first (the example) and then our children. Thanks!

  12. My 12 y.o boy it’s going on 15…. he it’s growing to fast. I thought, I had a few more year left before teen attitude started. But I was wrong. God help me…

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