5 Apps to Ask Your Teen About

5 Apps to Ask Your Teen About

Life has been crazy lately – especially for teenagers who are facing a school year full of unknown. But with disrupted summer plans, teens are spending more time online than ever before. They have had to go online for school, to talk to friends, to keep busy, and to stay connected to the world outside their homes.

If you’re like my family, screen-time limits have flown out the window, and we are all in survival mode to keep kids happy, entertained, and connected. It is understandable that expectations around devices are different right now, but one thing should remain the same – you should be talking to your kids about what they are viewing, watching, and downloading.

As adults, we need to help teenagers think critically about what they are consuming online. Here are a few areas where you can ask questions and engage your teen in conversation!

1. TikTok

This newer app is extremely popular with teens. If you haven’t heard of it, I would encourage you to do some research, but it is an app where users can create content (most are lip-synching videos) and watch other user-generated videos. It is fun and addictive, but many videos include adult language and content.

Ask teens if they have downloaded the app. Have they created videos? Who do they follow? Have any strangers tried to message them? What are their privacy settings?

2. Streaming Apps

There are a lot of streaming apps that have incredible content. Between Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Starz, and more, teenagers have endless choices of movies and tv shows to watch. While this opens up great options for family-friendly movies and educational shows, it also includes content that might be inappropriate for teens. There is not consistency among age-based content ratings, so do some research on what your teens are watching.

Ask some of these questions: What have you been watching lately? What do your friends like to watch? How do you know if a show or movie is appropriate to watch?

**You can also easily check the “recently watched” or “continue watching” lists to see what your teen is viewing.

3. Instagram

Instagram is not new, but it continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms for teens. It never hurts to check in on apps you know your teen has and loves, so start a conversation about Instagram! Encourage teens to follow accounts that will encourage and help them grow. It is easy to use Instagram as an unhealthy comparison game, but teens can choose who they follow and what content they digest.

Start by asking this: What Instagram accounts encourage you when you see their posts? Who do you follow that looks different than you? Is there anyone that you need to unfollow? How can you use your own Instagram to encourage others?

4. FaceTime/Zoom

Social-distancing guidelines are constantly changing, which might encourage teens to use video chat apps to connect with friends and family. This is a great way to stay in touch, play games virtually, or interact with friends “face-to-face”. However, since these apps are readily available on phones and computers, it can be tempting to use them inappropriately, especially if there is little adult supervision.

Check in by asking the following: Who do you talk to most often on FaceTime/Zoom? Has anyone asked you to do anything inappropriate while on video chat? What boundaries would help protect you while using video chat?

5. Gaming Apps

More time can also mean that teens will turn to gaming apps/consoles to keep their hands (and minds) busy. These can have cognitive and social benefits, but we should also encourage teens to find non-technology-related ways to occupy their time. Whether it is Candy Crush, Call of Duty, or Yahtzee, teens need to make sure their time is balanced.

What games do you like to play on your phone/gaming system? Have you checked your screen time lately? What could you do to lessen your screen time average by an hour this week? How else could you fill your time if you took a tech break for an hour every day?

Technology is incredibly helpful to learn, connect, grow, and entertain. The apps listed above are far from bad, but it is still important to be intentional about how we use our time. As we enter the last half of the summer, I hope you will look at your own tech usage and start conversations with your kids about how they can use technology to make a positive impact on their day!

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Marketing & Development Director

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Don’t Panic about Snapchat

Don’t Panic about Snapchat

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Snapchat is an app that has caused great anxiety for adults and especially the parents of teenagers. In this episode, Chris and Karlie discuss the phenomenon of Snapchat, the pros and cons of the app, and how to have beneficial conversations with teenagers about Snapchat. Don’t panic about Snapchat, we’ve done our research and are here to help!

In this episode, you’ll find out…

  • The historical context of Snapchat.
  • Snapchat 101 – a brief guide if you’ve never used the app.
  • Why Snapchat is so popular among teenagers.
  • The pros and cons of the app.
  • How to talk to teenagers about Snapchat.

Ask yourself…

  • Have I researched Snapchat or tried it myself?
  • Am I willing to have a conversation with my teen before panicking about Snapchat?

Go ask a teen…

  • What about Snapchat makes it better than other apps?
  • How does Snapchat work? Can you show me?

About Us:

Chris Robey is the Program Director for Teen Lifeline, Inc. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!

Karlie Duke started working as Teen Lifeline’s Communications Director after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications with a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 5 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!

Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
Don’t Panic about Social Media with Sarah Brooks

Don’t Panic about Social Media with Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks joins us on the Stay Calm, Don’t Panic! Podcast to talk all things Social Media! Are you concerned about your teenager’s digital life? Are you looking for answers but don’t know where to start? Do your social media conversations only lead to fights? In this episode, we will discuss the answers to all these questions and more. There is no need to panic about social media…you’ve got this!

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In this episode, you’ll find out…

  • How teenagers view social media, and why it isn’t the same as how adults view it.
  • The top apps that teenagers are using (according to “sarahstistics”).
  • How social media affects teenagers’ self-esteem.
  • The benefits and positive aspects of social media.
  • A different perspective of how to view social media.
  • How to create a sacred, tech-free space.

Ask yourself…

  • Am I choosing my battles wisely when talking about social media with teenagers?
  • Am I having a conversation about social media or starting a battle?
  • What am I scared of when it comes to social media?
  • How much time am I spending on my phone? Am I willing do what I am asking of my teenager?

 

Go ask a teen…

  • What are the top 3 apps that you like to spend your time on?
  • Do you feel pressure from social media? Do you feel the need to keep up and get as many followers as your friends?
  • When am I on my phone that you wish that I weren’t?
You’re not dealing with an app problem, you’re dealing with a teenage problem! - @dontpanicpodcast @sarahbrooks13 Click To Tweet

Additional Resources:

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

 

About us: 

Sarah Brooks is a blogger, mom of 3 boys and social media expert! She has spoken across the country at various groups, churches, and schools about social media (the good, the bad, and the confusing), most of which stemmed from a post she wrote called Parents: A Word About Instagram. As a Millenial herself, she is passionate about bridging the gap between parents and teens on all things social media. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!

 

Chris Robey is the Program Director for Teen Lifeline, Inc. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!

 

Karlie Duke started working as Teen Lifeline’s Communications Director after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications with a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 5 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!

 
 

 

Have a question?

 If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
 

 

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