Teens and Technology: Education is Key for Safety


We have not allowed our 3 children ages 12, 14 and 15 to have cell phones. They also do not have Social Media accounts. They are allowed to text or FaceTime friends or cousins using our phones. We homeschool. They have opportunities to engage with peers and adults through various church activities.

The past year has been trying with less access to basketball teams and co-op classes and in-person church.

Our daughter has been desiring to have her own phone and frustrated that we haven't gotten her one. She had told me about a boy a church she liked who also liked her but she feels she missed out on continuing a relationship with him because she didn't have her own phone to stay in touch with him during "COVID Quarantine" He indicated this to her in a private message with her during a Zoom Teen meeting.

Without telling her, my husband and I were exploring cell phone options for her this summer when we discovered she'd gotten on her grandparents computer late one night while spending the night there to email with a friend. She's not supposed to get on computers that aren't in public areas. So we paused on getting her a cell phone.

To take matters into her own hands, we just discovered that our 15-year-old daughter stole her grandmother's cell phone and has been using it to communicate with a new boyfriend she met through homeschool basketball. She has told us about him, asked permission to have him over, used my cell to text with him, but has been doing instagram calling with him in her bedroom without permission for the past 5 weeks.

We are very concerned that she resorted to stealing and from a family member she should love and not want to hurt.

So she should be punished, make restitution and we should formulate a plan to support her in getting from this point to responsible adulthood. I just re-read portions of Teen Proof which I'd read years ago when our oldest son was a teen.

I certainly lean toward with micro-management and fear. Please suggest appropriate punishment and plans to help rebuild trust and a healthier relationship which engenders respect and encourages her to keep herself out of trouble.

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