Teens, Technology and Social Media: What is today’s normal, and how can you set appropriate limits with your teens?


How many times does your teen come home and jump on the computer, iPad, or phone, only to go on social media? In working with parents of teens, and being a parent of teens, this is one of the number one complaints. Their teen is always buried in their phone or on their computer posting, tweeting, snapchatting. Where did the days of talking on the phone go? What about actually having face to face conversations about important things? Technology has certainly changed the way we communicate.




In 2015, Pew Research Center conducted research on teens, technology and social media. And the numbers reported were overwhelming.

  • 92% of teens report going online daily
    • o 24% of those teens report going online constantly
  • More than half of the teens in this study (56%) went online several times a day
  • 12% reported going online once a day
  • And only 6% reported going online weekly.



Recently I co-facilitated a parent support. Besides the complaint of being on social media all the time, another main concern was “How do we know what our kids are doing?” “How do we know that they’re being safe on social media?”

Unless you are checking their phones, computers, or tablets, you don’t know.

As a parent, I’ve always believed honesty is the best policy. You want to role model what you would like your children to demonstrate. In the past, I’ve had conversations with all of my kids about their use of technology, as well as the limits in our house that my husband and I set. Although this was at times a difficult conversation because I knew my kids’ idea of their technology use and our idea of their technology use were two different things. But, if you don’t feel you can be honest, there are many monitoring programs out there. Just google “Parental Control Software”. You can install these on phones, tablets, and computers. There are free programs, and programs that you pay to use.




Then comes the questions and comments about how much time is too much time to be on the phone. Teens often use their phones, tablets, and computer for school work. Additionally, most enjoy listening to music from those devices. So, setting so limits are really up to you, and will vary from parent to parent. Again, I also like to suggest having a conversation about this and not make it a unilateral decision. Maybe dinner time is a phone free time? Maybe the phone gets put in another room to charge overnight so there is a 100% chance your teen is not on the phone during the night.

Regardless of what you decide, and how you decide to handle it, having these conversations and keeping the lines of communication open is what is really important.


Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in practice for 30 years. Norine views the decision to enter therapy as displaying strength and courage. Norine specializes in suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and trauma. Norine is also EMDR trained and uses this to work with people with PTSD and severe anxiety. Norine works with youth, adolescents, adults, and families.

If you have a teen, and you are struggling with these or any other issues, please feel free to reach out and schedule a free phone or 15 minute in person consultation with me.


Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW Counseling

Norine Vander Hooven's website


Contact Norine - 805-244-6689

Photo credit by Pixabay



8 replies added

  1. Andrea January 31, 2017 Reply

    I’m with you on the honesty policy coming first. Until my kids show bad judgement I don’t feel the need to interfere. But, my kids aren’t teens yet so who knows how this will change in the coming years! Great post!

  2. Alicia March 7, 2017 Reply

    I love your post. We have recently gone through this with our oldest. We did some up having to remove her from all technology because it became a very really addiction. She has anxiety and having constant access to everything made it where she was depressed and affected every aspect of her life. Honesty is the key to it all. Even though she had her issues with the phone, she did tell us about most everything. Thanks for the awesome post


    • I’m so glad you liked my post, Alicia. And yes, honesty is so important, especially with teenagers. Sounds like she has a wonderful relationship with you to be able to trust you with that information!

  3. this is such an awesome topic and one that we have talked about many times in our home. We do limit the time our children spend on electronics, video game systems and the tv. The hardest part of being a blended family is that the co-parents don’t follow the same belief. Often electronics are used as a babysitting tool instead of watching the child or interacting with them. We would rather have good family time together. Thank you for writing about a topic that is hard for parents to deal with and for linking it to the #allformamas link party. I will share this on facebook and pinterest

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Yes, it does seem like one of those topics that parents struggle with. I can definitely see how much more difficult that becomes with two households and both parents having different rules, values, etc.

  4. Katrina March 30, 2017 Reply

    It’s a constant struggle/battle in our house. Sometimes I place a basket at the foot of the stairs and require each child to put their phone or device into the basket before heading up to their room. During the school week this is what I try to do. (I say “try” because I’m not always consistent.) I have five kids with their own phones, and then the younger ones have iPads. I’m also a little more lax with the kids who have straight A’s. I figure they are doing well in school and managing their time well, so less restrictions by me regarding the online time is okay. But when I see that a child is not studying enough or rushing to finish homework right before school, then I am more diligent in taking the device away or seriously limiting their use.

Leave your comment