What's Your Take on Teens and Tech Etiquette?

Lead by example when it comes to teaching kids tech etiquette.

Several weeks ago, my friend was enjoying a complimentary continental breakfast on the club floor during a stay at a Southern California hotel. As she and her family tucked into warm Krispy Kreme donuts, a woman sat nearby Skyping on her computer.

She was conversing so loudly in German, it was like listening to Das Boot in surround sound. This peeved my friend. She wondered, How can we teach our kids to have proper tech etiquette when as adults we're sorely lacking in the manners department ourselves?

How do you teach your children to respect the boundaries of others when it comes to using technology in public? I don't allow my boys to bring their cell phones or iPods when we dine out. I also think it's rude when people chat on their cells in the middle of the grocery store, dentist office, in line at the post office, etc. I keep phone calls short when out in public and encourage my kids to do the same. Another big no-no in my opinion? Texting at the dinner table. I adore my nieces but wanted to dunk their mobile phones in the gravy boat when they started texting at Grandma's Thanksgiving dinner table.

What's your take on teens and tech etiquette?

Thanks to my co-captain Chigiy Binell for last week's hot topic, Teenagers and Porn, Is It Really a Bad Thing?

Here is what some of our readers had to say:

4:21pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wow. Ahem. Awkward topic! O.k., here goes. I think it all depends on what kind of porn one's darling child stumbles across.

I think there IS a really big difference between what is out there on the Internet and what might have been in the adult magazines of yore. I wouldn't know myself, of course, ;-) but I've heard that there is some pretty wild stuff out there. The analogy that comes to mind, for me, is putting the cart before the horse. Viewing the kind of free, readily available material on the internet from a perspective of zero or little sexual experience must set up some pretty skewed expectations. The introduction to the subject is not gradual, like it seems it should be, like it might have been in the days before most kids could view porn with a point and a click.

While on the one hand, it's just not that big a deal. . . at the same time, beyond such utter loss of conceptual innocence . . . what is left to discover?

Then again, I'm a woman. Quite possibly, a man might have a really different outlook.

4:34pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I think the issue of "teenagers and porn," is interchangeable with the issue of "kids growing up too fast." I believe that if your child happens to see porn at a friends house, (and they will) or seeks it out at a friend's house, (and they will) yes it is unfortunate, yes it is a child/children growing up too fast. I believe it is not the end of the world, if, those children are fortunate enough to have parents to discuss the subject, (the whys and why nots of viewing porn, in an understanding/not judgmental intelligent manner... keeping the goal as education not criminalization through the discussion.) An example of what you did as a parent when you were curious from your childhood, is a must. True damage only arises if a child is an UNLUCKY child who doesn't have the benefit of having parent/s or loving guardians who are able to navigate along side them through this normal curiousity moments in their little lives. If a  child is unlucky to have "church lady" for a mother, or "yay, I'm still a child of the sixty's myself kind of Dad," ... well then, just say "Dahmer!"

Sheila Sanchez October 05, 2011 at 07:50 PM
This is getting out of control, K. How do we stop it? Help!
Dyan Chan October 06, 2011 at 04:30 AM
I think you're right, Kim ... it's easier to deal with with our kids, because oh yes we can tell them what to do. I think the stickier question is telling friends, spouses and other adult loved ones that when they answer that phone call or answer a quick text in the middle of a sentence with you, that it sends the message that you are not worth their complete attention. Of course, sometimes there are true emergencies or times when people do need to take a call or check a text immediately ... say, the contractions are 2 minutes apart and I need a ride to the hospital, or hubby locked himself out of the house and left candles not in holders burning on the hardwood floor--but most of the time it's unnecessary and, IMO, impolite. Obviously not everyone feels the same. For example, I am not bothered by people talking on their cell phones (in moderate volumes) while pushing their carts around Costco or Trader Joe's. I think of that as multi-tasking, sometimes necessary in our overly full schedules.
Brad Hayden October 06, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Twitter has become the bane of the spoken language. Anybody with a teenager has come to know this. Texting is fast replacing the need to have any human contact whatsoever and texting is just the latest version of the movement. Everything started with the automated answering machine. Then came the automated phone systems for businesses. Now comes texting. The solution is simple, don't allow it in your homes. Easier said than done in most cases but best all around. A new study has found that texting while driving is far more dangerous than drinking and driving. Now there's a scary thought.
Sheila Sanchez October 06, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Thank you for the comment, Brad. I agree with you. We've got major resistance coming our way from one of our texters, but we're ready to stand our ground. Wish us luck!
Brad Hayden October 07, 2011 at 04:08 PM
The TV show "Sea Quest" there was an episode in which they were transported into the future by an Intelligent computer. Once there they found that it was a society that allowed themselves to become dependent on the computer for all their needs. And the only contact between the two lone survivers was through a networked video game. I can see our society falling for something like that. Humans are lazy and if presented with this option, most of us would choose it, not giving a thought to the consequences.


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