Table Talk: Teens And Technology

Girlfriends in hallway using smartphone
Girlfriends in hallway using smartphone

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

If it seems like smartphones have changed the way we interact with the world (and with each other), that’s because it’s true -- for teens in particular, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. The new research suggests that a person’s age affects the way he or she connects with the Internet. Pew, a non-partisan and non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C., interviewed over 800 kids aged 12-17, and found some eye-grabbing statistics. For example, nearly 80 percent of teens now have cell phones, and a quarter of the teens polled said they mostly access the web via their phones (whereas only 15 percent of adults said the same).

As more children and teens start accessing the web through phones and computers, moms and dads are often concerned about how much time their kids spend online, who they are talking to and what they are downloading -- which is why it’s important to talk as a family about the best ways to behave on the Internet.

Tonight, let’s talk about how we use technology and what we can do to connect with our family and friends in real life. Just remember -- no cell phones at the table!

Questions for discussion:
  • If you have a cell phone, what do you usually use it for? (Email? Phone calls? Visiting websites?)
  • How is interacting with someone through technology different from interacting face-to-face?
  • How much control do you think parents should have over their kids' phone and Internet use?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Studies About Kids And Technology