Today’s teens have grown up in a digital world and take technology for granted. That’s doubly true following the COVID pandemic, where kids went online for schooling and kept in touch with friends and family under lockdowns.
For this generation, a smartphone isn’t just a high-tech toy—it’s part of their daily lives. And getting a smartphone of their own is a major milestone in a young person’s life, just like going to high school or getting a learner’s licence.
For Youth Day (16 June), Alcatel, a Nokia-owned mobile brand, explores ways in which smartphones help teens.
- Learning responsibility
A smartphone is central to a teen’s social life, keeping them in touch with friends via instant messaging and social media. It’s also their movie and music player, a resource for doing schoolwork, and perhaps even their digital wallet. Being entrusted with such a valuable and important device can help to build their confidence and help them to learn responsibility. Allocating data, airtime, and money for apps can be a great way for parents to help teens learn about budgeting.
- Social interaction
Smartphones give teens the ability to keep in touch with friends, family, and the community. They let teens stay in touch with important people in their lives, no matter where they are. Social media can enable teens to find others who share their interests. And using text and emojis to communicate can open up new social vistas for kids who are a bit more introverted than their peers.
- Developing new interests
The early teenage years are often when we find our spark in life—the passions and interests that define us. If your daughter or son has discovered a new passion, chances are that there’s an app, podcast, or website for that—whether it’s YouTube guitar lessons and a tuning app for the budding muso, DIY wikis for the teen with a passion for woodwork, or health trackers for the sport and fitness-obsessed teen.
- Understanding the world
Outside of the many school resources on tablets and smartphones, these devices open a portal to a wider world of learning. TED Talks, for example, offer thought-provoking topics about global issues. Apps like Duolingo and Babbel make it easier to learn a new language. And resources like Coursera offer plenty of food for thought, whether a teen is interested in animal behaviour, astronomy, programming, or history.
Edited by Zintle Nkohla
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