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Perspectives: Tech That’s Good for Teens

March 19, 2015
 / HCSS / 

Tom2013-thumbTechnology can be a scary thing for parents of teenagers, with so many questionable social media sites and apps that you should be monitoring.

But technology can really help your kids too. My sons use the following five different technologies on a near-daily basis:

Google Docs allows you to access documents from anywhere. It is not uncommon for my kids to start outlining a paper on their phones and finish on their laptops. The sharing function is outstanding when they are working on a group project, and they can download their work to Microsoft Word if the teacher requires it to be turned in electronically. Best of all, they never have to worry about forgetting a USB drive at home. They can always get access to their paper.

Chromecast is a device that plugs into your television’s HDMI port to stream whatever is on the computer to the television. This comes in handy when I want to see 

what they’re working on or when they are working on group projects in the same location. Note that you can do similar things with an Apple TV.

Automatic.com is great for parents of teenage drivers. After plugging in an included adaptor into the OBD-II port of the vehicle, Automatic’s mobile app will score driving habits based on things like hard braking, acceleration, etc. I have an agreement to pay for my sons’ normal vehicle maintenance as long as their score is 90 or above, with a sliding scale for costs as their score gets lower. After all, their habits are making maintenance “abnormal”. Automatic also shows vehicle location, fuel efficiency, diagnostic codes, and alerts for deployed airbags.

Tile App features small bluetooth tiles that you put on “stuff” (key rings, backpacks, etc). The tiles use their phones to send their location to a website. When something is lost, you can see it’s location on a map. It even beeps as your phone gets closer so you can find it easily!

The Official SAT Question of the Day helps your teenager start preparing for the big test. My sons used this app, which provides one question a day and shows you where to focus your attention, to slowly work on familiarizing themselves with the types of SAT questions they would see. This worked really well in conjunction with an SAT prep class since they knew their weaknesses.

What technology helps you as a parent? Leave us a comment to tell us what you use.


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