Tech concern: 'Phones like oxygen for teens'

There are fears about teens staying up all night using their phones and being tired and...
There are fears about teens staying up all night using their phones and being tired and distracted during the day. Photo: Getty
Growing concerns from secondary school principals and parents about the impact of digital technology on teenagers and their families has prompted the East Taieri Church to organise a major educational workshop in Mosgiel.

The workshop, titled "Education and Support - Technology's Impact on our Young People and their Families'', will be held at the Mosgiel Coronation Hall on March 7, from 7pm.

Workshop co-ordinator Joy Davis said there were fears about teens staying up all night using their phones and being tired and distracted during the day.

There were also concerns about digital devices being used for cyber-bullying and destroying young people's self-esteem.

She said policing use of digital technology was difficult for parents and caregivers.

Young people could not survive without digital technology. Without it, teens were left without a connection to their social networks.

"It's like taking away their oxygen if you take away their phone.''

So some form of balance was needed, she said.

Attitude external health education provider Zara Maslin would present the workshop.

It was aimed at educating parents, grandparents and caregivers about what was going on in their teenagers' lives, Mrs Davis said.

"For some of us, we wouldn't have a clue how half of these apps and things work.''

She said the workshop was to show parents some of the negative things that young people could access online.

It was also to show some of the resources, websites and experts that parents could go to, to find ways of managing their children's safe usage of digital technology.

"What we're trying to do is equip and empower, so that technology is inclusive and helpful for families - so it's not the baddie in the family.

"It's about finding ways to set some boundaries.''

Following a 45-minute presentation, a panel of local representatives from the police, Youth Aid, Youth East Taieri, Family Mental Health Services, Neighbourhood Support, the Ministry for Children and Turning Point Counselling Service and a Taieri College counsellor would discuss issues and answer questions.

At the conclusion, parents would be able to have a supper while visiting stalls with information from the local representatives, she said.

The event is being held in partnership with the Altrusa Club of Taieri, Youth East Taieri and the East Taieri Church.

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