Interview: What’s it like talking to your family about tech use?

A young person smiles while talking to someone online

Talking about tech use with your family

If you’ve ever argued with your family about why you’re glued to your phone or your iPad, you’ll know it’s a nightmare to discuss. Especially when it feels like your parents are just as addicted to social media as you are.

Parents worry about their kids having too much screen time, but often don’t understand why it’s so important for you to be connected with your friends or stay on top of the latest breaking news on Twitter. Sometimes the whole of our social lives and communities are online and that’s really hard to break away from!

On the flip side, you see your parents checking their emails while they’re eating dinner or binge watching series late into the night, so why are they having a go at you for being a screen addict?

These problems are more common than you might think. We spoke to our young ambassador, Aiyana, about the issues that come up within her family.

Do you argue with your parents about social media or tech use?

Aiyana: We argue about social media all the time, especially since I’ve been on my gap year and spend more time on my phone than I used to do. It’s one of the only things I argue with my parents about. We argue because they don’t think I do anything but scroll through Instagram and watch Netflix. It is frustrating because I do other things apart from that.

What do you wish your parents understood about your use tech and social media?

Aiyana: Social media is an amazing tool. You can connect with like-minded people across the globe. You can get involved with campaigns and projects and do lots of amazing work. Social media is a blank canvas and you can fill it with whatever you want. It depends on what your intentions are.

Are your parents on social media? How do you feel about it?

Aiyana: Yes my parents are. My entire family has Facebook. My my mum keeps trying to make an Instagram account and I will not let her. I don’t mind because I don’t have Facebook and they basically just use it to read the news and argue with their friends. But I do think there is no need for parents to have Instagram or Snapchat because none of their friends have it, so they are just using it to stalk their children.

Who spends more time on their phones, you or your parents?

Aiyana: I think we both spend an equal amount of time on our phones. However, I am more aware that I spend too much time on my phone whereas they are in complete denial!

Do your parents use emojis?

Aiyana: Yes my parents use the laughing emojis and the heart emojis, that is it. My mum is a bit incessant with her use of emojis and uses way too many at the end of her texts.

How long do you think you could go without your phone?

Aiyana: I don’t think I could last long without my phone in all honesty, because for me the biggest thing I would miss is Spotify. I cannot functioning without listening to music and I think I would not last long.

How long do you think your parents could spend without their phones?

Aiyana: My parents would last even less time to be honest. I would only last longer because I could never give them the satisfaction of winning.

Why is using digital/social media important to you?

Aiyana: Growing up in the digital age, social media and technology is so important to me. It allows to me to keep in contact with friends and family across the world. It also helps me get involved with activism and connect with other people who have similar interests. I love growing up in the ‘digital age’ because information is at our fingertips. Knowledge is so easily available.

If you need support when talking to your family

Do you relate to the issues Aiyana has raised in this interview? Luckily we’ve got exactly the tool to help! The Mix have teamed up with Facebook and Parent Zone to bring you the Digital Toolkit.

This is packed full of ideas and activities to help you and your family have better conversations about social media and digital. It should also help you and your parents to understand each other’s behaviour a bit more. You can take control of the issue and use the kit to have a more peaceful and stress-free family life. Head here to find out more and download the toolkit.

Head here to read our article on 10 things you wish your parents knew about the way you use tech.

Next Steps

  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 20-Jan-2023