Conversation Starters

Learn where, when, and how to start the conversation with your young person

Digital Life Conversation Starters

Starting the Conversation

The youth in your life may start to establish their own “digital life” from a very young age. As a caregiver, it is important to start the conversation about digital balance, safety, and digital wellness early, as well as role model these behaviors. Setting boundaries around digital use can and should involve your young person to ensure increased clarity of expectations and follow through. However, consistency in enforcing digital rules and boundaries can be an ongoing process and a tough responsibility of the caregiver.

Special Considerations

If you have a youth with learning differences, consider that their emotional and learning developmental age may differ from their physical developmental age. As they develop, their body will change and they will likely have the same experiences and needs as their peers, but if they have certain learning challenges, they may need more support to understand some of the concepts.  

If needed, talk with your young person’s medical and educational team about their individualized needs and how best to explain these concepts to them. Typically, it is best to start simple to create safe, open communication. Add in more details as they demonstrate their understanding. It is important to normalize these conversations with your young person — at their comprehension level.

Where to Start the Conversation

Choose a place where both of you feel safe, comfortable, and have privacy away from others. Sometimes a 1:1 car ride can be a good opportunity. Consider starting a conversation when both of you have ample time to give and attitudes are more relaxed and open. For example, starting a conversation when your young person has a lot of homework, is stressed, tired, or hungry may not work in your favor. Look for teachable moments that give you an opportunity to talk. This can include seeing something on TV that sparks a conversation or hearing about something that someone else is going through.

When & How to Start the Conversation

When it comes to managing digital use, it is far easier to establish healthy boundaries and rules before they get their first phone or social media account rather than after, but this is also a case of “better late than never.”  If you have never set rules around these things, or if you are observing any “red flag” behaviors, it may be time to establish/reinforce some new guidelines.

Tips to start the digital conversation:
  • Choose a time when your young person may be more open and accepting to work with you on establishing some rules through the BLOOM Digital Life Contract
  • Try to avoid shaming over digital use.
  • Become more involved by learning about what digital means they use most often, who they are using it with, and if they are aware of how to set preferences and protect themselves within each platform. 
  • Following or friending your young person on social media will also help you stay in the know when it comes to posts and information they are sharing online.

Conversation Starters by Topic

 

When to Reach Out for Support

Ask for support by seeking professional guidance when feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or when you are concerned your young person is having experiences that are not healthy.

A professional can help to facilitate a productive conversation and suggest effective strategies for having a discussion with your young person.



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