Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Aug. 20, 2015

8 Ways Teens Can be Productive on their Phone

Marketing Manager, TeenLife.com

Let’s recount some “conversations”  (Ok, fine, lectures) I had with my parents a few years ago when I was a teen:

  • "Steph, don’t bring your phone to the dinner table. You can live without it for 30 minutes."
  • "Steph, get off the computer and go outside. You’re wasting your day."
  • "Steph, I’m going to throw that iPad out the window in one minute. I’m not kidding."

What did you take away from this? Maybe it’s that parents aren’t alone in their frustrations with teens and technology.. Or perhaps it’s that we have a big problem and need to address tech addiction. But don’t stage the intervention quite yet! There’s a good chance that your teen is being productive on that darn [insert piece of technology that you wish you could “accidentally” run through the wash]. Trust me, a recent ex-teen, that it’s possible.

8 ways that teens may be super productive while on their phones:

1. Charity Miles- This is an app that allows you to get (or stay) fit and active while raising money for the charity of your choice (think community service hours). Bikers earn up to 10 cents per mile, while walkers and runners earn up to 25 cents per mile. That’s killing two birds with one stone!

2. Headspace - They call it “a gym membership for the mind.” You can use Headspace on your phone or computer to meditate for just 10 minutes a day. They claim to help you focus more, stress and worry less, smile more, sleep better, train better, eat better, etc. It’s worth a shot to get rid of some of the school-year stress.

3. Acorns- I love this app because it makes it easy and painless to invest without having to deal with a broker. It’s an opportunity for teens to dip their toes in the water of investing without requiring much time or research. How does it work? The app rounds each debit/credit card purchase to the nearest dollar and places the difference aside. Once you have $5 of saved up change, it invests it into a portfolio you selected.

4.  Nuzzel- I wish I had this app during high school for my current event quizzes! It makes it easy for you to become a news junkie AND allows you to stay up to date with what your friends and family are reading. You read what’s relevant to you because Nuzzel provides a stream of what your friends are reading and sharing on social media.

5. PathSource- It’s important to explore a variety of careers while in high school and college. I certainly could have used this before I chose my college major - but enough about me. PathSource helps you determine a salary that will support your desired lifestyle, provides career recommendations based on lifestyle and career interests, and offers over 2,600 video interviews from people who hold those jobs. It also has a search tool for colleges. If you’re looking for more apps that ease the college search, try this.

6. MOOCS- These are massive open online courses, and they’re often free! In no way will they replace your in-class learning, but they do provide you the opportunity to go into more depth on a topic that inspires you AND allow you to explore subjects that you never would have considered. You can check out other reasons to try online learning here.

I won’t deny that technology can be a huge time suck (I’m looking at you, Reddit.) But don’t throw your teen’s phone out the window just yet! It’s possible to be glued to the phone while accomplishing something at the same time.  After reading this list you may even join your teen on the phone.