Welcome to the second part in our Awkward Conversations series.

Awkward Conversations is an IMPACT Community Services' initiative where we explore some of the challenging issues happening in homes across the region.

Today we look at technology and youth and what are some of the considerations when deciding the right time for a smart phone.

We’ve sought advice from specialist IMPACT staff in the areas of youth and parenting support to formulate the following hypothetical conversation. We recognise each case is different and needs to be assessed on its own merits, but hope this adds something of value if you find yourself in this situation.

Youth: “Dad! Can I please get an iPhone? All my friends at school have one and they're the same age as me! Everyone is teasing me and being mean to me because I'm the only one in my group of friends who doesn’t have one yet.”

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Parent: “Well, this is something we'll need to talk about. I understand you're telling me all of your friends have a phone already but this is something I feel is different for every family, depending on their personal situation and needs. Some of your friends spend time between split families and need to be able to have contact with both of their parents. For others it may be a safety check-in if their parents work and they're walking to and from school.

"Now I trust you, however there is also the issue of safety online and ensuring that, as a parent, I'm keeping you safe. Let's say we consider getting you a phone for your 14th birthday. It costs a lot of money to run a mobile phone and if I decide you're responsible enough to have a phone then you are also responsible enough to pay for your own credit. How do you propose to earn the money to pay for the credit to use the phone? How about we both have a think about these things, and discuss it further next week?”

Youth: “Thanks, Dad.”

Are you in your teens and struggling? Maybe you need help getting a job or some career advice, IMPACT Community Services has programs to support you including Get Set For Work and Transition to Work. Call Tahnee at Get Set For Work on 0436 600 461 or one of our great team at Transition to Work on 0429 232 653.

Make sure you keep an eye out as we explore more important topics in coming weeks.  Our responses are purely hypothetical; each person's case will be different and what might be the right decision for one person may not be for another.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got a question you would like us to delve into.  Simply share a comment on our Facebook page, or if it’s something you would prefer to keep confidential, email [email protected]