The 15 Most Popular Tech Truths From My Conversations with Middle School Students

Janell Burley Hofmann, May 13, 2015

Have you ever wondered what middle schoolers have to say about technology? Have you wanted access to their thoughts and feelings and beliefs around the device culture? Do you want to talk to your middle schooler about technology, but aren’t sure where to begin? Well, I’ve been taking notes just for you!  After a full year of travel all over the world talking to kids, tweens, teens, parents, teachers, policy makers, techies, and organizations, I have learned so much. As I begin to break down all of my interactions and process everything I have been taught, I feel the urge to share some of the voices I have gathered along the way. Of course, we talked about so much more, but these are the topics that have come up in my conversations with middle schoolers the most. 


  1. I follow people I don’t know online and they follow me too – even though my accounts are private – I accept them. I don’t know if that’s ok.


  1. I feel like I always have to respond to my friends immediately or they’ll get mad at me.


  1. My phone was broken (taken away, lost) and at first it was hard not to have it, but then it got easy and it felt really good not to be attached to it.


  1. On my social networks or on my YouTube Channel, I often get negative comments, swears and sometimes threat. I don’t know if they are people joking or just being mean, but I still want as many followers as possible.


  1. I see and hear kids younger than me doing way worse stuff online, so I feel like what I do isn’t so bad when I see those kids.


  1. My parents over share pictures and stories about me online and it makes me uncomfortable.


  1. My classmate secretly takes pictures/videos during class and the teacher doesn’t know, but I want it to stop.


  1. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate because all I want to do is game.


  1. My parents are addicted to their phones.


  1. I’m always trying to help my friends solve their problems, but I end up getting too involved in all of the drama online.


  1. I’m afraid if I don’t have my phone/device/account, that I’m going to miss something or not know what’s happening with my friends.


  1. It’s hard to know what’s real online. Sometimes I think I’m following one thing and then a bunch of inappropriate pictures or comments show up.


  1. I have seen something online I wished I didn’t see.


  1. My parents aren’t that easy to talk to and so it’s hard to go to them with a problem. I’d rather figure it out myself or with my friends.


  1. I like to be creative online and I wish that didn’t count as screen time.


I’d love to hear from you and your child about their #techtruths! Share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email me at 



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