How to Help Your Teen Find Online Ways to Make a Difference

Teens Making a Difference

Highlights:

  • Teens can use their academic skills to help out other students.
  • Teens can volunteer politically, even when they’re too young to vote themselves.
  • Anything your teen can make is probably something that could be put to use if they want to donate it.

If you judge all teens by the one you live with, you might think they’re all pretty self-centered. It can be easy to think that. Teenagers often don’t want to do things their parents want them to do, like chores or family obligations, and that can make you think that they care only about themselves. 

But the truth is not that simple. During the teenage years, kids often care deeply about their friends, other people their age, and various issues in the world that touch them in some way. 

The teen years are often the time that people discover their passions, and there are many examples of teenagers who have gone out of their way to make a difference in the world. But the average teen might need help channeling their desire to make a difference and finding a way to help. 

In the pandemic era, it can be even harder to find ways to volunteer, as traditional options may not currently be available to your teen or may seem too risky. However, your teen can use their internet connection to find ways to make a positive contribution to others.

Take a look at online opportunities we’ve found for your teen to find fulfilling outlets for their developing social conscience and help out in their community at the same time.

Try Tutoring

Teen taking an online class.
Your teen’s intervention could mean the difference between passing or failing for another student.

During most of the year, most teens spend the majority of their waking hours on school-related things. Many of them are better at it than they think. Factoring equations may be tough homework, but it’s even harder to do when you’re a parent who hasn’t had to think about factoring equations in 20 years. 

Their proximity to the work often makes teens better choices for tutoring same-age or younger children in subjects that the teen is strong in. 

And the need for tutoring is even higher than usual now. Some students are still learning at home without the benefit of in-person school support. Other students have not done well with at-home learning and now find themselves behind their classmates. 

Virtual tutoring from a patient person who understands the subject can be a huge boon to a young person’s education when they’re struggling. Financially, however, it’s out of reach for many families. If your teen is strong in a particular subject and isn’t overextended or burnt out with their own schoolwork, they can make a difference in the life of another student by volunteering as a virtual tutor. 

They don’t even necessarily have to go through the school to find opportunities. Social media sites or neighborhood groups like NextDoor often post requests for tutoring and can be a good place to find opportunities. 

Get Political

Woman holding a Vote sign.
Encouraging others to vote is important regardless of party and can be done by teens too young to vote themselves.

No matter what issues your teen cares about, those issues are probably going to be affected in some way by the current political landscape in ways that matter beyond who is in the White House or the governor’s mansion. 

Political volunteerism tends to surge during big election years, but there are always smaller local races to think about, bills to be lobbied for or against, activist groups championing a cause, and new eligible voters to register and educate.

A teen doesn’t necessarily need to take a side in a race or political issue to be involved with politics. Non-partisan groups that focus on things like voter registration and outreach can be a terrific way to get involved in the political process and make a meaningful impact without having to commit to one candidate or issue. 

If your teen does feel strongly about a particular party, candidate, or issue, they can certainly check out volunteer opportunities from that direction as well. There’s always something to do. If your teen is good at coding, they could help with building a website. If they’re skilled at using social media, they can do online outreach to voters. 

Teens can send postcards, make phone calls, or do more skilled tasks like help develop apps. Teens who are interested in politics can always find virtual volunteer work to do and groups or candidates who will welcome (and appreciate) their efforts. 

Share the Creativity

Teen performing cross stitch.
Does your teen make fun, beautiful, creative things? Encourage them to share!

Maybe your teen would like to volunteer but would prefer a more active or creative way to do it. That’s fine; even without meeting in person, good social organizations still need people to do physical, tangible things that can be done online. Many of these opportunities can be found online with a Google search, even if the work itself is not done online.  

Your teen could make masks for various types of workers who might be at risk but don’t have access. There are all kinds of patterns available online.

Or they could sew teddy bears or other toys for hospitalized children. Or make blankets for lonely residents in nursing homes. Just about any creative thing that your teen can make will be something that somebody will want or need, and some organization will be willing to help them find their way to the people who would benefit from them. Your teen can find them with a local Google search. 

Your teen can even contact local healthcare centers, nursing homes, domestic violence or homeless shelters, and other types of organizations and ask them directly if they want something that your teen can make, rather than going through a larger charitable organization that may ship the items out of the area. Odds are, someone will quickly say yes.

Resume-Building Bonus

Not only is it good for teenagers to channel their developing sense of social conscience into volunteerism, but it can also be helpful for their future. Many colleges and universities look for volunteer work in a student’s records. Making the effort to do so virtually when other options aren’t available speaks well of that student’s resourcefulness as well. 

WebWatcher Has Your Back

At WebWatcher, we want to help you guide your children toward better digital decisions. The internet is a rich resource for educational content, wholesome entertainment, and family fun, and we’ll help you find them. But we also know that unhealthy content and too much screen time can be harmful to kids. 

Our goal is to help families find the digital sweet spot — the right balance of screen time and time spent doing other healthy activities, like exploring the outdoors. We offer parental monitoring software to help families find that balance because we know that busy parents can often use a helping hand. 

To learn more about what WebWatcher can do for your family, follow our blog, or get our free trial.

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