I’m preparing to speak at an upcoming convention. I love talking with families about strategies to help create technology healthy families. Parents often ask questions about screen time, how to secure their devices, balancing media for the child who LOVES it, and steps to take when a child wanders to places that make your mom (or dad) heart break. For many parents, the process of creating a Family Digital Media plan just seems overwhelming. Putting these 6 Essential habits for Technology Healthy Families in place will get your family set with a consistent, stress-free plan.
6 Essential Habits for Technology Healthy Families
1. Families that communicate
Communication is key! Families that are comfortable talking to each other about a multitude of topics and make time to share ideas, thoughts, and concerns with each other will create a home that really does feel like a safe place for all members of the family.
2. Families where adults model good digital habits
We’ve all heard the saying “Practice what you preach.” And, when it comes to digital habits, parents really do need to tow the line. Show your kids the importance of space from technology, both personally and professionally, by putting away your device at certain times. Kids see the hypocrisy when we tell them it’s so important to have “device down” time, but don’t allow ourselves time away from our own devices.
3. Families that have a plan for digital media, stick to it, and openly discuss it
Having no plan “is like leaping off a precipice and trying to knit yourself a parachute on the way down.” ― Kelli Jae Baeli
Our kids need us to share our family expectations and to set boundaries for technology. These should reflect the values of our family and work to protect both the individuals and the family as a whole. If we have no plan, we’ll always be working to address issues as they arise.
4. Families who use technology to make their lives better
There are so many ways technology can make our lives better. We can connect with friends and family to share thoughts, ideas, and causes that are important to us. We can get information instantly. We can use a host of tools to create in ways not possible just a few years ago. And, we can use the many tools technology offers to help us live efficiently at home, school, and work. Discuss new apps and tools you are using within your family unit.
5. Families that view technology as a tool not a threat
It sends a confusing message to our kids when, as parents, we teach them that technology is something to be feared, yet all the while they see us interacting with it. For many of us, we’re using technology in some way in our lives, heavily. Instead, we need to be modeling technology as a tool. Respect it, know it has a valuable place in our lives, use it properly, but don’t fear it.
6. Families that understand mistakes will happen, and rally together to move forward when they do
Perfection happens when you have perfect people. Families understand the individuals within it aren’t perfect, so they strive to love, respect, and honor each other. There may be consequences for certain choices and behaviors. We learn from them, pick up, and move forward.
Taking the first step is always the hardest. These 6 Essential Habits for Technology Healthy Families give you a quick and easy framework so your family has some guidelines in place.
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