Technology is great. The fact that you're walking around with a machine in your pocket capable of accessing the breadth of human knowledge is nothing short of miraculous. Honestly. Think about it. We're living in an age where saying "I don't know" is rarely necessary. If you don't know you can find out instantly. Quick, what was the name of the actor who played "Johnny" in Karate Kid? Unless it was you, you don't know. It was William Zabka. That took 2 seconds. Siri man. She was on it. If you already knew that, thank you for reading Mr. Zabka.
So these devices are little digital miracles. Problem is, you have no clue how it works. For all you know there's a team of magic fairies in there who carry out all of your requests. They access that breadth of human
In addition to not knowing how it works, most of us don't really understand how we can blend it into our lives without losing are connectedness. We disappear into our phones and stop paying attention to our kids. We argue with our teenagers because all we know to do is take it away when we get mad at them. We scroll through that Facebook feed like CIA agents looking to see who's all hung up on themselves today. It's time to stop.
The most effective way to manage the technology in your home is to actually make a plan for how you're going to use it. That begins with talking but doesn't end there. You also need a concrete system in place that addresses issues before they arise.
"But that sounds complicated. I don't even know where to begin with something like that".
Lucky you. You're on the right website. I've created a template for you at the bottom of this page and explained how to use it. All you have to do is download it and adjust it to fit your family needs. I even left a copy in .doc format so that you could make any changes you'd like in Microsoft Word.
"But it's too hard to make those changes on my google machine."
Man, you're really whiny. Fine. I put a second version of it in PDF form. That one is blank. Print it as-is and write in your family plan. All you have to do is talk to your family. I'm not doing that for you.
How To Use The Family Tech Plan
2. The plan is in menu-format and divided into sections that address specific areas.
3. The number to the right of each policy is the policy number. If your kids get a phone out at dinner, just tell them, "Hey..... it's #3". They can look and see that #3 addresses phones at dinner. They've signed the agreement, the expectation is that they'll abide by it. Because if they don't.....
4. The "Slip-Up" section explains exactly what the consequence is for violating each policy. The consequence is on the left, the policies it covers are on the right. Be creative but realistic in your consequences and please, give your kids a chance to reduce their consequences through good behavior. Everyone will benefit.
5. I tried to give you some ideas to start but I'm not a member of your family. If something doesn't work for you, change it. Add things specific to your families needs. Like.... "No reading True Crime books on your kindle app until 3 am when you know it's going to give you nightmares". Which is a rule for my wife. Or "No being awesome past 9 pm", which is something I had to agree to.
6. Don't force anyone to sign. If they disagree with something, keep talking. Try to be as flexible as you can and allow everyone to get a little of what they want while also giving enough to keep things healthy.
7. Take a look at policy #3. "Tech Free Time" is flexible and ANYONE in your family can call it. If you're doing something that's not listed on the plan and you want the kids to put their phones away, call Tech Free Time. Everyone has 10 minutes to wrap up what they're doing and the phones go away until that activity is over. Give kids the freedom to call Tech Free Time too and then don't be surprised if they do it next time you come to their soccer game. Because their game ain't happenin' on your iPhone.
8. Reassess and adjust the plan as you see fit. Technology changes. Your plan should change with it.