We all know the ingredients for great relationships in a family. Time and attention, and when appropriate, a family theme song. While technology has made our lives so much easier in so many ways, it can get too much of our time and attention, if we’re not careful. That’s why having a conversation about how your family uses technology is a great way to ensure that you prioritise time, attention and connection.
- How to talk to your kids about: Pornography
- How to talk to your kids about: Online safety
- A contract for your child’s phone – a printable
Technology can disrupt quality time with the family
There are so many incredible things about technology. Like how it can store phone numbers so you can free up valuable space in your brain for remembering Abba lyrics. However, if we’re not intentional about the boundaries we place on our technology, our home can end up with a bunch of unspoken rules that are unhelpful like dinner time is just a half-time break from our devices or shouting is the best way to get someone’s attention when they are playing video games.
So have a conversation as a family about some guidelines for how you will all use technology.
Technology can sometimes be risky
If you have ever dared to venture into the ‘junk mail’ folder of your emails, you’ll be aware that there’s a lot of risky stuff online and a surprisingly large amount of singles in your area that want to date you.
Even though there are dangers online, the goal for most parents isn’t to keep technology out of their kids lives altogether, but to prepare them to use it well. It’s like a pool. Instead of just keeping them out of the water, we can teach them how to swim. A contract helps you both talk about the rules and boundaries – just like how there’s that sign at every swimming pool outlining the rules – no running, no jet skis, try avoid drinking too much of the pool water etc.
Some kids are very clever but there are dangers that even clever kids might not be aware of. Older, more mature brains (like the brains parents have) seem to be better at understanding risks and dangers. That’s why it’s important for parents to create some rules specifically for how children use all forms of technology.
Download your family technology contract – click here
Attend a Toolbox parenting course
Toolbox courses inspire and equip whānau. They are bursting with great advice, humour and encouragement, offering practical strategies and insights into developmental stages. Parents leave reassured that challenges are common to all families and that they’re not alone on their parenting journey. The courses are run over a number of weeks in a relaxed and conversational small group setting with a trained facilitator. The five courses – Building Awesome Whānau, Baby and Toddler Years, Primary Years, Intermediate Years, and Teenage Years. Find out more and register here.