We’re always creating and enforcing rules relating to the amount of time our children spend on their (or our) tablets, phones and computers – whether for games, shows or social media – but how often do we, as parents, slow down and realize we’re guilty of breaking our own technology guidelines? Hey Sigmund recently posted this great article outlining technology and social media tools children and teens wish their parents would follow.
Citing a study involving 249 families with children 10-17 years old, research shows children essentially want the same things from their parents that parents want from them, including putting down our phones when talking to them and not texting and driving. The research found seven general rules children would like their parents to follow:
- Be present – when your child is trying to tell you something or needs you, put your phone down and be present.
- Child autonomy – children want parents to trust them and allow them to make their own decisions about social media use.
- Moderate use – children don’t want their parents to spend all their free time on social media and their phones. Instead, they prefer it be balanced with other activities.
- Supervise children – they want guidance and permission when it comes to accessing certain websites. With growing awareness of crime and other internet-related incidents, our children still trust our judgement and opinion at the end of the day.
- No texting and driving – not event while we’re stopped at red lights (as tempting as it may be).
- No hypocrisy – practice what you preach, and avoid your phone during mealtimes or other technology-free dedicated timeframes.
- Don’t overshare – ask your child if it’s okay to share information about them and/or photos of them. A surprising number of children wish their parents would ask their permission before sharing photos of them on social media. It could be a great way to start the social media conversation, and your child(ren) will likely appreciate you taking their feelings into consideration, making it easier for them to speak honestly with you about their overall view of social media.
With 94% of families reporting they have rules around social media and technology use, consider the following guidelines when creating your own:
- Be present – no technology is allowed during certain timeframes, such as dinner.
- Privacy – perhaps one of the most important agreements among a family, children agree to be safe and not reveal their real names or where they live.
- Not at night – set a technology curfew and avoid allowing phones/tablets during or after bedtime routines.
- Parent audit – having children agree to let you look at their devices at any time will prevent trust issues down the line.
- Responsibilities first – don’t allow the use of devices until chores are complete, homework is done, etc.
- No inappropriate content – this includes racy/sexual photos, bullying and foul language.
- Time limits – agree on a certain amount of screen time per day.
- Cost restrictions – if children don’t have WiFi available, they won’t access the internet.
While making – and agreeing to – the rules may be simple, enforcing them can be difficult at times. To encourage children to follow the rules, involve them in the decision making process. Not only will this provide them with a sense of ownership, but they’ll feel like you established the rules as a team. Do you have any rules that have gone over exceptionally well in your household? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!