One of the biggest challenges for parents today is learning how to navigate technology with our kids. Researchers* are telling us that there will be a new divide between families who teach their children how to use tech wisely and those that don’t.
As deliberate mothers, we want our families to be among those who teach and model responsible tech use for our children. While this might look different for each family, we can all find ways to be intentional about screen time.
After many days of research and discussion with other parents I came to two conclusions. First, there seems to be a lot information on what not to do with our children and technology. This can leave us feeling fearful and frustrated. I wanted a positive resource to help our family be proactive about how we use screens.
Second, I realized that we needed to get our kids on board. It became my mission to develop a positive, forward-looking approach to introduce children to technology, and to share that approach with deliberate mothers around the world.
To help our family understand why it’s important to have healthy boundaries with screens we used Simon Sinek’s concept Start with Why. Too often as parents we start with the what—we lay down the ground rules and expect 100% compliance. But when we start with why, we have the chance to make a preemptive plan together and everyone is more likely to jump on board. In our family, we began by using Sinek’s ideas to guide a family group discussion, or family council, on this topic. The result was the Family Tech Think Tank.
In this four-minute video I’m going to walk you through starting your own family’s very first Family Tech Think Tank. It’s very simple and easy. You can do it in 20 minutes or less!
If you have this conversation with your spouse and children, I promise you will walk away with these three results:
- Increased awareness. You will become more aware of how you are using technology. Throughout the week you will be more mindful of your screen use and possibly recognize some changes you could make to model the kind of behavior you want to see in your spouse or children. If your kids do not yet use screens, then you can use this as an opportunity to start modeling the kind of use you want to see when they are older.
- A gauge. You will be able to see each child’s maturity level based on their participation in the discussion and what topics they suggest for each side of the list. This will help you to cater future Think Tank discussions to your children’s needs and choose age-appropriate discussion points.
- Motivation. This conversation is just the beginning. It motivated me to create a Family Technology Plan with our kids, which was our second discussion in our Family Tech Think Tank. By bringing up a variety of topics, you’ll realize how much more there is to talk about.
As mothers we can help our children learn to use technology appropriately when the time is right. The Family Tech Think Tank is a proactive approach to providing that education in way that can be tailored to suit your family’s needs. By using the Think Tank you can switch your focus from fearing the dangers of technology to training your children to use it wisely!
To learn more about the Family Tech Think Tank and to see our complete thumbs up and thumbs down list, check out the free guide at betterscreentime.com.
QUESTION: Do you see the technology in your life as a primarily positive tool? How about for your kids? How deliberate are you with technology use in your home?
CHALLENGE: Schedule a time on your calendar when you can hold your first Family Tech Think Tank. If you are married, talk to your spouse ahead of time so you can talk about some potential problems and solutions for your family.
*Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens by Dr. Laura S. Kastner and Dr. Jennifer Wyatt
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