Tech Resolutions for the Whole Family

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Tracey Dowdy

Well, we’re past the half-way mark in January. How many of your New Year’s Resolutions have you kept up? That many? Good for you!

Kicking off the new year with diet and healthy eating plans, exercise routines and gym memberships is pretty common. But instead of just setting goals for your body, how about setting goals for your family?

These simple tips can help.

Put those devices down. Device free dinners have become popular as more and more families see the importance of real-life, face to face, honest to goodness, old-fashioned conversation. If you’re stuck for topics, try ice-breakers like “Best Thing/Worst Thing”, “Three Wishes”, or ask imaginative questions like “If you could have any super-power, what would it be?”

Create a Family Technology Contract. A family technology contract, specifically tailored to your family, is a great way to set standards. Let your kids have input and allow them to help you set reasonable boundaries and consequences. Participation equals ownership so your kids will be more receptive to both the rules and the consequences of breaking them.

Make the most of your time. The goal isn’t to eliminate technology; it’s to make the most of it. For example, if you’ve set boundaries on the amount of time your child has with a device, help them make the most of those minutes by finding quality shows or games. Frankly, the older they get the less influence you will have, but by curating what your little ones see, you can ensure they’re learning while they’re entertained.

Find movies, games, and music you can enjoy together. Scroll through home movies and photos stored on your devices or in the clouds; watch a documentary about children in other countries to learn about other cultures; or play a video game together, even though you know your child is going to kick your tail and win every time.

Teach discernment. Fake news has become a news story itself. Teach your children to be discerning about everything they read online and to be active fact-checkers. Help them understand that just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true.

Remember what Grandpa Dowdy said. My father-in-law is one of the wisest men I’ve ever known. One of his favorite sayings is “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” and I can’t think of a better approach to social media than those three questions. Remind your kids – and yourself – to be mindful of everything they post online. If any of those three criteria aren’t met, perhaps it’s best to leave it unsaid.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

 

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