The lazy days of summer are upon us. And for most of our families that means carefree days lounging poolside or finding ways to beat the heat.
It’s no secret that these days offer us a fresh breath of air after a busy school year.
The Summer Technology Contract Every Family Needs
Unfortunately, these laidback days can easily cause our kids to spend hours looking at a screen to beat the boredom.
Often we find our kids scrolling social media, messaging on their phones, playing videogames, and binging on Netflix instead of playing outside.
Current research shows kids average 9 hours staring at a screen every day.
We can only imagine that during the summer this number will only grow. We know this because kids suddenly have hours of unstructured time on their hands.
This staggering amount of media consumption can quickly turn our children’s summers into bummers by inviting hidden dangers and far reaching consequences into our homes.
These online threats can include inappropriate content, cyberbullying, predators, sexting, and risky online challenges.
Besides digital pitfalls, overusing technology can result in unhealthy habits and an elevated obesity risk.
The Solution: A Family Technology Contract
It’s no secret that our children would love to mindlessly tap and scroll away the hours of their vacations.
The above reasons make it essential we empower our children by teaching social media etiquette and ways to safely navigate the digital realm.
One way we can achieve this is by simply creating a technology contract this summer.
A technology contract is a document that children and parents write together.
It clearly outlines all our rules, expectations, and consequences for tech use within the family so everyone knows what is and isn’t allowed.
These contracts are beneficial for several reasons. But parents primarily love how contracts can prevent disagreement, confusion, and even the occasional slammed door.
If used correctly, technology contracts will boost communication, teach media and online safety, and greatly reduce the likelihood our kids find themselves in a dangerous situation.
8 Tips for Success this Summer
Drafting a contract might sound overwhelming at first. However, this process is worth a few hours of our time.
Thankfully, we have compiled the following tips to help write the ideal summer technology contract:
Make sure to sit down as a family and write the technology contract together.
This ensures everyone’s concerns are heard and no one is left out. Yes, even parents should have a list of expectations to follow.
Avoid Name Calling, Blaming, or Yelling
We should strive to create a safe setting where everyone can support each other and talk about real issues.
Yelling and arguing will quickly stop this process and hinder any progress.
Discuss Social Media Etiquette
Children need to understand the power of words and the permeability of the Internet.
Begin this conversation and as they age, make sure to touch base on sexting and friending strangers. Coach them not to share passwords, over sharing, and how to avoid placing too much value on other people’s opinions.
Write Clearly Labeled Definitions and Examples
Most children and parents have differing views on what constitutes bullying, oversharing, and inappropriate conduct.
Eliminate all confusion by being very specific and make sure to give concrete examples of what is and isn’t acceptable.
Include a Section for Cell Phone use while Driving, during Family Functions, and Meal Times
We often overlook these everyday situations, because we think our kids already know better.
Unfortunately, our kids make a lot of mistakes and might not be aware that they aren’t being respectful or responsible.
It’s also important for us to remember to put down our phones during meals or while driving.
Make sure to Limit the Amount of Time Family Members Consume Media
Technology has many good qualities and shouldn’t be completely denied.
Some families require a set time limit for games, television, and texting.
Other households encourage children to complete chores, reading, playing outside, or other activities before any devices can be turned on.
Consider the family’s needs and design a policy to fit.
Don’t Overlook Sexting
This uncomfortable topic is notorious for awkward conversations.
In any event, kids need to understand that it is alright to say no to a sext. And that they can be prosecuted for distributing or possessing child pornography which can result in felony charges.
Notify Trusted Adult
Furthermore, a child should always notify a trusted adult if they encounter anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
This will cover everything from sexting to cyberbullying. Hopefully, this safety measure will help us prevent any situations from spiraling out of control.
How does your family manage technology over summer break? Do you have the Summer Technology Contract every Family needs?
Please comment below.