Never has technology been more convenient. We all have access to the internet, email and social media in our pockets via our mobile phones. Yet as terrific as this can be when you need to shoot a quick message to a friend or check out that latest new property for sale (!!!) it can also be unhealthy if we don’t set some rules.
For young people – to whom this level of connectedness is the norm – we need to help them set boundaries. This is particularly true for teenagers. It’s our job to help them learn to put face-to-face communication – with friends and family – ahead of the online world. We need to teach them how to have healthy relationships – both now and in the future.
In addition to this, being so connected may provide an issue with safety. Do our younger children know how to protect their information and identities online? Do they understand not to speak to people they don’t know? Do they know what to do if they are getting bullied online?
All of this means we need to make some clear rules about the use of technology in the home. One of the best ways to do this is to have clear rules about what happens with technology in different areas.
This is the most logical place for computers to be used. A positive habit is to set aside a time and space for children to complete homework. No only does this promotes excellent learning behaviours, it also allows you to know when and where technology is being used. If you need to monitor your child online, you know you just have to keep an eye on them whilst working in this space.
Where possible, bedrooms should be a technology-free zone. It’s important for children to associate the bedroom with relaxation and sleeping. Phones and lap-tops should be plugged in and charged overnight in another space – plenty of families designate the kitchen as a space for charging. Devices must be placed in the kitchen at a designated hour, and left there overnight.
Bedrooms are one of the most difficult spaces to monitor the use of technology – this is why it is so important to ensure you maintain strict rules around when and where devices can be used.
The dining table often represents family time – a time to share news of the day and to show interest in each other’s lives. So it’s great to have a rule of “no phones at the dining table”. We need to demonstrate to our children, by our own example, the importance of respectful communication in relationships.
Although, the dining table can also be a convenient space to monitor children on their devices, particularly when they are doing homework if your home is not blessed with a large study. So perhaps rules around this space might depend upon what the family is doing at the time. (My home does not have a formal study so our kitchen breakfast bench is where the kids set up their computers to do homework.)
The lounge room is a great family space. You may be able to afford to be more relaxed about using technology here. As this is a space that everyone uses, you can be present for any interaction on smaller devices such as mobile phones and iPads.
Monitoring use of technology is so important in modern parenting. And it also relies upon us to act as good role models. So when discussing technology with your children:
- Set strict guidelines as to when and where devices can be used
- Adhere to these guidelines yourself
- Insist that children add you on social media so you can monitor their online interactions
- Talk about internet privacy and safety with them on a regular basis
If you’re worried about how you might be able to navigate your way through the challenging process of selling your home while still maintaining those safe spaces for children to play and study, then give me a call on 0408 991 855.