3 Ways to Keep Technology from Wrecking Your Parenting

If you’ve ever wondered what to do about technology in your family, then I’m glad you’ve joined me. Good Morning Friends! Happy Wednesday!!

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Koffee With Kelli

Let me ask you a question. Does technology have an effect on our relationship with our children? In an article I read this weekend, they begin to actually do the research to answer that question. I do not want to micro-manage technology.  I do think about this as uncharted water. We don’t know all the ramifications technology will have on our family relationships long term.  We can guess. We know how it feels to try to get someone’s attention when they are too preoccupied with their phone. 

In response to being ignored, many do the same thing – if you can’t beat ‘em then join ‘em. And if you are the parent doing the ignoring, you might give your child the Ipad so you can finish on Facebook. We rationalize the use of technology; it helps us get things done and still be with our kids. But, stop and consider what’s really important as you think about the legacy you will leave. Here are some things to ponder and then act on.

1) Technology is not going away. It is a neutral part of our life. It can be used for good or evil. 

We have to control it so it enhances and protects family relationships. We love to Skype with our grandchildren who live across the country. We can read, sing and be a part of important milestones with them. When distance is involved it’s a game changer. Military parents have watched children be born or receive their diploma.

Technology expedites the details of life (setting appointments, communicating information, research) we otherwise would have to pay for, hire, or leave our home to do. We can figure out home repairs, learn to play an instrument, or diagnose a simple health issue.

Of course it can also expose and feed the addiction of pornography, gaming, or social media. It’s easy to get caught up in the constant drive to have the latest and greatest technology. It can even put a strain on the family budget.

2) Game plan with your spouse (if you’re single maybe use a mentor). How will you protect your family so technology benefits rather than undermines your vision?

This is an important first step of the process. Invite the influence of your spouse and listen to each other. Your plan will have a greater chance of success if you both have been heard and are ready to support each other. Ask the question, “Is there anything I can do to help you with our vision?” Come up with a plan and agree to revisit this subject on a regular basis.  

3) Have a family meeting. Ask the questions, “What kind of a family do we want to be with technology?” And, “Do you think technology is good or bad?” Have them explain.

The American Association of Pediatrics has recommendations pertaining to screen time. It is important know those for your children. Different ages have different needs because of brain development and growth.

Talk about unplugging in shared living spaces such as the dinner table and the family room. Ask about being on the phone while together in the car or watching your child’s game. What about walking around the house with headphones on your ears? How much total screen time does your family want?

I’ve barely scratched the surface. There is so much to consider in this area of our family’s life. I hope this gets the conversation started. I’m curious. What kinds of challenges have you faced with technology? What type of rules has your family come up with?