Family technology agreements provide clear expectations.
Conflict can arise when expectations and reality don’t line up…especially when it deals with the behavior of others. And kids are no different.
When they first have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer or receive one of their own, they may assume they can and should use it in certain places, at certain times, and in a certain manner. They may have picked up this behavior from friends, movies and television, or family members.
At the same time, parents have expectations for what is appropriate use of a device, particularly smartphones. A family technology agreement ensures that everyone is on the same page and can eliminate some unpleasant surprises later.
For example, if you have a designated time that smartphones are off-limits, such as during a family meal, when everyone gathers around the table, arguments are diffused. Everyone agreed in advance that this would be a phone-free time and can point to that agreement to set the boundary.
Family technology agreements can be personalized.
Some parents looking at the template we provide may think that we have added too many restrictions and boundaries. Others may think we left something out. The good news is that we created it to be personalized. You can select the items that matter to your family and the guardrails you would like to put in place, and there’s even space to add your own.
You may have a tighter reign on technology for your preteen who is about to receive a tablet (their first device!) they will mostly use for school than your older teenager with a smartphone who is old enough to drive. You know your child best, and you can also always revisit the family technology agreement later and update it.
Family technology agreements are most effective when everyone participates.
Children, especially teenagers, are like adults in the way that they appreciate being heard. Of course, as a parent, there are certain guidelines that are not up for negotiation; you are the parent, and they are the child. However, to inspire willing compliance, complete the following agreement together and talk through the decisions made, depending on what is appropriate for the age and maturity level of your child.
If there are things that you don’t feel all that strongly about, consider asking your child’s opinion to help make the decision together.
Beyond the family technology agreement!
We created an e-book with the family technology agreement template and so much more to help you guide your child to be safe and wise online. It covers digital citizenship, tips for Internet safety for kids, and talking about parental controls in a way that helps your child experience freedom.