Technology and Your Family: Setting Healthy Boundaries

Today more than half of American parents say their child’s use of technology concerns them. The worry about too much screen time, the content they are consuming, the people they are interacting with, cyber bullying, and more. Plus, the remote learning that has been such a standard part of their lives these last two years has further complicated the issue. And yet many parents find it challenging to implement and maintain healthy boundaries when it comes to the use of technology in the family.

Good use of technology begins with the parents themselves – setting a good example for how smartphones and other tech devices are to be used is the first step too educating the children in these area!

5 Healthy Boundaries for Technology Use in the Family:

ONE: Have set ‘no tech’ times as part of the schedule. Family meals is a good place to start – with smartphones not even coming to the table or into the kitchen. Additionally, you could have certain days or moments in the family schedule that is focused on interacting in person rather than on the phone. Hold even guests to these standards by having a basket for them to place their phone in during these moments. 

TWO: No computers or smartphones in the bedrooms. Poor decisions are often made late at night when our defenses are down. eliminating the option of checking Instagram or TikTok one last time, can help diminish the chance for poor choices. If kids need a computer for school work and the bedroom is the only place available, have them remove it from the room and put it in a common area before going to bed. This goes for you too, parents! 

THREE: Talk about it! Draw the kids into discussions to hear what they are seeing, what trends are out there, how they use the time on their device. Look at the hours spent on different apps and talk about whether that was time well spent.

FOUR: Remove and don’t enable notifications! Every time that screen lights up we get a little dose of dopamine and we want more where that came from. At that point it becomes a HUGE challenge not to pick up the phone and start checking things. By removing all but the most essential notifications, you’ll eliminate the smartphones ability to dictate your behavior. 

FIVE: No tech 2 hours before bed. This is an especially difficult one in the world we occupy today. But there are so many reasons to avoid screens just before bed. The biggest: the blue light from your screen messes with your body’s production of melatonin and your ability to get a good night sleep. Night after night like that and it’s no wonder you and your kids are dragging through the day.