Do you control technology or does technology control you?
We’ve powered up our laptops, smart phones and video games. We’ve powered down family meals, drive-time conversations with kids and date nights with our spouse. We’ve increased tech and decreased touch. What can we do about it? Just remember the four R’s.
1. Recognize that you can control technology. You choose when and where you turn things off and time together with family on. Make sure that your kids know that technology is not a right; it is a privilege that can be limited or taken away if abused.
2. Remember that your children will learn more from your online actions than your offline words. If searching, posting, socializing or commenting online is consuming most of your waking hours, it will be tough to teach your children anything different. Show them by example when and where they need to power down electronics and power up personal interaction.
3. Require rules. Establish boundaries on cell phone talking, texting and tweeting. For example, texting is off limits at the dinner table. Facebook can only be used when homework is completed. Explain to your children the reason behind the rules.
4. Reinforce rules. People don’t always do what we expect, they do what we inspect. Monitor what your kids are reading, watching and listening to. Make sure nobody is going out of bounds, including you.