Lets build healthier relationships with technology!

Family bonding together with technology

How can we build healthier relationships with technology?

While, of course, social media has its benefits, it has also taken over young people’s relationships and is constructing their daily reality—homework, weekend plans, flirting, friendship, their sense of self and belonging—all within a system that is designed to capture and monetize our attention.

In this unprecedented time, technology has become part of our social fabric in a deeper, more intimate way than ever before. For many of us, technology has been a social lifeline. Unfortunately, our increased reliance on technology doesn’t diminish the challenges and dangers it poses.

We offer these family guidelines with the hope that they will help parents navigate the use of technology at home and in school.

 

🧘‍♀️ Feel Into It

Let’s be aware of not just our use, but how technology makes us feel.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • What thought, feeling, or impulse led you to pick up your device?
  • As you scroll through your feed, what kind of thoughts come up?
  • What kind of emotions come up
  • What happens to your breathing?
  • How does your heart feel?

 

🧠 Be “Why’s”

Make an effort to use technology as a tool instead of an end in itself. When using technology, let’s communicate the “why” to our children and ask them to communicate theirs.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • Why am I reaching for my device?
  • How is this technology really enhancing my life?
  • Is this technology serving as a successful substitute for something lacking during the pandemic (i.e. exercise or education)?
  • Am I being a tech role model?
  • When I am mindlessly using technology, am I taking ownership of that with my family?

 

📱 All Screen-Time Is Not Equal

The tools that measure our screen-time consider all screen-time equal, but what’s happening on the screen is much more relevant than the screen itself.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • Am I engaging in “slot-machine” behavior? e.g. Endlessly scrolling for the occasional emotional reward? Repeatedly checking my likes to see how many there are, or who liked my post?
  • What values is this content/game teach?
  • How can I use what I am consuming as a source of inspiration for creating something of my own?
  • What am I learning?
  • What is my reason for posting? How would it feel if no one likes this?

 

💻 Remember, Tech is a Trade

What are we trading for convenience and/or connectivity?

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • What am I losing as I’m gaining this convenience? Is it worth it?
  • Is this time well spent?
  • What’s the non-tech way to do this thing I’m doing right now? (e.g. journaling or meditating without an app)
  • How does my own tech as a parent use make my children feel?

 

🏃 Get Proactive

Tech is not neutral. It is vying for our attention and is very good at grabbing and holding it.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • Did I connect with the people I wanted to this week?
  • Did I put the effort and energy into the work, play, social time, activities, and sleep that I intended to dedicate myself to?
  • Is my current time management strategy working for me and my family?

 

🌱 Choose the “Right” Tech

Some digital environments are more conducive to what we’re trying to accomplish and how we’re trying to act than others.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • Is this conversation best for text or should I call or FaceTime this person?
  • Do I want to share this with everyone on social media or a select few?
  • How long did it actually take to have that text conversation, and how much was my attention interrupted in that time?
  • Is this digital environment working for me or my family?

 

👧 Protect Developing Brains

We are using and relying on technology more than we ever dreamed we would, but it’s important to remember that children’s brains are still developing and can literally be shaped by technology and media.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • Is this screentime really for them or for me?
  • Are we creating screen-free zones and times in our home?
  • What kind of call or online socializing should we engage in?

 

🤔 Be Skeptical

While staying indoors during COVID-19, it’s natural for our tech time to increase. But it is still helpful to approach tech, especially free social media products, with a skeptical attitude because money is being made somehow.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • How is this going to improve my life?
  • What value does this bring me as a human being?
  • What skills might I be giving up as I use technology to do this?
  • What personal information am I comfortable posting, considering it could be sold to advertisers?
  • How are the apps and services I use trying to keep me as a user?

 

Interested to learn more about the technology & how to better improve the relationship?

Check out ZACHDEV – TECH PARENTING ebook today!

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