Summer is over and your kids are likely back in school. During the summer break, your child, if he or she is like mine, may have had the luxury of dang near endless TV, phone or computer time. I am NOT good about patrolling during the summer months because I need a break too. And mine are really good about being outside a lot in the summer so if they have several hours at night of screen time, I rarely complain.
But, now they have to get back to a routine – and screens can be a huge distraction! So, since it is back to school time, I thought we should visit the idea of Tech Contracts.
Bottom line, if you set some ground rules now, you’ll reduce arguments later. Also, there is much to be said about creating positive habits around tech – for everyone in the family! I often talk about being present, which is an important precursor to building deeper connections. Ridding ourselves of the constant distraction of technology will go far in being able to be present with your children and visa versa. If the goal is to create deeper connections, you’re going to have to invest some serious energy in figuring out the best ways for your family to create that dynamic. Having a Tech Contract in place might be a great starting point!
There are several websites out there that will help you create a tech contract that works for your family. Here are a few to help you get started:
Creating A Technology Contract With Your Child https://www.bark.us/blog/creating-technology-contract-child/
Guide to Contracts & Agreements for Digital Kids https://mediatechparenting.net/contracts-and-agreements/
To My 13-Year_Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love https://www.huffingtonpost.com/janell-burley-hofmann/iphone-contract-from-your-mom_b_2372493.html
Our family executed a tech contract that is in play at both Brad’s house and mine and it’s been a saving grace for us. We took the basics of the contract from an online site that I was directed to by my son’s counselor and for the life of me, I cannot find that now so I’m happy to share ours for your use. Feel free to copy if you like and make it your own.
Jo Jo and Jac’s General Tech Contract
January 8, 2018
Having a cell phone or computer is a privilege and will not be taken for granted. Bottom line, we own the phone and computers in this house. We paid for them; you get to use them — at our discretion.
Parents will always know the password for these phones and computersand any apps that you use. Please write these down and pin them to the corkboard in mom’s closet. Parents will monitor your phones regularly, including text messages, videos and apps.
Do not call or text people if you can talk to them in person. It’s important to live in the moment, not on your phone or computer. When you talk on the phone, use your manners.
Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud to them or their parents.
Be kind always: online, on your phoneor computer, in person. And be honest.
Since the phone and computer are permitted at school, we will allow you to use it according to school rules and consistent with the principles of this contract.
If something happens to the phone or computer, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.
Keep your private parts private. Don’t search/view/share anything you wouldn’t share at the dinner table.
If one of you is asked to turn off/stop playing/get off phone or computer, you will do so promptly.
Remember that the Internet is forever. You will be tempted to do something questionable or risky. Know that what you do on the Internet can impact your life today and well into the future. Don’t do it. If you don’t want to explain it to a stranger, your grandparents or your future boss, don’t do it.
Specific Rules Around Usage:
- None of us; Jo Jo, Jac, Mom nor Dad, will use their phones or computersduring mealtimes and focused family time unless it is agreed by all.
- When it comes to doing homework it is about working together to find study habits that foster focused concentration/attention span so as to improve the quality of the work you do. As of today, we’d like to see your phones in mom’s office or the kitchen while you study. If you need a break after 20-30 minutes studying, feel free to come get your phone for a 5-10 minute break. Clearly, you need to use your computers for homework but it is not play time. No phones will be returned for the evening until all homework is complete. Exception– if grades are up you may keep your phones while doing homework for the sole purpose of listening to music.
- The phone or computermay be used in the morning but you are expected to be ready for school (breakfast eaten and cleaned up, room picked up, teeth brushed, bag ready to go, etc.) on time.
- You may use the phone responsibly at any time, but every weekday we want the phone put away by 9:45 pm, except on Tuesday nights before late start. On that night, you can use your phone until 10:45.
- On weekends it is expected that you both will have several periods each day of one to two hours when you are not on your phones or computer. You can hike, spend time with friends, do your chores, etc., but you need to be off your phones for lengthy periods of time on the weekend. It’s healthy for your brains!
- Sometimes we may have family days without phones but we’ll schedule them in advance, we promise.
You will make mistakes and there will be consequences. The standard consequence will be loss of use of the phone the following day.
We will respect your privacy when you are talking or texting on your phone.
If we have a concern, we have the right to read text messages or review call logs without telling you first—but our goal is to always have you in the driver’s seat when we look at your social media. For now, we’d like you NOT to delete any messages. We can retrieve them, but we want to feel like we are all treating each other honestly and with respect.
We will pay the standard monthly fee for the cell phone.
This contract is negotiable. The more improvement we see in social engagement, emotional conduct and study habits, the more lax we are apt to be. And there are exceptions to most rules depending on the situation – but it MUST be discussed in advance with one or the other of us.
Here’s to peace, tranquility and success this school year and beyond!
We love you both to the moon and back,
Mom and Dad
Please sign here:
You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
Treat other people the way you want them to treat you.
We love you, no matter what.
You are the boss of your own body.
We do not keep secrets from each other.
If you ever want to discuss issues related to your children, travel or life in gneral, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can also use these newsletters in their blog post form on my website to chat with each other. You can find all my blog posts here.
When you are ready to explore the world with your family, please schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session with me at www.calendly.com/bambi. I’d LOVE to help!
All my best to each of you,
Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/