RECONNECT is aimed at students but it’s also meant to start a conversation in homes. We think that parenting today’s digital generation needs to be more about mentoring than monitoring. How do you find a positive digital balance? What are fair guidelines for all the family? Away from their screens, are you children doing a variety of offline things - sport, reading, clubs, hobbies and socialising? Are you?
“I try to have a cuddle with my mum and she says ‘Go away, I’m on Facebook!’ She’s too busy watching kittens.”
Frank, Student, 17
Get the balance right
There are plenty of tips online keeping your tech in check. Try them out and please tells us what works for you.
Here are a few suggestions…
SCREEN-FREE bedrooms – there is a consensus that late night smartphone affects sleep. GET an alarm clock! If we use our phones to wake up, the temptation is too great to check for messages. CREATE a family charging station in the kitchen or living room and get devices plugged in here at the agreed time.
ZAP your apps – make sure your home screens contain bare essentials only. MOVE your most time-eating apps into folders on the second page - out of temptation’s way.
Or, if you do want to go down the measure and monitor route, there are several apps available:
Being a parent in the digital age raises plenty of questions. Check out this infographic for a panic-free perspective on getting the balance right.
Or, try this this free Family Media Planner. It may take things further than you want to go, but even looking through it is food for thought.
Lagom (pronounced lɑ̀ːɡɔm) - a Swedish word meaning 'just right' or 'balance'
“There’s nothing else to do”
You know your own children, so try to have responses and strategies up your sleeve. There are plenty of suggestions on-line - like these 50 boredom busters. Or there are tips to get teens reading - here.
Not all screen time is equal - make it count!
What are your children doing on their screens – and how are they doing it? Creating or consuming? Interactive or passive? Conscious or on auto-pilot? Discovering or repeating? Educational or trivial?
"Wait, I just have to finish this level"
If you engage with your children’s screen habits you’ll get a better understanding of why their games mean so much to them and help you navigate cut-off times that feel fair.
Reconnect your family
The RECONNECT project invites students to try a week with reduced or no screens. But could your whole family take on the challenge? Could you all cut back on your devices for a week?
Why not get friends and family to sponsor you and donate the money to a favourite charity or cause?
We’d love to hear your stories and we’ll post them on our Facebook page. Let us know what helped you stay screen-free and what you most enjoyed – and hated - about re-connecting.