Simply defined, a family technology contract is a way to determine when, what, how and where the technology is used in the family home. “Technology” captures all screens – laptops, desktops, iPads, smart tablets, iphones, smartphones and game consoles. I would recommend including television. In particular, this is an area in which families will have different rules. Some families may allocate one time per day (z.B 1 hour) if the child can use his device. Other families will prefer to use a system in which the child must perform a certain number of activities (duties and tasks) before using their device. Parents are frustrated and worried about their children – and they should be. Numerous studies have shown that the unlimited use of technology can have a negative impact on a child`s emotional intelligence, temperament and social development (see “How Technology Reduces Emotional Intelligence in Children”). In fact, there is a national movement, supported by high-tech innovators, that strongly recommends that children only have a smartphone at age 14 (8th) and only receive a data plan at age 16. (To join the movement, visit “Wait for the 8th”) Too much Internet/technology time has also been associated with depression and anxiety.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney concluded that adolescents who use the Internet pathologically are 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than adolescents who are not addicted to the Internet. Researchers conducted a study of 1,041 random teenagers aged 13-18 from high schools throughout Guangzhou in China, but these results have many lessons for parents worldwide. A family media contract should be created when your child is using technology for the first time without your supervision. This could include the ability for them to play video games in their room or give access to the family computer for a school project. Whatever the situation, here are some factors that should be included in the family media contract. Family Technology Contracts help children create a healthy and balanced relationship with technology. Kind of like a lifestyle with a healthy and balanced diet — consuming sugar all day is not good for anyone. I like to call the moments in our house, which I call the “Total Tech Blackouts”. This means that no questions are asked at this time. This includes meals (at any time at the dining table), whether we visitors (family or otherwise), during games or sleeping opportunities or when we are in the car.
Why the car? This is the perfect place to have these more difficult conversations. Everyone is in the same place and no one needs to look each other in the eye! The screen time fights disturb families every day. Phone taps in most homes, and you`ll probably hear: Family media contracts help convey the proper use of technology and deliver expectations.