Last year as part of our back to school tech training we started offering families time to go through Common Sense Media’s Family Media Agreement and Device Contract. Every family has slightly different boundaries when it comes to using technology in the home. We want to give families time to discuss what those boundaries are for them. I like to recommend certain standards (i.e., no computer in the bedroom), but ultimately each family needs to decide what is best for them. I like how the time we give them during that training gives them the space to at least start those conversations. If you haven’t already had such a conversation with your student, stop reading this right now, open the contract, print it out, go out for ice cream, and have the conversation with your student(s).
As time goes on, though, it’s easy to get lax. Either we forget and stop being as aware, or it’s not worth the fight or life gets busy. It happens. That’s why it’s important to go back to the conversation again and again. Set yourself some calendar alerts - maybe one every quarter? - to return to the contract with your student(s) to see how both sides are holding up their ends of the bargain. Are you spending a healthy amount of time off of your device? Are you using the time on your device within the boundaries you've set up? Are you still charging it outside of your bedroom at night?
Parents, your job is hard, and I thank you for it. Thank you for giving your student(s) boundaries at home with regards to technology so that they can learn to use it wisely. Thank you for partnering with us as teachers to teach students the positive powers of technology. Thank you for your help in keeping your kids safe in the digital space. What you’re doing isn’t easy, and there’s no perfect answer, but your devotion to talking about tech boundaries with your student(s) over and over again will really help to raise a positive digital citizen.