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Get it in Writing: Creating Technology Contracts for Your Family

Posted by on May 1, 2020 | Comments Off on Get it in Writing: Creating Technology Contracts for Your Family

Get it in Writing: Creating Technology Contracts for Your Family

Setting boundaries with technology can be challenging, especially now that you are using it more frequently. How do you negotiate screen time when you and your kids are balancing school, work, and socializing? Creating a technology contract is a great place to start.

What Are They?

A technology contract is a written agreement that states guidelines for technology use, laying out rules in clear, bulleted points. And some contracts include mutually agreed-upon consequences in the event guidelines are broken. They can be a helpful tool to initiate conversations with your family members about their technology use, especially when expectations about that use are not met. They are also a great visual reminder to your family of the agreements you’ve made with each other.

How Do I Create One?

Start with talking about general values that you have as individuals and as a family. Is speaking kindly a behavior you value? Include that in your contract. Incorporate expectations that you already have for behavior offline. Consider values related to communication, privacy, and relationships. You have a great opportunity to talk about digital responsibility while creating your contract, and because it will be based in values, it will look different for everyone.

While it can be frustrating when you and your kids disagree, it’s important to include everybody’s ideas in the contract in equal, reasonable ways. Youth are more likely to take ownership over (and therefore follow) guidelines if their thoughts are heard and included. To work out any disagreements, use assertive communication skills such as compromising. For more tips on assertive communication, check out our other resources here. Remember, a technology contract is an agreement for everyone involved in creating it, which helps to hold everyone accountable.

Modeling & Technology Contracts: Why Your Behavior is Powerful

Technology contracts are more successful when they apply to all family members. That’s right, this isn’t just for the kids. Parents model behaviors to their kids and technology use is no exception. Odds are, if you’re spending more than the agreed upon time on Facebook, your kids will notice. This makes it harder to enforce that guideline for your kids. Modeling is a powerful tool in reinforcing the behaviors you’d like to see from your children. Keep this in mind when creating your contract!

It’s an Ongoing Conversation

Creating guidelines for technology can be hard. Technology contracts help create clear expectations and increase accountability. They’re a great tool to initiate conversations about online behaviors, values, responsibilities and screen time. Try creating your own contract today. Still feeling stuck? Our post about digital boundaries includes ideas to consider incorporating into your technology contract.

For more information about how to support your youth, check out our blog.