From the Head of the Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann
A rec-ipee for technolog-ee
As we head into the holidays, this is a great time to revisit the conversation with your son about healthy technology use.
During the distance learning phase, many of us relaxed general guidelines around technology for our children. It didn’t make sense to cut off the connection to others and we were delivering and receiving lessons through technology.
However, as we head back to our regular routines for the holidays, it’s important to again put some boundaries in place for your son around the total time spend online. Here is a three-step process that may assist with the transition:
Step 1: Set up the conversation
It will be a negotiation, so be firm but fair (and separate your son from his behaviour – he will push back and that’s normal. You don’t want to crush his pushback, but draw it into a structured negotiation. It’s all part of the learning for him).
Co-design as many of the ‘boundaries’ as you can:
- Consider the best time to have the chat about tech use (the last night of term is not the time).
- Set up the chat – ‘I’d like to talk about technology and use these holidays – and would like to set up some agreements with you about this. Can we talk on Sunday over breakfast?’
- Give an outline of what you would like to talk about (that way he can think about it) – ‘For this break I know that you’ll want some time on technology. I’m keen to put a few things in place so that we are both ok with what that looks like each day.’
Step 2: Have the conversation
Determine your non-negotiables (total time, what kind of apps/games) prior to your conversation. Also work out what may be annoying but not essential to you; does a brief check of the phone for messages need to be counted in terms of time?
Open up the conversation with the ‘win-wins’ – ‘We don’t want to have a break where we are constantly arguing about tech use. We want to have a great rest, have some fun, do some new things and some of that is tech based, but not all of it’.
‘My suggestion is that we have a chat about it all and then draw up an agreement – you can have interruption free time, you don’t get pressured, but I can also be okay with how much time from a health perspective you are online’.
Put some of the other fun things on the table and talk about ideas for the holidays that don’t involve technology, such as learning a new skill, seeing friends, listening to music, or trying something creative.
Set out your non-negotiables – ‘I’ve looked at the school’s position paper on technology and this is what I think is fair and reasonable. I’m your parent and I have to set some boundaries. Some of the things I won’t budge on are [explain], but I’m open to talking about how you feel about this and what you think is a reasonable position.’
Boundaries could include, no tech before 2.00pm, a two hour maximum session time with a maximum of three sessions in a day and all tech finished and phone in by 9.00pm.
Step 3: Draw up your agreement
The final step is to write out the agreement together. Below is a suggested template which can be adapted to your own needs. The points are intended as an example only, not as a guide.
Put the agreement on the fridge or somewhere public and continue to discuss (and model) healthy tech use!
Tech Use these holidays for James
· Use PlayStation
· Watch a movie on alternate days
· Do some YouTube browsing
· Chat on Insta (have my phone on me)
· Keep it to two 1 hour sessions
· Let you know when the sessions are
· Not exceed 6 hours in any day (nor do two 6-hour days in a row)
· Keep my room tidy and help out when asked
· Not use tech before 8.00am or after 9.00pm* (*unless watching a movie with friends)
If I break this arrangement, I understand:
· First time is a warning
· Second time (in a day) = auto ban of a session
· Third time = day ban
*Management reserves the right to open up another conversation to amend!
Parent Workshop Program – Webinar edition
We will continue to offer parent webinars next term. The Crowther Centre would love to hear your thoughts on topics that matter to you.
The Understanding Boys Podcast
New Episode with David Leser
David Leser is a journalist, feature writer and public interviewer and author of ‘Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing’, an investigation following the #MeToo movement, patriarchy and toxic masculinity. Listen to Ray’s interview with David the Understanding Boys Podcast website or wherever you get your podcasts.
With the launch of our new episode, win the book!
To celebrate a new episode with journalist and author David Leser, we have a copy of his book ‘Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing’ to give away to one of our loyal Crowther Centre eNews readers (let’s say your odds are good).
Winners will be announced early next term.
Do you know someone who would be great to be interviewed on the topic of ‘What makes a good man?’ Please get in touch with us at the Crowther Centre to tell us more!