How do you raise children alongside technology?
I see so much content out there around technology and our kids. And it’s either total doom and gloom; or it is what it is, just let it be. There’s no happy medium, there’s no discussion around this.
As entrepreneurs, we need to be intentional about how and when we introduce technology to our kids, the way we talk about it, the way we model it, because the reality is – in some capacity, our businesses do depend on tech and also, our kids are growing up in a tech era. On top of that, my guess is that our kids see us on our devices more than the average kids, because we are running our businesses and our businesses are constantly with us. So, it’s kind of inescapable. But this doesn’t mean we’re helpless.
I’m going to spend the next month talking about a few big topics around this idea to help us be more informed and make an intentional plan that’s best for our entrepreneurial families. So, armor up! Because this is not an easy conversation, but it’s a necessary one.
Let’s raise them up right!
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVER:
[2:45] We’re Fighting a Different War
This episode is going to kick off a discussion around the idea of introducing tech to our children, the responsibility that comes with that and some ideas that can help you navigate this important part of parenting.
We have these devices at our disposal all the time and there’s unlimited access to things that can derail us, let alone our kids, as their minds are still developing and growing. When I was growing up, my mom had to only compete with the TV. But today, we fight a very different war. Kids are oftentimes being required to use technology for school, and have tablets or computers of their own. Also kids are requesting, and oftentimes receiving, cell phones earlier in age than ever.
But the cold hard truth is we are usually the problem, not technology in and of itself: our social media addictions, our frantic email checks, our scrolling for hours – we are hooked. And we do it under the guise of work. These should be tools but they’ve become more like our pacifiers.
There’s a quote from Kristen Welch that I had to share: It’s hard to teach our kids to be different from the world if we look just like it. It’s time to take back our living rooms, tune out the media and turn off technology. It’s a bold statement, and it’s a scary one for a lot of us. Because if your kids have already had access to it, it’s a lot harder to take something away. That’s going to be a painful conversation. But when it comes down to what’s really important, this is it. This is directly affecting our kids.
[6:39] Team Work
One thing we forget to give our kids credit for is that they are smart. They can handle conversations and they deserve to know why. In fact, knowing why helps them understand cause and effect. If you just say “No, because I said so” and “In our house, we don’t have phones or use social media” you’re not giving them a chance to learn about things like cyber bullying or social media pressure. So, instead of having them feel left out, there will be a feeling of being protected by their parents and avoiding unnecessary pain and stress and responsibility.
Make a decision together as a team. And as a team make a decision together about what is and is not going to be allowed in your home, which is completely different than being that parent that just says “no” when everyone else is saying “yes.”
Here are some discussions and ideas for you to consider as a family around the idea of introducing technology into your home or establishing values or boundaries around it.
[9:08] Have the Right Discussions
This is an opportunity to really evoke these types of conversations, and come to your conclusions as a family so that you’re not falling into what happens to you, but you’re actually choosing how you want to live:
- Think about how you can help your child create a healthy relationship with technology that infuses your values from the other areas of your life and infuses it into technology as a whole. I know that a healthy relationship with technology is a little bit of an oxymoron because these tools are designed to be addictive. But throughout this series, we’ll talk about different ways, different tools and types of tech that you can leverage for this very reason.
- Technology should be there to add to your life, to make it simpler and to bring joy. Think about your first encounter with tech, maybe it was emailing a loved one who lived far away or listening to music on the go. Remember this when having those discussions with your kids, instead of all the doom and gloom and the scare tactics that sometimes parents choose to use. It’s meant to be positive with the right boundaries and the right restrictions and the right tools, you can keep it that way for your kids.
- This is an ongoing conversation because tech is designed to get into the brain of you and your children. So, have a discussion around the idea of how you will know if technology use has moved from fun and helpful to something that’s harmful or disruptive. Agree up front on the plan of attack and how you’re holding each other accountable.
- Talk about some tech free activities you enjoy doing as a family that might be able to balance you out as you add new technology into your world. Have tech free time. Think of the tech free activities where phones or devices are not allowed.
- Have the conversation with the kids that everything they share can and will be public. You can’t ever really delete those photos or conversations once they are online.
- Talk about how the same values that you have in real lives need to be applied to the online world because the repercussions exist in both and the same rules need to apply. If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, don’t do it virtually just because you have screen muscles and you’re hiding behind a glass screen.
- Not all screen time is equal. Think about your unique family and their gifts and how technology can play a role to support that. Encourage time spent creatively and differentiate between the mindless scrolling and the creating. Being able to FaceTime family that you live far away from or email when you’re not close by, those are beautiful uses of technology and they usually don’t get abused. But the unfortunate thing is, when you’re doing that there are other notifications popping up trying to pull you down other rabbit holes. So remind them that not all screen time is equal, and that there are good uses for it and that you want to lean more into those.
I hope this episode helps you have some of these upfront conversations as a family about technology. It will ensure your choices are made intentionally, everyone’s on the same page and people can be held accountable when they stray (because they will.)
We would love it if you would subscribe and leave us a review! And come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke and if there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show or an idea you have for us, just reach out and share that.
We do this for you so the more you tell us the more we can serve!
RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE: