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Building a device agreement with your family

Often we are asked for advice on how to help families with device management and there is not one answer that fits every family. Which is why we recommend building a device agreement that fits your family.  It can be as simple as no devices after 9pm or it can have more rules set for different times of the day, different rooms, etc. The most important thing about creating the device agreement is that everyone in the family should follow it. As parents, it maybe difficult to put your phone down during dinner time because you might miss a message. But please remember that your children are watching you and we need to be models of having a healthy digital lifestyle.  Children will learn their behaviors from us and we need to model how to manage our devices. It is never too late to make changes and this is the same for your children, they can still unlearn behaviors, it just takes consistency. 

Here are some tips from the Common Sense Media website:

Let's go through the checklist together and put a check mark next to the statements that are true for our family. Then we can decide whether we want to adjust how we use devices around bedtime.

In Balance with Bedtime checklist:

  • We try to get a full night's sleep (around eight hours) even when we have lots of text, email, youtube, game or social media notifications.
  • We use an app or device settings to avoid blue light if we're using a device right before bedtime.
  • We stop using devices about an hour before bedtime.
  • We keep devices out of the bedroom and/or shut them off at bedtime.
  • We use device settings or parental controls to shut off devices at bedtime.

Were you able to put a check mark by any of the statements? Talk about the results together: 
Do you think your media habits are in balance around sleep? Decide whether you want to make changes as a family since you're all on the same team—and you all need sleep! 

This checklist and starter conversation will help you work towards building a device agreement as a family. 

We have provided a PDF to help guide you through the process of creating an agreement as a family. It is tailored to elementary students and up. Please find it here.

Device Contract Discussion

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