And speaking of how to write anything....how about a contract between yo and you kids, over their use of social media and cell phones? Yup, you KNOW you need one, so read on!
Tech enlightenment and empowerment for parents so they can create iRulescontracts for their own families
As Janell Burley Hofmann, mother of five, wrapped her 13-year-old's iPhone on Christmas Eve, she was overwhelmed by questions: "Will my children learn to sit and wonder without Googling? Should I know their passwords for online accounts? Will they experience the value of personal connection without technology?"
To address her concerns, she outlined boundaries and expectations in a contract for her son to sign upon receiving his first cell phone. When Hofmann's editor at The Huffington Post posted the contract, now known as iRules, it resonated on a massive scale and went viral, resulting in a tsunami of media coverage and requests. It quickly became apparent that people across the country were hungry for more.
In iRules, Hofmann provides families with the tools they need to find a balance between technology and human interaction through a philosophy she calls Slow Tech Parenting. In the book, she educates parents about the online culture tweens and teens enter the minute they go online, exploring issues like cyberbullying, friend fail, and sexting, as well as helping parents create their own iRules contracts to fit their families' needs. As funny and readable as it is prescriptive, iRules will help parents figure out when to unplug and how to stay in sync with the changing world of technology, while teaching their children self-respect, integrity, and responsibility.
This may not have been a topic you really thought of before, but I have to tell you, after reading this book, I was struck by how I had NOT thought about it, and how extremely needed it should be for EVERY family! Certain things really jumped out-:
1. selfies should be above the neck and nothing lower
2. once it is out there you no longer own it, you may respect your privacy, other's won't
3. I pay for your cell phone, you are leasing it with your behavior, there fore I have the right to take it at any time your behavior warrants it
Talk about taking back control! Too many kids nowadays seem to think it is their RIGHT to have a $500 cell phone. When we were kids, something like that had to be earned. So why shouldn't your kids have to earn the right to KEEP said phone? Unacceptable behavior (like sexting) means taking the phone away, and maybe giving them a phone that can only call, and has NO internet. Ans speaking of, younger kids do NOT need phones with social media. It's asking for trouble that you can not control. And control is really the key. You SHOULD have passwords to your child's email and social media accounts. YOU are the parent and need to make sure everything they post is not only decent, but NOT a major security risk to themselves and your family. Teens may think they know everything, but predators know how to work them, and parents can pick up the clues so much better!
Once you read this book and the contract (you might be interested in reading the iPhone contract between Janell and her son that started this all- it's a great example to use for starting your own contract), you realize you DO need to sit down with YOUR kids and spell out a similar contract. Once your kids know what is expected BEFORE they are off and running with media and media devices, you can expect a better standard of behavior. Already using, it's time to take control back and make your kids help responsible for what they do. I urge you to pick up this book, work out your family's contract and have it ready to go before school starts in the Fall! Add this book to your reference shelf, and be sure to share it with your friends and family!
Check out an interview with the author:
About the Author:
Janell Burley Hoffmann, author of iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up, is a parent coach who writes about parenting and technology for The Huffington Post; has a weekly spot on "American Public Media Marketplace," NPR, as tech etiquette consultant; and has been covered by major national media, including Good Morning America. She lives in Sandwich, Massachusetts. For more information please visit the author's website, and follow the author of Facebook and Twitter