Finding a healthy balance with technology with a family doesn’t have to be difficult when you use these simple tips from the Digital Wellbeing Family Guide.
This post was sponsored by Google in partnership with the Forward Influence Network. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
How to Balance Technology in Your Home
No matter where we go, it seems like we are surrounded by screens: at home, in the car, and in our pockets. I am not one to say that technology is bad, because I feel like technology is much needed, but I think finding a balance between the digital world and the real world is much needed.
Recently I discovered wellbeing.google and their family guide, as well as their self-reflection tool to help us analyze our relationship with technology and the results, were so interesting!
Based on what my family learned we have come up with 5 tips to help us balance technology to have a healthy balance in your home.
Finding a Balance
I totally get that technology allows family members to have a few moments of “zoning out time” I mean we all need that!
So it is important to teach your family to have balance and not always have a need to use technology.
So how do you find balance with technology? We do this by having technology-free time in the car and at the dinner table as well as letting our phones go to bed at 8:30 pm to get the rest that they need.
We also encourage our kids to be active in the community, in church, and busy with sports. This allows them to disconnect from their online world and reconnect with those around them. Finding balance is essential when establishing healthy technology limits.
Limiting Online gaming
I for one am never going to say gaming for teenagers is a bad thing. My kids play games online as well as with one another. I think it is a great way for teens to connect with their peers they go to school with if they can’t get together in person.
Many moms (and some dads) worry about their kids playing games online and worry about the amount of time their kids spend playing games online.
When you establish healthy limits with technology this can help solve this concern.
So we have established that 1. Chores need to be done first, 2. Rooms need to be cleaned, 3. Homework is done, 4. Chat online with people we know only.
I usually explain to my kids that I don’t think that playing video games is a bad thing, heck most of the games my boys play are sports-related anyways and help them learn strategy, be a leader, and even teaching them how to work as a team when playing with others online.
But with that being said, It is important that they know that all things need to be used in moderation so it is important that they can disconnect and be able to communicate and have fun with their family members not just through gaming and technology.
It’s important to establish technology rules. This is something that will be a little different for your family.
I know some families that have technology-free Sundays, others have no phones in bedrooms, etc. The rules you can establish as a family can help with your family connect and be more present with one another.
A rule that we have (which I love) is a no-phone policy in the car. Sure, we have our phones, but while we drive they are all put away. This allows us to laugh, talk about our days, or play games together as we drive and just be present in the moment with one another.
Our little kids sometimes get carried away watching YouTube… Thank goodness for YouTube Kids which makes it safer and simpler for watching YouTube. It also allows me the option to set a Timer on their YouTube watching.
Establish phone bedtimes
In our home, our phones go to bed every night at 8:30 pm. This allows us to have an hour of uninterrupted time with the kids and hang out and have fun. Sometimes we play a game, other times we have a snack, and sometimes we just sit around and talk with each other. Having a phone bedtime has allowed us all to be more present around one another.
Of course, sometimes the kids like to try and sneak a little more time, but thanks to the Family Link App it allows their phones to go to sleep at a certain time that I set for them as well as screen time limits.
Be the example
As a mom, it is so easy to pop on our phones and check our email, or Instagram, or play a game on an app that we just downloaded.
Sometimes being on our phone is necessary for work and other things, but we should try our best to establish healthy limits on our own phone habits.
One way to do this is to disconnect and be in the moment with our kids. When our kids are talking, look at them rather than our screen. After school, try not to pick up your phone for the first hour they are home. This allows you time to focus on your kids, let them know they are important and connect with them each day.
If you get distracted with your email constantly dinging, then set your Gmail out office reply to help you stay in the moment with your kids.
Google has made it easy for us parents to help establish healthy technology boundaries for our family with their free Digital Wellbeing Family Guide! They offer more super helpful tips for families to help establish a healthy technology balance with being online.
Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!