Summer season. More free time. Probably more nature, beach, mountain, town, tourism. More family hours. With all these “mases”, on vacation we tend to disconnect from technology. Leave the mobile at home, temporarily abandon the selfies and pass the WiFi; or just the opposite, we resort more to the screens To entertain ourselves, we count each plan on social networks, we look for maps with 3G while we stroll, we consult the weather or currency exchange in a search engine, etc.
Instead of questioning ourselves every moment if we are abusing technology, if we are too dependent or if we are so analog that we are falling behind, we can take advantage of the summer to reflect on what kind of family we have (and want), digitally talking.
one use healthy technology It starts at home, with family life, with the relationship that adults have with screens and the education that children receive in terms of digital habits. Maybe we are very technological, maybe not. Instead of remaining in prejudice, you can do a list of what a technologically healthy family should have (to your knowledge) and then compare it with the current digital health of your home. Thus, it will be easier to modify guidelines and start a new course with a more positive family connection.
In short, it is about being citizens of a world that is already digital. You have to know the risks, respect the limits and know that technology plays a fundamental and fantastic role, being able to handle it to a certain extent without being subjugated by it. We propose a list with 5 traits of families healthy technologically .
1. Awareness and knowledge: families who know
Digital is here to stay. Social networks and applications are not going to disappear (even if they change their name). So that andIt is essential that family members are up to date on the world of screens.
It is not about being “hooked”, but about learning a little every day about what it means to live in times of the Internet. Among so much information about the dangers of the Internet, there is little space left to talk about digital literacy. Instead of fearing technology, become a “practitioner”, get to know the environment and look for the most positive way possible to use it (individually and as a family).
- Get up to speed on how to create and save good passwords, what malware is and how to protect your devicesabout how to navigate safely, about games, apps andfashion networks, about privacy settings, etc.
- Look for information about knowing how to search, knowing what to believe, knowing how to express oneself online, knowing how to choose and even create content, knowing how far to share and comment, etc.
- Update computer, mobile and tablet operating systems from time to time; change passwords and delete apps or documents you don’t use. Protect your router and take care of your digital imagejust as you protect your car and your house and take care of your physical appearance or your diet.
- Find out how to identify or report situations in which harassment or attacks occur, as well as violent or inappropriate content. Similarly, look for information on appropriate behavior online, to encourage it at home.
2. Communication: Families Talking
Talking as a family has never been so important, precisely as a counterpart to the growing technological life of each member separately. It is important encourage dialogue, standardized, on the use we give to devices and the Internet. Talk about the best and the worst of the network, about what it is like to live, grow, learn or work in a world that is increasingly more connected and in which the easiest thing is to give an opinion.
- talk about what do you like to each one and why, comment doubts and share interests.
- Share with your children situations you experience in relation to technology: bad and good.
- Take advantage of current news or content that you know to open channels of dialogue on topics such as cybersecurity, respect, reflection, privacy, personal data, etc.
- If someone in the family commits a social media bugdo not over react, try to talk about it calmly to convey the idea that there are always ways to overcome obstacles.
3. Balance: families that live ON and OFF
21st century life can no longer be just face to face. We necessarily have to assume that communication, consumption, entertainment, work, relationships, information, etc., are now also produced through screens.
As in everything, balance is essential. Not everything or nothing. Families that pursue this “a little bit of everything” in a conscious and consistent way will have an easier time when it comes to prevent digital abuse.
- Creates family rules (a poster, a contract, a post it, etc.) that establish times, places and content. We are all clear that mobile phones “do not eat” at the table or that it is better that the devices do not “sleep” with us, but it is also important to prevent children from having digital autonomy in their rooms when they are small or from seeing anything without your knowledge.
- plan from time to time a day without technology. Life is wonderful with screens, but also without them. And plan a day where you all do something tech together (watch streaming series, search for YouTube videos, make a family video and edit it, even create an Instagram account to share creative photos of Lego figures, etc).
- None of this is useful if it is just a speech. Adults have to lead by example. And although children take what they want and do not imitate everything, the better and healthier the parents’ relationship with digital, the better and healthier their children’s will be. Let’s remember: better and healthier is neither non existent nor constant, but in between.
- Identify the family positive uses of screens. Not everything that is done with the devices or with the Internet is harmful. Spending 3 hours in front of a television watching videos or playing games is not the same as spending 3 hours editing a family movie or programming a private blog with stories from the last trip.
4. Passion and positivity: talented families teaming up
Just as we enjoy together the things we like beyond technology (skiing, biking, going to museums, playing Monopoly, eating at our favorite restaurant, etc.), we have to encourage the family to live the digital in a united way. That children perceive that we are interested in their world happens because we are interested in their digital hobbies. Taking advantage of our hobbies and talents, we can function as a team.
- Take advantage of the good that the digital world brings and don’t go online just to remain isolated. Use technology to communicate, inform yourself, learn, play, share and experiment, and then talk about it as a family.
- Take advantage of digital, which attracts children so much, to get closer to them and inspire them in values and creative use. The Internet is full of ideas for crafts and all kinds of projects, to organize trips and homework, to compose music or learn dance. It involves all family members in family life, also through technology.
- If you are on social networks or use the Internet at work, take advantage of what you see or read to start conversations at home and transmit the passion for learning and adapt to changes.
- Almost everything we like has an online version. Let us seek to expand our family life by including in the equation what we like most about connected life.
5. Values: families… that are a family
With or without WiFi or 4G, what families pass on are roots. Values. The usual ones. So it is very important to instill respect, patience, reflection, compassion, generosity, coherence. What we are in the real world is what we are in the virtual. And it is key to transfer these traditional values to digital life, standardizing technology and incorporating it into the rest of family life and the education we give our children. First of all, let us not aspire to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and learns from mistakes.
- Let’s seek to be flexible and understand that, if one day there is a lot of screen, the next day there should be less, that sometimes you need to be connected, that the limits must be clear but the criteria for applying them can be flexible.
- Although acts always have consequences, the family must encourage responsibility and the ability to adaptation. Each member of the family is different in character, hobbies, environment… and it is important to adjust our expectations to these differences.
- There is no single way to live it is better to respect than to always be criticizing. Let’s assume how we are and find a way for our family (and not the others) to live healthy with the digital world. The easiest thing is to see the negative examples, but there are also projects, ideas and people who, at the touch of a button, can teach us important lessons about respect and coexistence.
- If the parents show up receptive to dialogue about technology Since children are young, communication can be maintained somewhat more easily as time goes on. The fundamental value that a family gives to its members is that of belonging and availability.
How is your family? Very technological? Enemy of the digital? Do you only use the Internet for work or school? Are there many conflicts at home because of the screens? Try to think about how you would like you to be technologically talking and identify what needs to be changed to improve it.
Among all, it is possible make the internet a better place and that technology be an ally instead of a source of problems. The key is to start at the beginning so that our relationship with the digital world is positive, responsible, safe. And the principle is, almost always, at home. In family.