One thing that I have noticed when I have conversations with parents about the use of technology in their homes is there is usually not a written plan. Even in instances where technology use and planning has been discussed in the home, it usually consists of parents directing their children on what not to do. I believe much of our direction for technology with our children should be about what they can do with it.
Developing a written plan can offer the following benefits:
- Accomplishing Goals – If you actually write down some of the technology goals you have, you can actually reach them. If you’re not writing an technology goals, you probably haven’t set any. A technology goal could be as simple as “learn to use Twitter” or it could be something more difficult like “learn to program in PHP”. The key is to set the goals and then move toward reaching them.
- Saving Money – When you create a technology plan, you can assess what you have, what you need, and what you want to have. In many cases, the average person underestimates how many technology devices and gadgets they have in their home or at their disposal to use. When you make a plan, you can save money by planning for replacements and maintenance
- Avoiding Arguments – One of the lessons my wife and I were taught in marriage counseling was to set clear expectations and communicate about them from the beginning. This can also apply to using technology. If you let technology use be self-governed by each member of your family, it can cause arguments or disagreements because the rules have not been set. By establishing who can use it, and when, where, and why they can use technology, everyone can be on the same page
- Learning – As technology is embraced and used responsibly, it can be a great means of learning about more technology and nearly any subject you can imagine. Technology has allowed people in different geographic locations to communicate and to experience activities at the same time. This is a great way to facilitate learning.
- Protecting Family Members – The most popular aspect of technology that I’m asked about is internet safety. Though much of the solutions involve installing filters and virus protection, much of it involves controlling the environment as well. If you include guidelines for use in your plan, you can protect yourself and your children from being exposed to MOST inappropriate content.
- Discovering Resources – When using technology as an educational resource, you are very easily capable of discovering other resources that may be useful to you. The connectedness of the web allows you to locate books, recordings, videos, websites, organizations, and other resources any time.
- Meeting People- If we choose to be, we can connect with people nearly anywhere in the world with technology. This can provide us with valuable experiences and allow us to create experiences for the people we meet. It’s very possible to meet people with similar interests in your city or town, but you can also connect with people in different states, or even different countries.
Take some time to think about the current role of technology at your home. Once you’ve taken that step, reflect on the role you want it to have. Develop a plan and then take action!
Devin Dabney is a technology consultant and the author of Creating a Household Technology Plan. In this book, he guides families step by step to develop a technology plan that can govern technology use in their homes.