The 3 Steps of Navigating Family Tech Use

M, using iPad (by Henry); Creative Commons, Flickr

Is your family navigating tech correctly? Copilot Family has established a three-part holistic process that can be incorporated into every family tech-use situation.

Insight, Knowledge, Action; Copilot Family

If you pick apart many FAMILY TECH-USE FAILS, it is often because one or more of the INSIGHT—KNOWLEDGE—ACTION steps is missing.

To illustrate how the process works, let’s look at two common family approaches that often fall flat:

Trying to learn all of the latest apps and trends.

While this is a well-meaning and diligent approach, it can quickly lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed. “I just learned about X, and now you’re telling me kids are into Y!” There are too many apps, and trying to be well-versed on all of them becomes a giant game of Wac-A-Mole.

Playing Wac-A-Mole might be fun when you step into a throwback arcade, but you don’t want it to be your life. Trying to gain KNOWLEDGE before you have INSIGHT into what you need to learn is putting the cart in front of the horse. The cart is in shambles, and so are you.

Relying solely on conversations with your child to gain insight into their tech use.

An open dialogue about family tech use is key! Unfortunately, studies have indicated that parents are often kept in the dark about important tech behavior if they are relying solely on the conversations they have with their child.

A 2012 study by McAfee found that 70% of teenagers hide their online behavior from their parents.

Instead, it is recommended that parents navigate their family tech use by gaining objective INSIGHT into their child’s online behavior AND having the “tech talk” with them. While this type of oversight may seem new, it is exactly how we go about K-12 education.

Parents get the subjective information from their child (“How are you doing in class?”) while also relying on objective information from the school (“You have a B in Math?”). Gaining insight into your child’s online behavior is similar to a report card.

As the saying goes: garbage in, garbage out. You would be basing your ACTION decisions without first having accurate INSIGHT.

Let’s see how this would work:

The INSIGHT—KNOWLEDGE—ACTION approach is a circular process that can constantly be adjusted. For example, let’s imagine that a parent noticed that their child was using Instagram for two hours each day. After having this INSIGHT, they gain KNOWLEDGE through curated content about Instagram and overall tech use. They then determine that they are fine with their child using Instagram, but do not want them using it at school or after their bedtime, and would like to lower their overall use.

Copilot Family’s tool provides the ACTION step, allowing their tech use to be unique to time and location. As a follow-up to the ACTION, a parent can see how often their child is using Instagram. They may also decide to change the settings since the child is now older, and their bedtime has changed.

Here’s the problem: We often seem to be using a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel (i.e. banning a smartphone instead of making it context-based), and making decisions without first having proper insight.

Navigating family tech-use shouldn't be overwhelming! By taking an approach that incorporates INSIGHT—KNOWLEDGE—ACTION, a family can make a well-informed and action-oriented decision about their family’s tech-use.

*Main photo courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons. “M, using iPad.” By Henry.