My Three Cs for Balancing Technology
Conversation, Charging station, Checkpoint
I just came back from G.I.R.L 2017, a one-of-a-kind gathering of girls and women from around the world organized by the Girl Scouts. By the way G.I.R.L. stands for Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader™ — brilliant!!
I went there to speak on empowering girls and families online and offline.
I was never a girl scout, so I took advantage and besides teaching and sharing from my experience I spent the time learning about this amazing organization. During this weekend I learned about their values and mission statement that includes the three Cs of the Girl Scouts — “…to build courage, confidence, and character…”. It comes across with cookies sale (my favorite is the S’MORES :)), but not just that. STEM and technology play a huge role in the Girl Scouts curriculum and that’s where I come in.
The Girl Scouts 3C’s are important in building leadership skills but when it’s healthy technology habits that we need to build, there are other 3C’s to consider, Tali’s 3C’s.
Tali’s 3C’s are based on interviews and conversation I had with parents and industry experts, researches, my lesson learned in Screen, and my life experience with my own three children.
Tali’s Cs are conversation, charging station, and check point.
1st C, Conversation
One thing I’ve learned from being a mom is that conversation with our kids is the key to healthy relationship, and technology use is no different.
When you hand a child a device, I urge you to start with a conversation. Understand from your child what is it that they need their device for. Is it listening to music, communicating with friends, playing games, social media…? Explain to them your concerns and expectations, and together define some ground rules for using it.
The ground rules will derive from the needs and expectations you discussed. They should be clear, simple, and relevant to their age.
Basic rules that I recommend any family to start with are:
- No devices at the dinner table. Some of the problems with keeping your phone on the dinner table are listed here.
- No devices while it’s time for bed and in the bedroom. Here are some tips to avoid using our devices at night.
Your conversation may lead to other rules. I highly recommend adding the above two to the mix.
2nd C, Charging station
In my house, we have a place for all devices. A common and public location where we all put our devices when we get home. You can call it a home for our devices at home, a simple charging station. It’s located in a public area where we all can see and access it. When we get home, we put our devices there to charge. But besides charging, it’s making it easy for my family to follow the technology rules of no devices in bed or during dinner. Plus, when we are heading out the door to start the day, we know our devices are ready and charged!
3rd C, Check point
The same way we check our kids progress at school, interested in their social life and their friends, technology check is no different. You as their parent need to have access to their phone for periodic checks — I call them spot checks or check points.
I don’t expect or want you be a helicopter parent but get involve. Check their phones every once in awhile, see what they are doing online. Know your kids online and offline friends, habits, and experiences. Make sure they know they can count on you, be there to listen. Steer them at the right direction when needed.
Extra tip — have your fingerprint on their devices so if they change passwords you can still access it.
3.1 C, My 3Cs Bonus
These are my 3Cs. Conversation, charging station, and check points. But parents, don’t just preach, PRACTICE! Practice what you expect from your kids, be a role model.
Put your phone away during family time, family time is not the time to check social media. Start a conversation or pick up a board game for the family to play together.
Invest in an alarm clock stop using your phone as one.
Last but not least, place your phone at the charging station, it helps with the temptation and gets your phone to charge.