Sure, it might be important in what I am working on or looking at but there is nothing more important than my gang.
Technology can take over your life and make you believe that it belongs wherever it is. My email list is always growing and never seems to go down. Text messages, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can truly take over your entire life including displaying things that I am just not ready for the girls to be exposed to.
It is wonderful and amazing part of life (especially since I can remember how life was before it all came about). It amazes me that I can stay in contact with my friends from all over the world but still lose myself in it when my family is in the same room with me.
It is difficult to be with my girls whether it be in the same room, same house, or even the car and they are in the own little world--their own little "cyber world". Human conversation seems to be getting put on the back burner of everyone's world more and more everyday.
Just as I was worrying about how the girls were interacting with Jason and I, each other, and others around them, I was reading one of the regular blogs (here) when she stated that she and her husband had developed a technology contract for their five children. She had gotten the idea from another mother who issued a phone contract to her son when he got a phone for Christmas (it was all over the TV, I am sure you have heard). So I read her contract to her children and made a few adjustments to accommodate our family. Jason and I each read over and handed to the older girls just last night and let them ask us questions. Now a side note is....my girls don't have phones yet we have simply noticed that they are engrossed in their ipods, and other technology so we thought it best to make this contract for our family before it even begin to mix in phones.
Below is that contract, it is rather long but I believe as we all get used to it, it will serve our family well.
You are proud owners of technology we never dreamed of having when we were your age! You are good and responsible and we WANT you to have these things.
But as with many things in your life, as your parents, we feel the need to present some rules and regulations because we adore you. We have been around a little longer than you have. We have seen the marvels of all this great technology and we are so grateful for it! But we have also noticed a gradual decline of old fashioned communication that we feel is so very important for your spirit and your general development. So we’d like to introduce you to some rules and regulations we are establishing in our home.
Please read through the following contract. We hope that you understand it is our job to raise you into well-rounded, healthy young individuals that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. You may be mad at us for a while about some of these things. You have enjoyed some great technological freedom which you have not abused and we are proud of for that, But we feel the need to train you (as we train ourselves) to not let technology take over in our family and in our lives.
Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your technology freedom.
We love you with all our hearts and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in years to come.
- Any device (iPod, itouch, DS, computer) in our home is a family device. We, your parents, have bought these things. We pay for them. We are loaning them to you with the understanding that you will act responsibly.
- If you choose to put a password on your devices, we will always know the password
- Do not ever ignore a text if the screen reads “mom” or “dad”. Not ever (even when you have actual phones)
- Hand your devices to one of your parents promptly at either your bedtime or 9:00pm (whichever comes first) every school night and every weekend night by 10:30pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again before you leave for school. If you would not make a call to someone’s landline after a certain time then you do not text either. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
- Although it is ok to take the device to school with you, realize that is mostly so that we can get a hold of you if we need you. Pay attention to your teachers. Work on assignments. Fill your brains with knowledge. At school, it must be turned off at lunch. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It is a life skill.
- If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Stash some birthday cash, help family members with extra jobs, etc. It will happen you should be prepared.
- Do not text, email, or say anything through the devices you would not say in person out loud, with your friends’ parents in the room. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Censor yourself.
- At this point in the game, we reserve the right to be the only ones to give you license to any new apps, Please let us know if you want something new and why. We love to discuss these things with you, and we mostly trust your judgment.
- If you have access to the web, search it only for information you would openly share with us. If you have a question about anything, ask a person—preferably us…we know more than you think we do.
- Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking to another human being, you are not a rude person; do not allow your device to change that.
- Do not take inappropriate pictures of yourself or others. Remember first and foremost that in our family we seek after goodness and want to shine our light to others. Remember also that cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. Be careful what you put there. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear—including a bad reputation or hurt feelings.
- Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO—fear of missing out.
- In addition to the music you love, download music that is new or classic or different from what your peers listen to. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift, Expand your horizons.
- Play a game with words or puzzles or brainteasers every now and then
- Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to someone new. Wonder without googling.
- After school you are mine for at least fifteen minutes. Tell me three things about your day before thinking about looking at a screen.
- Most importantly, remember your spirit is the most important thing you have. Don’t let this privilege cramp your wonderful spirit. Don’t ever let technology seep into your relationship with your Heavenly Father. The noise of technology is quick to make us all think looking at a screen is more important than talking, especially to our Heavenly Father. Make it a practice to pray and ask God to be with you before you check your instagram or texts in the morning.
- You will mess up. We will take your devices away. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. We are always learning. We are on your team. We are in this together
It is our hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to devices, but to life in general. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.
We love you forever
Love, Mom and Dad
We were presented with many questions and many but moms after reading it but the communication between us all was great. The goal is to have all of us sign this contract and stick with it as a way of improving our family. My parents and Jason's parents had plenty of issues to deal with when we were growing up but our generation was handed another whole set of issues when technology was thrown into the mix and it is our goal for my girls to remember that there is nothing better than being a human to someone and not letting the technology that's at their fingertips to change them.