Carving out Tech-Free Time
Working on the Tiverton campus, I frequently speak to families in conflict about what is fair and unfair when it comes to technology use. Teenagers always want more time and freedoms online and parents become increasingly frustrated when the boundaries they have put in place are broken. It is not the constant arguments that parents can’t seem to deal with (you’re all used to it!); it’s what technology takes away from parents that matters most. Parents miss not having quality time and conversations with their children. Technology has made teenagers unavailable, as they’re too busy hanging out with friends on video games or constantly chatting on social media.
These days technology can lead parents to become irritated and resentful. It interrupts conversation flow and worse still, it has the potential to make parents and adolescents more distant. It’s often only when technology is removed (at fairly agreed times) that parents can try to break through that teenage angst and have a decent chat. In this article, Melinda Gates recommends having designated times to unplug and suggests agreeing to a family media plan. Even if you don’t make the plan, it might make for a good discussion around fairness and compromise of technology use in your house.
If you do have a chance to chat with your son about his technology use, then make sure you can model similar behaviours. With workplaces becoming increasingly agile and flexible, the boundaries between work and personal life are becoming more fluid (i.e. more people are able to work from home and send emails after hours) but children and teenagers need their parents to be available too.
Ms Karina Dubroja
College Psychologist – Tiverton Campus