Framing Conversations About Tech Use to Avoid Conflict

Conversations about tech use fuel family conflict. Carefully framing conversations is critical to supporting open, honest and productive conversations with your children as they grow.

Tips to frame conversations about tech use

Tip 1: Be curious.

Show your child that you are genuinely interested in how they spend their time online and how those activities make them feel; continue to do so across your child’s developmental stages. Play games, watch videos, and engage online with your child to deepen your understanding of their interest and desire to be online. Educator Shafia Zaloom suggests parents try to understand what it is that your child thinks is helpful or engaging about technology in a non-judgmental way.

Tip 2: Emphasize that the digital space is an extension of your personal space.

Shafia Zaloom suggests reminding your child or teen that most of us probably wouldn’t open our bedroom window to a stranger. Ask your child to consider how they share their time online with others and who they choose to engage with on the screen.

Tip 3: Try to be in favor of preferred activities instead of against others.

Parents might talk about the importance of sleep, authentic connection with others, positive body image among other priorities, and articulate how tech may or may not get in the way of those. Educator Shafia Zaloom notes this approach may be more successful than focusing only on the activities your family is against like excessive gaming, scrolling through social media, or other online activities.

Tip 4: Lead conversations about tech use with non-judgmental questions.

Shift conversations away from starting with “why” questions to using phrases such as “how,” “what,” “where,” and “I notice.” Some examples include “where are there other places in your life that you can connect with friends/family offline?” or “how do you feel after playing video games/posting selfies?”

Resources

https://www.shafiazaloom.com/
https://digitalwellnesslab.org/wp-content/uploads/Family-Digital-Wellness-Guide-2021.pdf

https://screentimenetwork.org/resource/dear-parents-digital-well-being-resource-teens-parents

As California mother’s, we are bringing these toolkits to you through a cross-collaborative campaign. San Francisco Bay Area Moms is proud to be working with Ventura County Mom Collective and Inland Empire Mom Collective. We too, want to “ensure our state’s media and technology industries are a force for good in child development” (part of California Partners Project Mission Statement). #TechTips4CaliMoms

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Cascia was born and raised in the Arizona heat. While receiving her Pre-Med degree at HIU in California, a blonde, surfing, skateboarding boy stole her heart. In 2004, she married Chuck and had many adventures living in Arizona, California and Colorado. They now call Simi Valley home and have three wild and curious children - Becker (10), Bodie (7) and Lyla (6). She has been blessed to be a teacher, summer camp staff/program director, SAHM and now the owner of Ventura County Mom Collective. Playing guitar, writing songs, and reading any and every parenting book helps keep her sane and happy! A good cup of coffee or a bubbly La Croix can usually be found in her hand! She tries to live by the motto "I'd rather recover from failure than live with regret.

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