“Managing kids’ technology use was once much easier for parents. They switched off the television when a show was over or kept an eye on kids as they used the family computer in the living room,”
– Alexis Hiniker, author of “Not at the Dinner Table”.
Alexis is right, managing tech expectations used to be a lot easier. But with the rise of smartphones and tablets, it seems like every child in my kid’s school has them. The pressure, as a parent, to conform to letting my kids have free tech rein is overwhelming at times.
But Alexis’s study, conducted with fellow authors, Sarita Y. Schoenebeck and Julie A. Kientz, gave us food for thought (pardon the pun). ‘Not at the Dinner Table: Parents’ and Children’s Perspectives on Family Technology Rules’ is the first study of its kind. Unlike many before it, Alexis study focusses on kid’s expectations for parents’ technology use, not vice versa.
The research gave us an idea. We wanted to create a fun quiz that would identify what type of tech mom (or dad!) you are while providing helpful actions you can put in place at home.
So, take the quiz and find out!
RELATED: Want to set screen time rules that stick? Download our Ultimate Guide: How to Prepare Your Kids for a Screen Routine…that Works for YOUR Family!
#1 Do you often find yourself multitasking with work emails on your phone, trying to get your kids to do their homework and making dinner all at the same time?
a) All the time! My life is organised on my phone — I couldn’t be without it.
b) I try to put my phone down around family, but sometimes things pop up & I have to reply.
c) Not that often. My phone or tablet is there when I need it, but I spend more time off them.
d) Not at all. My kids have my full attention at all times.
#2 How old was your child when you gave them their first tablet, smartphone or laptop?
a) Before they were 6-years-old.
b) Not until they were a teenager, and even then it’s limited use.
c) When the rest of their friends started getting them.
d) My kids still don’t have a tablet, smartphone or laptop.
#3 How many hours a day do you spend on screens?
a) 8+ hours because I work with devices every day.
b) 6+ hours.
c) 4+ hours.
d) 2 hours or less a day.
#4 Which rules do you have in place for your child’s technology use?
a) We use a screen time management app to regulate their screen time.
b) No phones at the dinner table, no tablets in the bedroom…that kind of thing.
c) I didn’t know we needed rules?
d) They can only use their devices for studying and to keep in contact with me.
#5 Do you follow the tech rules you put in place for your kids, like no phones at dinnertime?
a) No. Their brains are much more influenced by technology than mine.
b) I try and practice what I preach whenever I can.
c) My kids are much more tech-savvy than I am. I wouldn’t know where to start!
d) Of course.
#6 How often do you post on your social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter?
a) Pretty often, at least 3 times a week.
b) Maybe once a week. I mainly use it to check up on what my kids are doing online.
c) Hardly ever.
d) I don’t have any social media accounts.
Answered mainly A’s? You’re a tech-savvy parent.
You know that the world is heavily reliant on technology and you’ve embraced it. But, according to the study, twice as many kids as parents were concerned about family members oversharing personal information about them on social media without their permission. Many kids found the content embarrassing and felt frustrated when their parents shared it.
Given that you and your kids seem to be on a similar wavelength when it comes to technology, it may be worth having a sit-down discussion with them. Together you can establish what tech rules they would like everyone in the family to follow.
You might be more concerned about e-privacy, but the study showed kids found it easier to follow household tech rules when they were decided together as a family, and when parents followed them too. If you want a little help with the tech talk, here are a few things to know.
Answered mainly B’s? You’re a pro-TECH-tive parent.
You like technology but you recognise the dangers it can pose to your kids. In the study, families reported that blocking certain screen time activities entirely (e.g. social media) was easier to enforce than rules that restricted access to these activities at certain times.
We were surprised too! You’d have thought kids would have been happier with less rigorous rules! But the report shows that most kids still crave clear structure — even when technology is involved. Perhaps it’s time to start looking at a screen time solution that can help you introduce a more consistent structure to your kid’s screen time routine.
Answered mainly C’s? You are a tech-shy parent.
So, you’re not the biggest tech addict in the house. That’s not a bad thing! But you need to be aware that technology can have a massive impact on your child and their behaviour. From the report, there were almost 500 different tech rules reported by families. To give you a good idea of where to start, the majority of the rules fell into one of the following categories:
- No technology at certain times or until tasks are completed (like homework and chores).
- Fixed screen time limits.
- Cost restrictions (apps that charge kids when they are playing the game to level up).
- Expectations to balance technology with other activities, such as outdoor play.
- Banning specific sites and introducing online etiquette (no bullying, over-sharing etc.).
- Parent audits that give you the ability to check your child’s phone / social media…etc.
If you would like some help setting up some screen time rules in your house, download our ‘how to prepare for screen time success guide’ to get you started.
Answered mainly D’s? You’re a no-tech parent.
There is nothing wrong with setting strict rules around technology. With tech giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs introducing strict rules for their family, you’re following suit.
In fact, the study showed that the most common expectation kids cited revolved around their parents “being present” in certain situations. For example, when they were talking to a family member. So, if your screen time rules help you to be present with your kids — that’s great.
Of course, kids still love to test us! If you feel that your child might be looking for ways to skirt around your screen time rules, take a look at how to stop your child from private browsing and hiding their online activities from you.
What kind of tech mom are you? Let us know in the comments below.
P.S. Want to introduce kids and screen time without drama? Get our FREE Guide: How to Prepare Your Kids for a Screen Routine…that Works for YOUR Family!