Screen time contracts boost executive functions and keep the peace.
One of the most common frustrations among families, particularly those with ADHD kids, is coming up with a screen time contract for electronics usage.
It’s very important that, whether you write you own or use someone else’s, you adapt it to your family.
For example, I worked with two parents that wanted all technology turned off by 10pm. The problem was that the father actually needed to work after 10pm. He had unusual hours because of his overseas clientele.
We looked at what “10pm” signified for them. It turned out that it wasn’t about the technology, it was about marking the end of the day in a conscious way. It was about acknowledging the transition from day to night.
We came up with an alternative rule – everyone needs to be in their rooms by 10pm on school nights (Sunday – Thursday)
Another family I worked with agreed to have an hour after dinner, Sunday – Thursday, that was a no-tech time for everyone. Their dining room and living room were attached so they would sit at the table or on a sofa or chair and read or knit or write. The father felt that having quiet time together as a family would help his family’s energy, uplift them all. The mother and kids agreed! How amazing would silence be?!
This also allowed the kids to see that having tech turned on all the time is not as dire as it would seem.
This example came from a family I worked with that already had their plan in place and felt it was effective. It’s for a 13-year old boy and a 15 year old girl.
1. Although you bought you phone, I pay for it every month.
2. I will always know the password to all of your electronic accounts (social media, phone etc)
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad.” Not ever!
I love that one!
4. Hand the phone to mom or day promptly at 7:30PM every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 6:00AM. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation face to face with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill.
That one may not work for every family.
6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, or stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.
7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay out of the crossfire.
8. Don’t text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person!!!!!!!
9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself!!!!!!!
10. No pornography or inappropriate search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask me.
11. Turn it off, silence it, and put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow your cell phone to change that. Your cell phone is an accessory not the main event.
12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.
13. 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).
14. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.
Which are your favorite rules here?
Please share your thoughts below in the comments section. I love hearing from you!
Copyright 2016 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane. All Rights Reserved.
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