Summer Screens and Sun Screens: Tech Reflect, Part 1 | Janell Burley Hoffmann | 1 Min Read

Sometimes families feel pressure and concern about tech use as the summer months approach.  The dream we have of lazy, slow days morph into a reality of tension and struggle over free time and screen time. This first article in a three-part series on summer screens is designed to get us thinking about summer, family, and tech ahead of school break. A change of season is a great opportunity to pause, reflect and plan. We don’t need to have all of the answers today, but consider ways we can be proactive instead of reactive this summer.

Find a little space in your life to sit down by yourself or talk to a partner or your childcare provider—even with your child—using these prompts as a focus. Don’t worry about an outcome, instead just see what happens! Wishing you the best as we begin this journey together and look ahead to summer prepared to love our screens and our boundaries. 

 Part 1 — Prompts to consider for your Summer iRules:

  1. A Year in Review: Reflect back on the school year. What worked and what didn’t? What were the tech flash points between you and your children? What part of your family tech use went well and where do you need to improve?
  1. Name Your Stress: What worries you the most? What (device, app, social network, game, behavior, circumstance) is on your mind and why? Name it so we can tame it.
  1. Tech Tendencies: Consider each child and think about the support and boundaries they may need with summer just ahead. Differentiate their needs to set each child up for tech success.
  1. Make a Match: What does your summer schedule look like? Are you really booked or wide open? Making iRules that match your family’s schedule and summer activities is important. Considering your work schedule, family plans, vacation time, camps, and activities is important to a realistic approach for tech planning. 

Summer Goals: What do you want from summer break? How does tech fit into your family plan? Draw, list or write the perfect summer day. How does tech show up?

Remember, Part 1 is just to get us reflecting, thinking and planning. We don’t have to make any changes today—think of it as an exercise. Putting in this time is a critical component to building a tech healthy foundation.

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Janell Burley Hofmann

Janell Burley Hofmann is an international author, speaker and consultant specializing on the topics of technology, media, health, relationships and well-being. Janell is the creator of the original iPhone contract and a thought leader in the space of digital mindfulness, digital parenting and intentional use of tech. She is the author of the book, iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up published by Rodale, Inc. Janell is the founder of the Slow Tech Movement and iRules Academy. Janell has worked on four continents across diverse demographics, cultures, religions, and socioeconomics. Sensitive to the needs of each community, Janell works with schools, youth, families, educators, and organizations while offering private coaching and consulting sessions. Janell’s professional expertise and personal experience as a mother of five children builds strong connections with a wide and varied population. Janell engages readers, clients and audiences in relevant and meaningful conversations igniting personal empowerment, awareness and purpose in a partnership that will positively impact all. Janell’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies, a Master’s Degree in Critical and Creative Thinking and she is currently working towards her licensure in mental health counseling. Her featured talks include two-time TEDx presenter, SxSW, YPO Southeast Asia Summit, Peace Corp Workshop Leader, Homecoming Day Nagoya University, Nagoya Japan, YPO Middle East Tour, Women2Women International Summit and MIT Strata Center. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Good Morning America, USA Today, National Public Radio, BBC News and The Associated Press.