Summer Screens: iRules Reflect, Part 3 | Janell Burley Hofmann | 2 Min Read

June 22, 2022

Now that you’ve had a few weeks to workshop your Summer iRules from Part 1 & Part 2 of this series, it’s time to bring it all together! We’ve done some conceptual exercises and some practical exercises. We’ve engaged the stakeholders (other family members, caregivers, co-parents, our children, and teens). We’ve thought about boundaries and values and what we want from our screens. We’ve created a working draft. Now we work towards action and function. Remember, in digital parenting (or any part of parenting) we are not looking for perfection. We are looking to create a solid and dynamic agreement that can be modified and changed with our family’s needs. It’s a starting place and a touchpoint for raising a tech healthy family. 

Below are a series of questions and prompts to help finalize your iRules. 

  1. How does my iRules draft realistically fit into our lives? Does it feel idealized or does it feel possible? Improve any points for function over fantasy. We want this to be doable.
  2. Who might I need to make our iRules function? Who is on my support team for this process? The more support you have, the more successful the plan will be.
  3. How will the changes and boundaries happen? What’s our first action step? When will we get started? Don’t be afraid to begin. Go ahead and put your iRules in motion.
  4. Be confident in your ability to uphold the plan. Our children need and want their parents and caregivers to be the family leaders. They want to make you happy and proud (even teenagers!) and they value the safety and security boundaries you bring to family life.
  5. How will we evaluate success? When will we plan to revisit and revise this iRules agreement? It’s never too late to redesign. Remember those reflective parenting questions: “What’s Working and What Isn’t?” and “What Might We Need?”

I encourage you to write or print your iRules and have them displayed in a central location. Also, have a family meeting to review the “official” iRules and set a day to get started so everyone knows what to expect. When we are introducing new habits it’s important to stay with them. Nothing is an overnight success. Following iRules takes practice and consistency. Reward and celebrate the behavior you want to see more of—positive reinforcement works! So look for the good and work towards overcoming the challenges. And more than anything, be compassionate with yourself and give yourself credit for showing up for your family in this way.

You may be interested in other articles written by Janell Burley Hoffman for Intrepid Ed News.

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.

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