Summer Screens: iRules Reflect, Part 2 | Janell Burley Hofmann | 1 Min Read

May 25, 2022

As we move through Part 1 of our Summer iRules agreements in principle, it’s time to start identifying some more specific rules you’d like to make regarding screen use. We’re now shifting from reflective practice to the development of rules, boundaries, and behaviors. Below are some steps to guide you through the practical components of building Summer iRules

  1. Your Mission: Develop a Family Values Statement. What guides your family? What components of character do you want to see both online and offline? Name them and they will be your guide as you build your own iRules family contract. 
  1. The Talk: Conversations around Safety Lessons and Digital Citizenship are foundational to a working set of iRules. Our kids may be tech-savvy, but they still need our wisdom and guidance. Talk about safe practices online and a code of conduct for behavior so they know the expectations in the same way you would for wearing a seatbelt or putting on a bike helmet. 
  1. Inventory: Where are they and what are they doing? List their accounts and the places they “go” online. Building boundaries for screen use works better when we know how the tech is being used and where our kids and teens are showing up online. 
  1. Boundaries: What do you want to protect? As you start to build your iRules, think of areas of your child’s life that you want to protect, preserve and encourage. Build your boundaries around those areas. Some examples may include sleep, in-person playdates, meal times, offline creativity, and imagination. 
  1. Identify: Now that you’ve gone through many prompts and practices to get here, list five iRules. Think of the big ones: sleep, meals, family time, play, peers. These five will be the beginning of your working Summer iRules Contract. 

At the close of this series of prompts and activities, you should have a nice working draft of your iRules. At this time engage your co-parents and caregivers for their feedback. You can also ask your child to come up with a few rules that they think are fair for the summer months and compare notes. As you move into the final phase of building iRules, you’ll want as much support for the summer screen vision as possible. Don’t hesitate to talk about tech! 

Read other articles by Janell Burley Hofmann.

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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