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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.