FSB Author Article
iRules Top 5 Tips
By Janell Burley Hofmann,
Author of iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up
How do we begin making iRules? Tech Talks! Gather 'round for tech inventory, tech preferences, expectations & boundary building. This can be done with one child or the whole family can create house iRules. Tech talks encourage dialogue to help raise tech healthy families and limit struggle.
Not sure if you should share that pic? Permission to Post! Using this strategy we teach our children to ask a friend's permission before sending or sharing a photo of a peer with others. This is a good tool for parent posts too. Do you need to pause for permission to post that silly selfie of your son on Facebook? Think about it!
What happens after we say good night? Keep sleep sacred! Experts, researchers, parents, students, and pediatricians agree that technology can keep impact the quality of our sleep. Our days are full and we hardly ever "turn off", this goes for our children too! We must make space to recharge growing minds and bodies. Sleep is something we must protect!
Encourage No Phone Zones! Practice leaving devices behind or turning them off when on a family outing, during special visits or at mealtimes. Get the whole family involved and discuss why it's important to have meaningful moments without the distraction of devices. Create a No Phone Zone for your family today!
Assess yourself! Does the amount of gaming in your house make you mad? Is the time your teen spends on social networking annoying? Why is there a struggle or a break down every time we unplug? When you are in tune with your feelings -- or the feelings and behaviors of your children -- get curious and assess. Those feelings are trying to tell us something, pay attention to what they're saying and parent from there!
iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up, was inspired by Janell Burley Hofmann's 18 point iRules contract originally created for her thirteen year old son upon receiving his first iPhone for Christmas. This contract contained practical and personal boundaries like #8: Do not text, email or say anything through this device that you would not say in person. Or #17: Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. As a writer, speaker and parent coach, it became clear to Hofmann that parents, schools and communities might benefit from reading her contract. After sharing online, the contract went viral. An international media surge and global discussion was sparked. It became clear to Hofmann that people were hungry for more.
iRules provides families with the tools they need to find balance between technology and human interaction through a philosophy Hofmann calls Slow Tech Parenting. In the book, she educates parents about the online culture tweens and teens enter the minute they go online, exploring issues like cyberbullying, friend fail, passwords and sexting, as well as guiding parents on how to create their own iRules contracts to fit their families' needs. iRules helps parents figure out when to unplug and how to stay in sync with the changing world of technology. This knowledge encourages readers to value the positive aspects of technology, while teaching their children respect, responsibility and to live fully both on the screens and away from them.
As funny and honest as it is practical, iRules will undoubtedly start a conversation with all those involved in the lives of today's youth. It may even leave readers thinking about their own tech habits and how we could all benefit from the healthy balance a set of iRules brings!
© 2014 Janell Burley Hofmann, author of iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up
Janell Burley Hofmann, author of iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up, is a parent coach who writes about parenting and technology for The Huffington Post; has a weekly spot on "American Public Media Marketplace," NPR, as tech etiquette consultant; and has been covered by major national media, including Good Morning America. She lives in Sandwich, Massachusetts.