We’ve Got The Tech, Now What? Start with a Tech Talk!

An excerpt from the book iRules by Janell Burley Hofmann
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We’ve Got The Tech, Now What?

Start with a Tech Talk!

Once you’ve identified your parenting beliefs and core values, then profiled each of your children and their needs and behaviors, it’s time to Tech Talk. The Tech Talk is a deliberate conversation you must have with each of your children regarding the specific technology they use on path to building a working set of iRules. Tech Talks can happen in phases and be revisited at any time to make revisions, discuss a situation, or assess the use of newly introduced technology. The technology and the way it is used is constantly changing, as is the development of our children. Stay tuned in and be open to adapting your iRules during Tech Talks!

Ideally a Tech Talk happens prior to the start of use – being proactive instead of reactive is best – but a lot of the time our kids are using new technology before we know it or we need to revise our tech use. It’s never too late to begin again.

Tech Talk Phase 1: Info Gathering

What technologies are you using?
Can you explain the basics and teach me how to use the ones I’m not familiar with?
Will you show me your online profile?
Why do you like to use the specific technology and why?

Tech Talk Phase 2: Define Expectations

For each technology used, present your vision for ideal and appropriate use including time limits, expectations, etc.
Tech Talks can occur whenever and as often as you’d like.
Be clear and direct, but open enough to ask and answer questions.
The length and depth of each conversation will vary depending on your child’s age and temperament, the amount of technology in your home and what was agreed upon in any previous Tech Talks.
If you need to digest and consider the information you get before establishing ground rules, you can adjourn and return later with specific limits and boundaries of your iRules.

Tech Talk Phase 3: Meet Again!

Keep the Tech Talks alive! Don’t wait until there is a crisis or a struggle going on. Schedule regular Tech Talks to keep the communication open.
Example: Did your daughter get a new social networking account or a new iPad upon entering high school? Come together for a Tech Talk.
Have you noticed a change in behavior? Perhaps your son is purchasing a series of video games without your approval and it’s making you uncertain. Schedule another Tech Talk.

Don’t be afraid to adjust your expectations based on what’s working and what isn’t working in your iRules. Your Tech Talks are the jumping off points for your family guidelines, and they will grow, change, and evolve with you. Just keep Tech Talking!


Janell Burley Hofmann is the author of iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growing Up. She’s an international speaker, consultant and the founder of The Slow Tech Movement and iRules Academy. Janell is the mother of five children ages 8, 10, 11, 13 & 16 and fully understands the joys and challenges of raising Generation Tech.

For more information on Janell visit www.janellburleyhofmann.com or on social media @JanellBH.


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Kate Joy

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