Daniel Donahoo (digital learning adviser): A family technology plan is a set of rules that’s agreed upon by a family that helps us to balance and manage the way we all use technology. It’s really useful because it means that we’re not making rules up on the fly and it means that children and parents both have a very clear idea about how technology is going to be used in the household, and those things could include: ‘We’re going to have a charging station and that’s where we’ll all put our phones and charge them.’ Or it may include something like: ‘There’s no technology in bedrooms.’ It may be something like: ‘Children are allowed to play computer games on the weekend.’ It depends on your family and what your family needs.
As children get older, your family technology plan can become more complex and more sophisticated. You may begin to want to think about the different types of screen use and technology use. So where some technology use is passive, like watching a television show, and others are interactive, like playing a computer game, others might be creative, like creating your own music or writing an essay for homework, and, as children get older, the way you organise and use those different types of technology will change and you can include that in your plan.
Like your family, it can be flexible and adaptable, so, even if the rules say one thing but your child is getting something really strong and useful out of doing something creative on a tablet, making some beautiful thing, then that doesn’t mean you sort of have to stop them because the family technology plan says to. Basically what you’re trying to do as parents is to create a technology plan that avoids points of tension and conflict.