Setting Expectations With Devices

Under the Christmas tree, there may have been some new devices for your child(ren) this year. Perhaps there’s a birthday or another upcoming event where your young person will receive new technology, immersing themselves in the digital screen. However, how do you establish rules and expectations? Do you know what to say, ask, or convey within reason? Shape The Sky offers two resources to assist you with this. The first is a Technology Contract designed for setting expectations for a child owning a device, primarily tailored to older youth. Additionally, we have a Pledge for younger youth embarking on their digital adventures with technology.

Regarding the two-part Technology Contract: The technology contract comprises “The Conversation” and “The Terms For Technology.” The “Conversation” section guides you on initiating the dialogue, with a particular focus on understanding how introducing technology to youth impacts developmental psychology.

“The Terms for Technology” section provides a list of expectations related to the device. It outlines what you anticipate from your children, the consequences if rules are not followed, and the steps to take if your child needs assistance due to online content. Please note that this section is not a rigid list but rather a detailed guide. Feel free to edit and adjust it based on your family’s expectations.

About the Pledge: Join the hundreds of students who have already signed the “Think Before You Post” Pledge, created by student Kari Ann Leventopoulos to promote healthy and safe smartphone use. In middle school, Kari approached Shape the Sky to become a role model for other students and teach responsible technology use. Before joining the Shape the Sky community, Kari had already created “Get S.M.A.R.T.,” which stands for “Social Media Awareness and Responsibility Training,” to educate other students about safe social media use.

After learning about Shape the Sky’s mission, Kari was keen on joining our community. She believed that one of the initial steps to achieve our mission was for youth to pledge to use technology responsibly. Her Pledge consists of 7 steps:

Use technology with integrity
Think before I post
Post for permanency
Post with a purpose
Safeguard for security
Minimize screen-time for downtime
Say what I see

This is an excellent way for you to set expectations as we enter 2024, providing our kids with a healthy framework for growing up in the digital age.