My life is pretty much spent all online. My phone is like an extension of my hand. But I hate seeing my kid’s faces buried in their devices. Technology is a huge part of our everyday lives. And while I would love to ban devices and screen time from my home, it’s just not possible. We can, however, figure out how to manage our usage in a more positive way.
Finding balance and creating positive technology habits is hard but there are tools available to help the whole family come up with a plan together. Creating better routines will make it so you won’t want to hide all of the charging cords to keep your family from powering up.
This post is sponsored by Google in partnership with Forward Influence Network. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Healthy Technology Habits for the Whole Family
It’s not possible to live a life without technology. So we need to figure out how to embrace in a way that promotes wellness instead of chaos and distraction?
My job as a blogger means that everything I do is online, to be viewed by other people on a device. While my content is aimed at helping busy moms, I’m constantly at my computer writing, editing and posting easy recipes and cocktails and on social media to promote it.
My husband runs marketing and e-commerce for a national brand. So when he’s not crushing candy (his favorite game) on his phone, he’s texting, reading emails and creating buzz about the brand online.
Don’t get me started on my teenager. While we originally got him a phone so we could communicate with him to pick him up from his activities, it’s quickly become so much more. It’s how he connects with his friends, it’s where he watches TV and where he turns in school assignments.
My 10 year old teaches himself new drawing techniques by watching YouTube, which is really cool but he also just began his first binge-watch of a streamed show. And I know from personal experience how that can go…
I constantly find myself frustrated with how we live our lives around these devices. But just because I’m thinking about the effects of technology on our daily lives and relationships doesn’t mean that the rest of the family is.
Finding balance with technology is something we all need to tackle together. And Google has tools that can help us do this in a constructive way. With their guidance, we can create better tech habits all around. Check out wellbeing.google.
How to Create Positive Technology Habits
The kids and I often talk about how amazing phones are. If we are wondering about any historical event, we get all the details in a matter of seconds. We listen to our favorite artist’s brand new song the minute it drops. And we stay digitally connected no matter where each of us is in the world.
But it’s easy to get distracted and let our phones and devices become a primary focus. Balance is something that we strive for, but it really comes down to priorities and intentions. By looking at how we use technology we can sort out where we can cut back and create a plan that we can all support as a family.
With wellbeing.google, Google makes it easy to address this topic by providing tools to help get the conversation started. The discussion points, expert tips and recommended activities help families develop healthy technology habits, together.
Use The Family Guide from Google
The Family Guide is full of prompts and activities to kickstart a conversation with your family about your tech use. They are designed to help make decisions about how and when you will use technology in the home.
I love this because it involves the kids in the process instead of just forcing them to comply.
Google believes technology should be helpful in our lives but knows that this isn’t always the case. That’s why they created the guides and tools like Family Link (an app that helps you manage your children’s, and your own, usage of social media).
The guide was really helpful in giving me a new way to look at things. It prompted me to take a whole new approach on how I view social media and that I need to teach my kids digital citizenship.
And if you have access to the New York Times on Sunday, September 29, 2019 check it out! Portions of the Family Guide will be published in a special section! It’s a great way to check out some of the awesome tools that Google has available to you and your family.
Collectively Take a Look at How Technology is Used in the Home
My family and I headed out to dinner the other night to enjoy our favorite restaurant and spend time together talking about our technology habits. We put the phones down and talked about how we feel devices have kept us disconnected from each other.
We talked about how important it was to set limits and to be respectful when we do need to use devices.
I printed out this sheet from Google to help guide our discussion.
I especially loved the first section focused on using social media for good. We’ve had a few incidents where my son has lost privileges to some of his social media apps. Could things have been worse? Yes.
But I know how scary the online space can be and how unforgiving society can be when mistakes are made.
Google’s Family Guide made me see that I could also look at social media as a positive tool and a way to spread kindness and joy. I think it also helped my teen view his apps in a new way.
I really love that message of using technology for good. It was cool to hear the kids come up with things like raising money for a charity, leaving positive comments to people they don’t know well, etc. as positive ways to use their apps.
Instead of wishing that the kids weren’t hooked on social media, I need to learn how to encourage them to use it in positive ways.
Intentionally Decide to Unplug as a Family
Talking about our usage led us to decide when and where we would unplug. Again, the Google guide has techniques for this as well. I love their activity for creating a phone box, a place where everyone can put their phones so they aren’t distracted by them.
At dinner, we also talked about the things we want to do more as a family. While some include technology like geocaching, others are screen-free like bike rides and beach trips.
And it also prompted my husband and me to take a look at how we use phones, computers, etc. and plan to lead more by example.
Tools to Help Families Balance Technology
I love that Google is making it part of their mission to help families traverse this rocky territory. I highly suggest you take time to explore the guides as they are full of helpful information that you didn’t even know you needed.
I feel like Google is my partner in this journey and helping me to see that I can control technology.
Learning more about Family Link (for Android and Apple phones) made me realize that Google has so many tools to make our mom life a little less stressful that I had no idea about. And I’m grateful!
We decided that we would all use Family Link to help us monitor our digital life. I know that my husband and I will probably be shocked to learn more about our current habits.
Google understands that technology is part of our everyday lives, but gives us ways to keep it controlled.
From managing your notifications (turning them all off except for the most important email notifications) to how to carve out time specifically to the family, they really are doing what they can to help build healthier technology habits.
This app was super easy to download and use and I love that you can pay special attention to the areas that you really feel you need a little more guidance.
Did you know you can set time limits on specific apps? Google helps to make this all feel less overwhelming and makes it easy to set parameters for each family member.
To discover all the tools and tips like the Family Guide, head to wellbeing.google to find a balance with technology that feels right for your family.
Pin These Digital Wellness Tips for Later
Building positive technology habits isn’t an easy task, but it is something that you can accomplish as a family. Google is there every step of the way to guide you and offer tools to make this easier to tackle. I’ve loved exploring this topic as a family and feel like balance is possible when everyone is on the same page.