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T.I.M.E. for Technology

Mom and son on tablet

​​Fami​lies seem busier today than they were in the past. With school, sports, work and community events, family life can be a blur. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and over-scheduled. Parents and kids are increasingly turning to technology to help them multitask their way through their many commitments. They may feel that technology promises to help families get back their quality time. 

If you're in need of parenting tips on how to make sure that technology improves rather than overtakes your family, think your way through the T.I.M.E. acronym and how you can apply it in your home.

T: Talk. The first and most i​mportant step that parents can take in figuring out how their families should interact with technology is to talk with each other about what role technology should play in their home. Parents need to develop a family media use policy that outlines who can use a cell phone, computer and TV in the home; where that technology can be used; when kids can and can't use that technology; and what content can and can't be texted, tweeted, chatted, searched and viewed.

I: Instruct. As a parent, you are your child's first and best teacher. Discuss your family media use policy with your children, and lay out clearly defined consequences for violating the policy. Tell your kids that the reason behind the policy is not to curb their freedom, but to keep them safe and to teach them how to become savvy media consumers.

M: Monitor. Don't be afraid to monitor what your children are texting, tweeting, watching and doing while they are on their cell phones and computers. Use a good software program with a wide range of tools such as to block content and track what your children say and do online. 

Tell your children that you're monitoring them, and make sure they understand that it's to ensure they're staying safe online. Talk with your children about anything they do that concerns you or have questions about.

E: Encourage. Praise your children when yo​u notice them doing something positive online, such as when they complete a research project and earn a good grade on it. Another example is when you come across a chat or text conversation in which your child has clearly encouraged or helped a friend in a positive way. 

Arm yourself with knowledge, and keep the lines of communication open between you and your children. Knowing and caring about what your kids are doing will help you encourage your kids to become the people you want them to be.