This is something I struggle with everyday. As a connected educator, I just can’t keep up. I want to join Twitter chats (and lots of them), I want to participate in deep and meaningful conversations in the Google communities I have joined, I want to create content not just a consume it, but…
I can’t keep up and I feel like I’m drowning.
My son recently commented that I’m on my computer all the time. Guess what? He’s right – I am. I catch myself saying, “I have to do this one more thing,” or “I have to make this one last call” to him all the time. What message am I sending to him? What am I modeling?
In reflection, I’ve always used this device contract via Janell Burley Hoffman with my teacher candidates as a way to begin the conversation about helping our teens become socially responsible both on and offline. I’d like to take this concept and help other parents and caregivers create a family contract – to help adults model the balancing act of life.
Here’s my pledge and suggestions:
1. All devices should be on a docking station at night in a central location away from where we sleep. For readers who use their devices as an alarm clock – go buy an alarm clock! Don’t model that the first and last thing you do each morning and night is check your device. Be present – say good morning and good night to the people you love (and live with).
2. Leave devices at home or in the car when you go out to dinner. Make eye contact and enjoy the opportunity to be a family. Get caught up in conversation. If eating at home, no devices at the table (and no getting up from the table to check a device). When I was a kid – this rule applied if the phone rang during dinner – make it apply with devices.
3. Reduce the amount of time on devices – do work (participate in Twitter chats, Google communities, etc.) when everyone is at work or school. Family time is sacred.
4. Make an appointment with yourself each day – mark off time in your calendar for some peace and solitude. Don’t give it all away – save something for yourself each day. Walk away from devices even if it means missing Twitter chats and opportunities to network and collaborate.
I’m interested in what you would add to this list and why? How can we help other parents and caregivers be more mindful of their choices and create a balancing act?