If you’ve tuned into Tech Talk Tuesday before, you might already know that in my family, we have decided that the car is a “screens-off” space for all of us. It works great when it’s just us in the car. We talk, we catch up, we sit quietly.
But the other day, I was driving my son Chase (11th grade) and two of his 12th-grade jazz band friends to NYC for a special jazz event. They got online to help me navigate and search for a train that might take them into the city.
Some time after we found there was no train option, they were still on their phones. So in my kindest voice, I explained that we have a rule about not using phones in the car except for navigating. They complied and started a funny bubble gum game and then a license plate game that got us all laughing.
A little while later, they were back on their phones. When I gently reminded them of the rule, they were great about it. Only Chase was slightly annoyed with me. This rule is important to me because I want to emphasize how distracting screens can be for the driver. (A new report released last week by Common Sense Media includes a poll in which 56% of parents admit they check mobile devices while driving and 51% of teens see their parents doing it.)
On a different night, my daughter Tessa invited a couple of friends to stay overnight. Again we were faced with how to adhere to our family’s rules — no phones in the bedroom at bedtime — during a social situation. Tessa and I agreed on a reasonable “phones off” time that she could tell her friends about so that I wouldn’t embarrass her by doing it when they arrived. But in the end, I found myself confiscating the phones at 11:30 because I wanted them to get some sleep.
For this week’s TTT, maybe you’ll have the same conversation we’ll be having, around these questions:
· Our family’s screen time rules may be different than the rules your friends have in their families. Do your friends know about any of our family’s screen time rules?
· How would you like me to let your friends know what my screen rules are when they are with our family?
· Do you think it is embarrassing when a parent enforces your own family’s rules when your friends are around?
· Has this happened to you when you are with other families? How do you feel about it?