Does everyone in your family including your teenagers have cell phones or tablet computers? Do they spend more time looking at text messages and emails than conversing with you even at the dinner table? Need help in curbing the tech craze that has taken over your life? Author Janell Burley Hoffmann has written a new book, iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming and Growning Up.
The book is meant to help parents create a set of technology use rules to fit every family through establishing a contract between parents and their children. Although it focuses on teens and younger, the contract that is introduced in the book could be modified and adjusted to spouses too.
The iRules Contract
The author writes about how she struggled with the idea of getting her 13-year-old son an iPhone. She decided to give him one as a Christmas present. Naturally, he was excited but the author was still conflicted over how to monitor his smart phone usage. She tucked her son into bed that evening and he agreed to meet with her the next morning to discuss “house rules” for using the phone.
Hofmann writes out her rules which then form The Contract, which she includes in the front of the book. It has 18 rules on it and covers most situations such as she is loaning the phone to him, she wants to always know his passwords, never send or receive pictures of his private parts or anyone else’s, no porn, and do not use the technology to lie, fool or deceive another human being.
The author breaks the book up into three sections, “Respect,” “Responsibility,” and “Live Fully.”She then puts her suggested list of iRules in their respective sections. A few of the iRules include:
- Talk and Talk Some More
- Do unto Others
- Preach Safe Text
- Practice Safe Text
- FOMO (Fear of Mission Out)
- Put Down the Controller
- Mess Up! Make Mistakes! It’s Okay to be Human!
She also talks about the power of language, understanding value, and driving with technology. On the power of language she writes, “Scroll through your child’s Instagram or Twitter account and I promise that you’ll find words like “gay,” “slut,” and “pimp” littered throughout the comments.”
For understanding value, she offers a series of tips such as waiting for something or living without it, teach them not to waste, and accept and share hand-me downs. Hofmann offers that using technology while driving has increased the concerns parents have about their teenagers driving.
“Now, portable technology coupled with its chronic uses makes our concerns greater than ever. The statistics are staggering. The risks unimaginable,” writes Hofmann.
While there are now entire generations that have grown up with home computers, gaming terminals, and portable technology, it is still a major issue between kids and their parents. The book does a good job of making parents feel like they are not alone in their conflicts over allowing their children and their teens to use technology on a personal level.
Most people have to come to realize that you either have to control the use of technology or it will control you, especially if you are a young teenager that more than likely lacks any kind of self-control. This book is well written and covers many of the situations that need to be addressed when allowing any type of internet connected technology into your home.
About the Author
Hoffmann is duly qualified to write this book. She is a parent coach and she writes about parenting and technology for The Huffington Post and has a weekly spot on NPR. She lives in Sandwich, Massachusetts.
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