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February 14, 2016

What does a balanced technology user look like?

Precarious balance
Image Source: James Jordan
With 2 sons, who very much enjoy using the iPad, Xbox, TV and any other sort of digital technology, I often wonder about what makes a balanced technology user.  How do I help my children to grow up seeing tech as a tool not an essential?
My second biggest parenting worry is eating - are they eating enough?  is their diet healthy enough?  why are they so fussy?  what will they eat today?  This blog, It's Not about Nutrition, helped me to put eating into perspective.  It's not about how they ate in this one meal, or on this day, it's about the habits they are learning about eating that they will take into adulthood.
Technology use is the same.  So, what habits do I want my children (my sons, and those that I teach) to have about digital technologies?
  • I want them to know when to use technology and know when it is not the best choice.  I want them to engage with people face-to-face and build relationships.  I want them to know that technology is not always the best way to learn something.
  • I want them to use technology for a range of purposes - not just for entertainment, but also for learning, creation, interaction and collaboration.
  • I want them to use technology in a safe and healthy manner. The need to know about cybersafety, about good posture when using technology, about protecting their eyes and their ears and when it's time to put the tech away and focus (eg. when they're driving).
These, I hope are the habits and knowledge I can give them so that they can be intentional in their technology use as they grow into adulthood.
What habits do you think are important for balanced technology use?  What strategies do you use to teach these habits?

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