Find positive content

Every family has a different definition of what is “healthy” or positive. The guide below is designed to help you apply this concept to your family’s tech habits. Together you will determine a mix of content and activities that feels right for your family.

Discussion points

  1. Explore positive online activities.

    Start by asking your kids what they think are positive ways to spend time online (and why). To get them going, you can ask them about websites, apps, or videos that have taught them something or helped them feel motivated, inspired, or connected.

  2. What makes content “unhealthy”?

    Next, ask them what they consider to be less positive activities online (and why). This is a great time to talk about certain platforms, apps, and websites, but also specific things they do on them. You may want to reflect on video content: In their opinion, what kinds of videos do they feel are good uses of time and what kinds aren’t?

  3. Work together to create a balance.

    Finally, ask your kids why they think it’s important to find a balance in their digital activity. If they think they are spending a lot of time with content that isn’t right for them, brainstorm ideas for types of content they can feel good about and help them prioritize it.

Things to keep in mind

It’s quantity and quality.

Using digital devices in a balanced way is as much about how long you spend with screens as it is about how that time is spent.

Start with yourself.

You can be a powerful force for good in helping your kids create healthy habits. Consider changes you might want to make to your own behavior to model the habits you want to see in your kids.

Be flexible.

Placing inflexible time limits with devices can become harder as your kids get older. Try to help them become aware of their tendencies so they can start making smart decisions for themselves.

Rather than simply talking about ‘screen time’, discuss in a more nuanced way the activities on the device—whether they are developmentally appropriate, mood enhancing, and educational.

Nick Allen, PhD

Try it at home

Use technology to learn something new

As a family, challenge yourselves every day for a week to use technology to learn something new that you can share. Maybe it's a fact about the planet, some rare trivia on a movie you all like, or a historical nugget about your town. At the end of the week, talk about the things you learned and what everyone thought was most interesting or surprising.

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