Is your family becoming addicted to technology? Do you find out dinner is ready in the other room via a text message? Social media expert Chris Brogan is the author of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. "Like with all things, it's all in moderation. You need to start setting some boundaries," he tells parents. Chris gives his tips to find balance in your tech addicted family:
1. Have device-free meals: No one is allowed to use cell phones, parents included.
2. Set up weekend Luddite rules. On Sunday, go six hours without any technology, sort of like a fast. Then try to build on that.
3. Plan status-making experiences. Encourage offline activities, like going to a park or concert — like field trips to the real world — that you can talk about online at a later time.
4. Teach your kids etiquette and manners. Set boundaries on where and when the devices can be appropriately used. Teach your children that these digital tools are a great part of relationship maintenance, but that face-to-face communication is still the best of all tools.
5. Be careful of the kind of cell phone you give your child. Don't give him or her too much technology too soon. Consider pre-paid phones for kids, because there are protections built in. Look for a provider that helps parents monitor and protect, as well as allows for parental controls and access management. A cell phone with a blacklist and whitelist feature is a helpful tool. The blacklist is phone numbers the phone cannot receive calls from. The whitelist is the approved phone numbers of family and friends that can go through.