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The parent-child contract for healthy technology use

Going back to school becomes an opportunity to return to a certain family routine. In many families, this is also the time to establish rules for children's screen time. The parent-child contract becomes a concrete tool to formalize these rules and allows a dialogue between parents and children around these rules.

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In collaboration with Martine Rioux

Going back to school becomes an opportunity to return to a certain family routine. For many families, it is also a time to establish rules for children's screen time. While 85% of parents of children aged 6 to 17 say they already have such rules, the parent-child contract becomes a concrete tool to formalize these rules and allows a dialogue between parents and children around these rules.

In fact, in Quebec, the most recent data from the NETendances survey indicate that almost nine in ten parents of young people aged six to 17 (85 %) say they have rules at home about how much time their young people can spend on the Internet, or about what sites they can visit. Rules about Internet use are used more often by parents of children aged six to 12 (93 %) than those of youth aged 13 to 17 (74 %).

The parent-child contract: a concrete tool 

The self-regulation of the use of digital devices does not develop without guidance for young people. But how can we support them as parents? The parent-child contract becomes a concrete tool to supervise the use of screens in the family.

For such a contract to be effective, it requires the creation of a constructive dialogue between parents and children, whether they are 5 or 15 years old. By creating a relational dynamic that involves questioning and openness to each other's points of view, it is possible to define the rules applicable to one's family reality without the young people feeling that they are simply being imposed. They participate in the discussion.

Moreover, rather than only regulating the time spent in front of the screens, it is also possible to regulate the uses (learning time vs. time for playing or socializing) and to establish other conditions of use.

The preparation of the contract becomes a concrete moment that encourages parent-child communication and allows everyone to express themselves on the use of screens. Together, parents and children can define the rules that are best for them. In this way, the parent-child contract has the potential to encourage the establishment of positive life rules and to act on the autonomy of young people towards healthy life habits, rather than being perceived as restrictive and limiting.

Procedure to discover and model to download

 Parents can learn about this process by reading the article Define the rules of life in the form of a parent-child contractpublished in the École branchée magazine on the family - Well-being, a lever for learning ... even at a distance

This practical guide for parents was produced in partnership with the Fédération des comités de parents du Québec (FCPQ) and the English Parents' Committee Association (EPCA) and is available free of charge in French and English with the financial support of the Quebec Ministry of Education.

To download it, visit www.ecolebranchee.com/famille or ecolebranche.com/family.

You can also find a contract template to customize: bit.ly/contratRDV.

In addition :

As a teacher, you can also co-construct a code of ethics for technology use in the classroom with your students. Read our article on this subject.

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About the Author

Stéphanie Dionne
Stephanie Dionnehttp://ecolebranchee.com/famille
Stéphanie Dionne is director of development and partnerships, facilitator and speaker. It contributes to the influence of players in the education sector and its ecosystem. In addition, it supports parents, teachers and workers in a mentality of co-education in order to allow young people to become fulfilled citizens in the digital age.

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