Raising children in the digital world in has been at the forefront Yavneh Academy programming for some years now, whether in technology and advisory classes where students are educated about digital safety and limits, or through parent workshops which hosts yearly programs on the topic. All of this education culminated last year in the formation of the Yavneh Academy Digital Safety Parent Committee, who worked on guidelines for families and unified shut-off times for particular grades. This year, the school was looking to take these efforts to the next level by bringing in parenting expert Janell Burley Hofmann to present “iRules- How to Build Family Tech Boundaries That Work.” Hofmann is the author of iRules, an international speaker and consultant, as well as the founder of the slow tech movement and iRules Academy.
As Hofmann stressed to Yavneh parents, setting technology boundaries that work is founded on good parenting. In other areas of parenting, children are able to look at how their parents parented for guidance. In this area, parents are trailblazers. She stressed the “no nostalgia clause.” We need to acknowledge that the internet exists and that children will have access to it. Parents need to mentor their children in the same way they teach them how to behave in other areas. Hofmann encouraged parents to isolate their family values and what they want to safeguard. Using technology should have a scaffolded process just, like driving, when teens need to go through a number of steps before receiving their license. Hofman also provided some guidance on how to create a contract with children.
Parents left the evening energized and ready to engage their children in the process of setting boundaries, stressing to their children, as Hofman empowered them, that they are setting these limits because they love them.