Parent’s Guide to Creating Shared Media Use Agreements
Expectations about media and screen use can be a source of frustration and strife for parents and children. Shared media use agreements are one tool to support more intentional, healthy use of screens within families and households.
Sitting down with your child to craft a media use agreement that addresses everyone’s use of television, tablet, computer, smartphone, gaming, and other devices can set expectations and opportunities for holding one another accountable.
It’s important that children have input into the agreement and that everyone signs on. Some things to consider when crafting a media use agreement include:
Some families may find it easiest to create a written document that all members of the family sign; others may find it’s more effective to write out simplified expectations on posterboard or a chalkboard to display in a prominent location, like the kitchen. What’s most important is the conversation and ongoing discussions about maintaining healthy, intentional use of media.
It’s likely that you’ll need to update the shared media use agreement frequently as your family acquires new devices and as your child becomes more independent with their media and technology use. Embrace these opportunities to talk about how each member of the family uses media and devices, what you enjoy, and what you’d like to do differently.
- American Academy of Pediatrics offers a Family Media Plan wizard that simplifies the process by walking you through key questions and steps.
- VeryWell offers a sample cell phone contract for first-time smartphone owners and their parents.
- PandaSecurity has a set of agreements available for various devices, including cell phones and video game consoles.
- Internet Matters provides a simplified agreement suited for younger children.