Young people today are fortunate to grow up in an age of incredible technological advances with unlimited information at their fingertips. They can be in immediate and constant contact with friends, family – and just about anyone else on the planet. Such easy accessibility is commonplace for the younger generation, but it can raise red flags for parents who may be concerned that their children are sharing too much information over social media or spending too much time using their devices at the expense of school and family time. The reality is that there are risks and responsibilities associated with modern digital devices and helping kids learn to use them properly is an integral aspect of raising children in today’s world.
Open dialogue between parents and children and, specifically, the creation of a family contract can promote responsible use of digital devices. Pitcairn frequently recommends family contracts as an effective way to set mutual expectations, clarify responsibilities, and minimize future conflicts. When families work together to prepare a contract, it promotes trust, incorporates multiple perspectives, and makes it more likely that younger family members will follow the terms of the agreement.