Setting and enforcing rules with kids can be tough online just like it is offline. To simplify matters, try drafting a “digital media” contract using the following tips:
Let’s be honest–everyone wants to be heard. Give your kids a chance to suggest rules and consequences that they think are acceptable. Ask, “what do you feel is an appropriate amount of time to spend using digital media each day?” and “what do you think we should do if you break this rule?” For younger children, you may need to define digital media (i.e. TV, computer, video games, etc). Even if their suggestions are unreasonable, listen carefully.Then, ask that they listen to you as you explain your thoughts on the matter.
One of the basic principles of contract law is that there must be “consideration.” In other words, both parties need to receive something from the bargain. Try to establish rules that are a win-win. At very least remember to compromise so that both you and your kids are happy with the outcome.
Ultimately, you want to end the conversation with a written contract. For an example of possible contracts, look below.
The last step of the conversation should be for you and your kids to sign the document. Hang it up in a conspicuous location (perhaps by the computer and/or TV). Your signatures on the contract will be a constant reminder of your commitment to one another. (Click to tweet)
Note this contract is for elementary aged children, tweak accordingly for older children
The child agrees to….
In exchange, the parent agrees to…