What is a family media plan?
A family media plan is a list of rules or guidelines that you as a parent set for your family or household to manage the use of digital devices in your home. Digital devices and the Internet can have negative impacts if used in the wrong way or too much. Finding a balance that works for your family and having the tools and strategies to reinforce good media practices that are beneficial to the digital wellbeing of your family is important. That is why a family media plan is something you should prioritize introducing this year. Now is a great time to introduce a media plan as many of our children will have received new devices over the Christmas period.
What is in a media plan?
A family media plan is personal to your family. Normally, the decision to investigate whether there is a need for a family media plan relies on whether or not you have concerns about the current usage of digital in your family. Some of the things your digital media plan might include are:
Screen-free zones in your home: You may have a list of rooms where digital devices are not allowed. The bedroom is a good room to make a digital-free zone, it should be a space for reading, rest, and recuperation.
Screen-free times in your home: A list of times that people are allowed to use devices is helpful for managing daily screen time. For example, screens can be permitted for an hour in the evening or only on the weekends. This is dependent on what works well for your family.
Manners: Manners for both device usage and behaviour online should be laid out in the media plan. Your media plan might include a list of basic manners of what to do when speaking to someone while on a device, e.g., Putting your phone down when someone is speaking to you. Rules for behaviour on the internet are also important, e.g., being as nice and respectful to others online as you would be in person.
Rules: Rules around internet safety are so important. Rules and guidelines around what information is ok to give out and what is not should be instilled in your household the minute a device comes into it. We should also educate children on what information is inappropriate to share while engaging with others online.
Priorities: The family media plan will help keep priorities in check. The plan can display the list of tasks that need to be completed before devices can be used in the house, e.g., homework, chores, exercise, and whatever other tasks need to be done in your home.
How can I introduce a media plan in my house?
All-new rules can be met with resistance at home. Probably one of the best ways to introduce a family media plan is to ask your children what they think should be in the plan. Asking the kids what they think they should have in the plan will give them a sense of ownership and involvement and more determination to follow the plan.
The plan should include a list of consequences for if the rules are not followed and the kids should be a part of deciding what these consequences are, so they are easier to enforce if or when the rules or broken. Making the adults face the consequences of broken rules just like the kids will also make the whole process a lot easier and maybe even fun.
The plan should be clear and simple for everyone to follow. Review the plan every 6 months to a year depending on your children’s age or their development.
Internet Safety and your family media plan
Family media plans are a great way to control the use of digital devices in your home, however, it’s also a useful way to ensure your family are being safe while on the internet. There is so much information surrounding the internet and how to be safe online, we understand if sometimes it can be overwhelming. Zeeko Education provides Internet Safety training both virtually and on-site to suit every school’s needs. Some of our packages also include parent seminars to ensure you are up to date with the most relevant information for your child, their class, and their age group. Read more on our seminars here or forward this link to your child's teacher.