Experts in digital safety
If you’re finding it difficult to set rules, regulations and boundaries for technology in your household, a family agreement can be a great way to get started. A digital family agreement helps you create a safe space to talk about technology together, and set guidelines for your online life in and out of the home. Read on to learn how it works, and get your free printable family digital agreement to help guide the conversation.
What is a family digital agreement?
When a child gets a device, like a new smartphone or tablet, lots of families like to create a document detailing how and when they can use it. The child will then read through the document and sign their agreement.
The problem that often comes with a signed contract like this is that these rules and regulations are easily broken. Many families, and children, find it difficult to stick to everything listed on the document – and as they grow older, the rules need adapting, too.
This family digital agreement is designed to help you all have useful, positive conversations about technology. You’ll come together to plan out actionable ideas, and for your family’s smallest members, perhaps start thinking for the first time what it means to have an online life.
What can a digital agreement do for my kids?
Many families love technology, and everything it offers, but find it difficult to set boundaries or talk about problems with their children. If that’s the case for you, too, a digital family agreement will:
✔ Allow you to reflect on how much your family uses technology as a whole, and implement positive change
✔ Help you establish healthy boundaries surrounding screen time and digital behavior
✔ Give you the tools for an ongoing, respectful conversation about your use of technology
✔ Tailor the discussion to your family, with separate sections for tweens and teens on relevant issues like social media, screen time, or not having offline hobbies
How to make a family digital agreement
To help your family get started, Qustodio offers two free downloadable digital agreements, which will help you set up a workshop that you can regularly revisit as a family. One is aimed at under 8s who are beginning to make their mark in the digital world, while the other is aimed at tweens and teens, who will benefit from having open, honest discussions about the positives and negatives of technology.
Download the ideal worksheet for your family using the buttons below.
Digital agreement for under 8s
Digital agreement for teens and tweens
What to do before getting started
Before you work on your digital agreement together, bear these tips in mind.
1. Have a parent or guardian read through the worksheet before you come to it as a family. This will help prepare the discussion.
2. Talk to kids beforehand about when you’ll be creating this agreement. Springing it on them out of the blue may make them more defensive.
3. Find a space where you all feel comfortable and relaxed, ahead of the discussion. Reduce distractions and create a positive, welcoming environment.
4. If anything starts to get a little heated, take a break and come back when you are ready.
5. Try to stray away from rewards and punishments that involve technology – for example, giving extra screen time for good behavior. The goal is to create healthy digital habits over bargaining tools.
Revisiting your family agreement
When it comes to raising children, nothing’s set in stone. What works with kids one day fails the next, and the same is true for how we view technology. It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing world, so we need to always be ready to adapt.
This is why we don’t recommend creating and signing a cell phone contract that allows for little flexibility, or naming specific rewards and punishments for rules that could be broken. Kids will often be set up for failure this way.
Instead, use your family digital agreement as a springboard for regular communication, and revisit the written-down rules and ideas you’ve decided on together as your child grows. If your family needs to use both the under-8s version and the teens and tweens, you could have separate discussions, or print out both versions and mix and match – whichever works best for your family dynamic.
Once you’re all on the same page, you can start working towards digital wellbeing with a shared perspective, and face fewer struggles in the long term. Good luck!