Emma Bunton shares her top tips to help families achieve a positive digital life balance
Spice Girl Emma Bunton has launched a fun online tool that helps families create tech ground rules together and then turns them into their very own family pledge.
The free, personalised and interactive activity helps families to set their digital ‘house rules’ together in an easy, fun way with the pledge covering everything from rules about devices at the dinner table to how they will use social media, with all family members agreeing to stick to it – parents included! The online tool encourages positive conversations about the role of technology in a family’s life.
The initiative has been launched after new research looking into the digital wellbeing of families in the UK, which was commissioned by Vodafone in partnership with YouGov, reveals that 54% of parents say they aren’t aware of what their children are doing online; yet they don’t feel prepared to have conversations as a family, with almost four in 10 parents stating that they’ve never been given advice on their children’s online behaviour.
Meanwhile, four in 10 parents also worry that their children are hiding online activity from them, with this rising to over half (52%) for parents of older children (12-16 years).
Vodafone challenged the Bunton-Jones family to take the Digital Family Pledge and make a commitment to each other about how they will use tech and act online.
Here are Emma’s top tips on how to she makes it work for her family:
1. Set ground rules as a family
My first tip would be to set ground rules as a family. Using the pledge helped us to work as a family to decide what the rules should be together, so we weren’t just dictating them to Beau and Tate. It also got me and my partner, Jade, to think about our own habits.
2. Use tech together
Instead of worrying so much about what our kids are doing online we now try to get involved. It’s impossible to be there all the time, but we might watch YouTube videos together or Jade and Beau will game online.
3. Quality over quantity
I used to think that it was all about managing the time the kids spent online. But I’ve realised it’s more important to focus on what they’re doing online rather than the exact amount of time spent. If they’re watching and playing the right stuff, it can be really educational and beneficial to their development.
4. Lead by example
It’s not just about the children, I realise that Jade and I are guilty of sneaking a look at our phones at the table or getting distracted by work emails. We’re using the Digital Pledge to set limits for ourselves too!
5. Be kind online
Being in the spotlight, I’ve had plenty of experience with people being unkind online and I’ve worried about what Beau and Tate see there. My final tip is to remind everyone that they need to think about what they say online remember that there’s a person at the other end of the screen who might be upset by unkind comments.
Emma explains: “Doing the Digital Family Pledge is a really simple way of getting up to speed on the latest facts, sparking a conversation and agreeing some boundaries together – Jade and I included!
“The kids are at that age where they want to play with new apps and games and are getting more interested in social media. At the end of the day, it’s about being open and finding the right balance and the Pledge is a great way to help families do this.”
Vodafone’s Digital Parenting is a free resource that offers the latest information and advice from researchers, psychologists and tech savvy parents. Launched as a free print magazine for schools, local authorities and GPs surgeries in 2012, and available online, Digital Parenting has served as an easy-to-digest resource for families for almost a decade.
The tool is available now at www.vodafone.co.uk/