Our lives seem to be on overdrive lately. From sports to school to work and everything in between, it just seems that we are continuously going nonstop. We need downtime – my kids need downtime. Which is why when they get off the bus each day, I let them enjoy a snack and spend some time relaxing before we jump into homework or our evening routine. For my son, that means heading to the basement and playing online games with his friends on his gaming system. This is an activity that he enjoys and loves being able to play with friends he doesn’t see at school and even lets him stay connected with his cousins that live across the country. But when it comes to his gaming, my husband and I have set restrictions on these games and continuously monitor him while he plays. However, he doesn’t always see it this way. Often time this turns into a battle when we ask him to take a break which creates unnecessary tension for the family and ultimately has us questioning whether he should be playing online gaming or not.
I was recently introduced to Google’s Family Guide which focuses on these tech topics and creates a framework for parents to address these tech issues with their own family. As part of Google’s digital wellbeing initiative, the goal is help families facilitate positive conversations around these tough topics and include discussion points, expert tips and even activities to help your family develop healthy tech habits together. The Family Guide really hit home and provided helpful advice for my family’s situation. I used the guide, “Making Gaming a Positive Experience” and we were able to have an insightful conversation with our son about his gaming habits. The discussion points helped guide our chat about the good aspects of gaming but also what weren’t so good and things we could all work on. Through our discussion, he told us he gets most upset when his friends cheat. This was helpful for us because we talked about ways to control our anger and what to do instead of getting so mad about it. He also listened to our reasons behind his restrictions and why we want to help keep him safe while he plays online. The conversation was productive and our son didn’t feel like we were attacking him but rather solving the problem together as a family. I appreciated having this resource because we were able to learn more about what gaming means to him as well as find ways to be part of his activity. Lately, gaming has turned into a special activity for my husband and son when they aren’t outside playing sports. In the evenings they occasionally spend time playing games together and using the time to bond and learn from one another. My son loves showing his dad the tips and tricks of the games!
As a parent, I appreciate Google’s Digital wellbeing initiative and resources like the Family Guide. It is clear that Google believes technology should play a helpful role in our lives and our family’s lives, but also recognizes that this isn’t always the case. They created digital wellbeing tools like Family Link and the Family Guide because Google believes my family should have a balanced relationship with technology. After using these wellbeing tools with my own family, I feel empowered to think differently about how technology fits into my family’s day-to-day life and am grateful that Google is partner in this journey.
Be sure to catch portions of the Family Guide that are published in a special section of the New York Times TODAY on Sunday, September 29!
You can discover more tips and tools like the Family Guide! Visit wellbeing.google to find a balance with technology that feels right for the whole family!