Smart Living | Digital Parenting

Digital Parenting | 07 Jan 2022

New Year’s tech resolutions for a healthier 2022!

Screen-free bedrooms and farewell to phubbing? Emma Robertson, Digital Awareness UK, shares some ideas from parents about handling our technology in a safe and responsible way this year.

So, 2021 was a big year for digital parents. We mastered Google Classroom for remote learning, conquered Microsoft Teams for work meetings, grappled with Zoom birthday parties and did our best to understand if the ‘metaverse’ was a virtual universe or something related to astronomy!

At Digital Awareness UK we speak to parents every day about the opportunities and challenges the digital world presents. Lately, many of those conversations have focused on changes they would like to make in 2022 to ensure their families are using technology safely and responsibly.

A survey conducted by YouGov found that unsurprisingly, health and fitness-related new year’s resolutions top the list of promises Britons are making in 2022. But how many of these resolutions will relate to our digital wellbeing? Today technology plays a critical role in how our families exercise, sleep, eat, work, study and much, much more.

So, if like many parents, you’re thinking about adding a few tech-related new year’s resolutions to your list, here is some inspiration based on a few ideas that parents have shared with us.

New Year tech resolutions

Credits: Shutterstock Entperprise

  1. Get mindful with some meditation apps

Research shows that meditation helps both children and adults to relax, focus and manage stress. If you search for ‘meditation’ in your app store you’ll find some fantastic apps from the likes of Headspace and Calm that offer meditation and mindfulness activities for the whole family to enjoy.

  1. Monitor the family’s digital activity

If we don’t know how much time we’re spending using devices, it’s difficult to know if we need to cut back or if we’ve mange to strike a balance. Whether you’re sitting down with the kids to run through their weekly activity reports on the Xbox Family Settings app to see how much time has been spent gaming, or comparing your daily screen time reports on your iPhones, it can be helpful to monitor screen time to keep on top of it.

  1. Activate digital wellbeing settings

If you feel like the family might need to cut back, wellbeing features are now available on social media apps, games, operating systems and more, to nudge us towards finding balance. Have a play around with your tech and you’ll soon discover tools that can switch off autoplay on Netflix, for example, to stop next episodes playing automatically or turn off notifications on your iPhone though the settings menu.

  1. Get fit with your tech

Families across the UK are using technology to get the heart pumping. Whether you’re working up a sweat on Nintendo Switch’s Ring Fit Adventure, cutting some shapes doing the latest TikTok dance craze, or joining Joe Wicks again for a morning workout, why not make exercising with tech part of your family time?

  1. Improve sleep quality

Research shows that screens can delay bedtime and increase poor sleep quality among 6-to-15-year-olds. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that we should make bedrooms a screen-free zone if possible and try not to use devices an hour before bed. There’s a challenge you can all get involved in!

  1. Show phubbing the back door

Phubbing (phone-snubbing) is a term used to describe someone who ignores people around them in favour of using their devices. Most of us are guilty of a little phubbing from time-to-time, but face-to-face interaction and eye contact is key when it comes to building relationships with our children and helping them to develop. Make a pact that the family will do its best to show each other how important they are by setting their devices aside for some good old fashioned face-to-face convos.

  1. Be a tech role model

Speaking of phubbing, we did some research with HMC which found that 36% of children have asked their parents to stop checking their devices. The best way to teach our children how to use technology in a healthy and responsible way is to show them. So if you’re thinking of taking on any of these resolutions, talk it through with partners, husbands, wives, grandparents, nannies – anyone who spends significant amounts of time with your family and make sure you’re all in it together.

  1. Enjoy tech time with family

Technology can play a really positive role in family life so it might be worth setting some time aside together to enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. So whether you’re ‘Zooming’ with family overseas or exploring virtual worlds together on Minecraft, find time to have some fun and make it a family effort.

We hope these resolutions have left you with a spring in your step as we take on another year of digital parenting in 2022. If you need some help setting tech boundaries as a family, check out Vodafone’s Digital Family Pledge for more inspiration.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from Vodafone by following us on Twitter and signing up for News Centre website notifications.