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A Langley program helps parents talk about screen time with kids

Spin the wheel, start a conversation
Alicia Rempel, literacy outreach coordinator with the Langley Literacy Network, demonstrated the new interactive digital resource, Family Tech Time. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Families in Langley have a new way to talk about tech with their teens at home.

Langley Literacy Network has launched a new interactive tool to support conversations in families and the community around how to use technology to build healthy relationships rather than disrupt them.

“Thoughtful and intentional use of technology that considers the whole human (heart, mind, spirit and body) can connect us and expand our knowledge and abilities.

However, navigating technology can be confusing or overwhelming for families and become a source of conflict. This tool helps with that, fostering dialogue, and empowering families to support each other,” explained Alicia Rempel, Literacy Outreach Coordinator.

READ ALSO: Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The project was started after Langley community agencies identified concerns with screen use related to children and youth and a need to help support and promote healthy relationships with technology for families. The tool is an opportunity available for all families but its intended audience is for teens and young adults.

“We hear from parents about the challenges and struggles they are having talking to their teenage children about technology and devices and things like screen time, social media and video games. We wanted to develop a tool that was positive and not prescriptive. It’s an experiential way for everyone in the family to take part,” said Devon Stokes-Bennett, Langley School District Teacher, who worked on the project.

READ ALSO: Doctor weighs in on the kid ‘screen time’ debate

To use the tool as a family, click on a coloured wheel that spins and lands on a technology question or statement that elicits a conversation about one of four categories: Mind, Heart, Body, and Spirit.

“One sign that technology use is becoming unhealthy is when we experience strong emotions when we don’t have access to it. What do we do and how do we act when we feel this way? Is it impacting our family? This is just one sample of the types of questions families should be talking about together and learning from each other,” said Stokes-Bennett.

The information in the tool has also been developed into a resource for families to use.

The tool and resource are housed on the Langley Literacy Network website here.

The project was a collaborative effort involving work of the Langley School District, Fraser Health, Inclusion Langley Society, Encompass Support Services Society, Langley Community Services Society and Langley Children Committee.

“This tool was developed by community, for community. We hope this can be used to help families work together to connect their technology habits with their family values with the goal to be intentional about our usage,” adds Rempel.

Online, the #LangleyTechTime hashtag highlights talking points for families.

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