71: Krista Boan | Tips for Parents In The Digital Age
Krista’s passion for the next generation is an extension of her background as a middle school teacher. She studied English and Psychology at the University of Kansas, and earned her Masters in Education at Rockhurst University, developing a pedagogy for social justice.
Krista dreams of a world where kids can be kids a little longer, so that when they are adults and facing giants of their own, they can refer back to the years they spent looking up—not down—for answers.
She loves encouraging and local communities to link arms for the good of our kids—our future leaders.
She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband Scott, and their four children.
Krista, the co-founder of We Start Now chat about building an internal framework within your child when it comes to values and digital habits. Krista also shares a variety of tips to help parents and families flourish in the digital age.
1:57 Take a moment to introduce our listeners to you, your family, and tell us a little about We START Now
A couple of years ago, my oldest daughter was in fifth grade. At that time, the hot Christmas gift was a smartphone and I knew that our family was not ready for a smartphone….I really became concerned about that and started reaching out asking if anybody else wanted to talk about it. What happened was it became a conversation ironically, of a close tiny group of people who started talking about this issue and it grew to 3000 people almost overnight. People who really were talking about what does it look like to give our kids smartphone. How do we get them ready for that? What age is the right age?”
START. It’s an acronym that stands for sit together and rethink technology.
5:16 What are some of the key take aways that you applied as your family began to re-think technology?
“I think that there is a very hopeful, promising movement of the next generation of parents who are beginning to say, we want to do it different and it’s gonna look a little bit more incremental.”
6:40 I read a study recently that the average U.S. household has eleven connected devices with seven of those, including screens to view content. What are some first steps and things that we can do to really begin to rethink technology?
“We try to train parents to build an internal framework within your child and that framework always starts with your values. The very first place that we always ask parents to do is to just stop and say, ‘What is it that our family lives for? What are we doing here? What at the end, when we raised our child, what things do we want them to come out with?’ We encourage families to just really pause and have a conversation about what matters most to their family. And then we help parents think about how then are my screen habits, my digital habits, how am I using those to support those values?”
“While screens have the ability to allow us to be present and live into our values, they also have the ability to interfere and so that’s the very first thing that we always recommend that families do is stop and say, ‘How can I teach my kids to use tech in a way that supports my values and doesn’t interfere with them and how can I begin to narrate that for them and articulate that for them throughout their childhood.”
10:07 What does the S of S.T.A.R.T. stand for?
“We’ve repurposed our acronym to really represent the five big things that we that we believe families can do to stay healthy when it comes to digital habits. The S stands for start with yourself….The idea there is just how are we modeling the habits that we want our kids to follow?…We are living in a digital age, you are putting on a podcast and I am doing conference calls for START and we need our screens, and so it’s not the idea that we, as adults get completely off of screens, but it’s the idea of how can I put a little bit of friction in place so that I am not accidentally just falling into habits causing me to scroll or check the news or respond to all of the group texts.”
Friction can include:
- Turn off notifications
- Move tempting apps off of your home screen
- Consider an apple watch and curate who can contact you
- Charge your phone away from your bed
16:21 What does the T in S.T.A.R.T. stand for?
“T stands for tables and bedtimes and this is the idea that as families, we need to create device free zones. Our devices need to recharge, but so do we as families. There are two places we recommend that parents could start….would be tables, so meal times… and bedrooms at night.”
“The other thing that’s great about setting device free zones for your family is that it builds muscles that they will have for the rest of their lives. Think of it like building a healthy habit.”
20:47 What does A in S.T.A.R.T stand for?
“A is accountability….We recommend that you reinforce your training with parental controls on your devices.”
“None of these devices are 100% foolproof, they are just safety nets and so your first line of defense is an open, honest relationship with your kid as they navigate the internet.”
“Be prepared and aware that accidents will happen. Our friends at Axis train parents to have an I’m not shocked face when your child comes and shows you…The last thing that you want to do when they run into something that is explicit or unsavory is to respond with shock. Which makes them feel shame. If they feel shame, then they will quit coming to you.”
“The response we like to train parents to have is to say, ‘Oh wow, tell me more. You know, we can get through this. I am here, let’s talk.’…. That’s the most important safety net you can have in place is being a safe harbor for your child to be able to come and talk to you.”
25:18 What does the R and T in S.T.A.R.T. stand for?
“During quarantine…it’s changed a little bit rhythms are your best friend.”
Example: “Make predictable times when you can be on your screen the bad guy, and then just let that be consistent.”
Example: Have “a mantra like no streaming before noon, if you have an older kid, or if your’s are younger, we sometimes will say, brain time, chores, screens outdoors.”
Example: “We find that it’s really good to chase the screen time with activity. Once they get off of their screen to have them do something to reconnect to their brain to their body.”
“There are times where you’re going to have a day where the rhythm…you can’t do it that day. But that’s just a great opportunity to give yourself grace and jump right back in there and know that when life throws you a curveball, you flex and flow and then you just jump right back in and you start playing. Don’t let perfection get in the way of just striving for a rhythm that’s predictable for your family.”
“The final T is just time well spent.”
“[Don’t] just call your kids off of screens, but call them into something better, and guide them toward meaningful activities.”
“Instead of you rescuing them [your kid] out of the boredom, let them rescue themselves through it. You will see them get to a place where they are thinking more creatively, responding constructively to the circumstances around them, and becoming innovative and curious about the world. We consider boredom time well spent. “
“One of the things that we share with parents is that it’s really important for you to take interest in what is interesting to your kids online. If you are a parent who has a child with Tick Tock or Snapchat, get in there and start a snap streak with them, get in there and make a tick talk with them. Let them see that you are interested in what they are interested in online. Learn the fortnight dances.”
“That’s our prayer that the next generation would learn habits that help them choose life and flourishing and help them stay captivated by the things that are meaningful and not just wasting.”
34:06 What about Screen Usage Impact on Work and Life Readiness?
“We really want them to be successful adults as well and I think so much of that is learning to use technology as a tool and not a toy, learning how to become self regulated with it, learning how to identify and verbalize, this is an instance when technology is really helping me to flourish versus this is an instance when technology is really causing me to be depressed or isolated.”
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“They’re going to learn how to use an iPad in five minutes. That’s never going to be a challenge for them. The challenge is going to be how to set the iPad aside, so that they can do things that only they were designed to do as humans, and to lend that gift to the world.”
38:27 How can a parent becoming involved with S.T.A.R.T.?