Thursday, April 11, 2013

Time is the Greatest Currency

One of the most important lessons for new internet users and parents alike: time is your most precious resource. So much content, services, social tools, ect are available free of the cost of money.  The cost of your time and attention is being spent.

Time spent using electronic devices
Time spent using certain content

Learning to identify value-adding vs value-reducing time spent.

Let's start with time spent using electronic devices.  Left by themselves, most kids will use the TV, internet, or smart device indefinitely.  They might even forego a potty break than to break their attention from the device.  Where I use the word "kid", also substitute "parent", fortunately our bladders are bigger.  This lesson is relevant to any user of media.  There's more than one right way to teach this, but I find that willful surrender of the media upon rational request is essential.

  1. Establish a time-box or use based on levels played, shows watched, content consumed, defining a duration offered to use the media.  The hard part is holding yourself to them uphold their end of the bargain.  
  2. Setting the expectation that willful surrender is equally important as the duration of use.  Crying, clutching, throwing the device, or the like, results in a temporary loss of future use, for example.
  3. Pick some days of the week that are media free.  Begging and whining after a gentle reminder during media free territory also result in a temporary loss of use.
  4. I also strive to be mindful of my own media usage.  Do I convey an unintended importance toward media with my behavior? 
I am a big fan of gentle reminders.

Next up, lessons around time spent using certain content....

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