Making Digital Well-Being a Habit

Practical tips for parents and tech companies when it comes to kids digital health. By Elizabeth Galicia
Making Digital Well-Being a Habit

Digital well-being is about making sure that we have control, understanding, and trust when it comes to the role tech plays in our lives. It's about asking ourselves, as parents, as educators, as consumers, and as kids: Is this technology making my life easier or distracting me from what's really important?

From keeping certain times screen-free to using new parental controls, families have some ways to control their digital well-being. But what about the powerful companies, engineers, designers, and digital ad makers who work to create products that monetize our attention?

Check out our tips below to see the ways you, and the companies behind your screens, can take action to protect families' digital well-being (and share them with a friend). You can learn more about our efforts to see tech reforms on your behalf at commonsense.org/digital-well-being.

WHAT FAMILIES CAN DO

These simple steps can establish healthy habits and boost your family's digital well-being.

  • Create screen-free times and zones. Help your kids take breaks from their tech by limiting screen time in bedrooms, while studying, or at the dinner table.
  • Try parental controls. Set content limits that make sense for your family. Check the settings on apps your kids use to keep personal information private.
  • Establish clear family rules. Decide together what kind of media and tech is OK -- and when it's OK to use it. A family media plan can help get everyone on the same page.
  • Practice digital citizenship. Talk about what it takes to stay safe and be responsible online, including tackling real-life challenges like privacy and digital drama.
  • Watch and play together. Choose quality, age-appropriate media to enjoy with your kids. Visit commonsensemedia.org to find TV shows, games, and more.

WHAT TECH COMPANIES CAN DO

Technology has already revolutionized how our kids learn and play. Now companies have a responsibility to build products with their youngest users in mind.

  • Design humane products. More moderators, smarter algorithms, and ethical design can help ensure that our kids have access to quality, trustworthy content.
  • Prioritize parental controls. Companies should make strong privacy settings the default and make sure family-management tools are easy to find and use.
  • Protect our data. Companies should always notify users and ask permission before sharing, selling, or using people's personal data.
  • Call out fake news. We need to know where our news is coming from. Platforms should label nonhuman accounts (aka bots) and clarify whether content is factual.
  • Don't target kids with ads. Children's time and attention should never be used for profit.
  • Fund independent research. We need more research to inform product design and determine how media and tech use affects children's healthy development.

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