Making a Family Technology Plan for Summer and Beyond

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As the school year draws to a close, kids and parents alike are looking forward to the relaxed pace and fun activities of summer break. However, for today’s kids, less time spent in the classroom can often mean more time spent in the digital world, which can present challenges to their well-being.

A family technology plan is a set of rules and guidelines surrounding digital devices created by your family, for your family. Creating a family technology plan before the summer break can be a proactive approach to ensuring a healthy balance between screen time and other activities. It can also encourage digital safety habits that your child can continue to practice for years to come. Overall, it holds all family members (including the adults!) accountable to healthier practices surrounding digital technology. 

Read on for a guide to creating your family’s personalized technology plan!

The 5 Ws 

One way to approach your family technology plan is by applying “the 5 Ws” to technology in your home. These are who, what, when, where, and why.


While some rules can be followed by all family members, other rules may be different based on the age and needs of each person. Some “who” questions to answer while building your family technology plan may include:

  • Who is allowed to use which devices/platforms/sites?
  • Who is old enough to use social media and which platforms are they allowed to use? 
  • Who needs access to digital technology for school, work, or extracurricular activities? 
  • Who are we allowed to contact via text, social media, or video call? 
  • Who must children ask for permission to use certain devices, download apps, buy something online, or sign up for websites?


It is important to be specific about what rules apply to specific devices and platforms. Some “what” questions to answer while building your family technology plan may include:

  • What chores or tasks need to be done before we can spend time using our digital devices for fun?
  • What kinds of sites or materials are okay to access online, and what kinds are not appropriate?
  • What kinds of things should kids tell an adult about if they see it while online?
  • What parental control apps or software will we use to restrict and monitor our children’s internet access? (If you choose to do so)
  • What information is safe to share and what should never be shared with others online? 
  • What information should be used to sign up for websites and accounts? (Consider a shared family email address and/or password keeper that the adults can easily access.)
  • What sites, shows, movies, games, etc. do we all like and can use or watch together? (Consider prioritizing time for these shared fun activities.)


An important part of creating any family technology plan is to set rules around time management. Some “when” questions to answer while building your family technology plan may include:

  • When is it okay to use digital devices, and when is it not allowed? (For example, you may decide that all family members will agree to not use devices during dinner or after bedtime.) 
  • When should we know we’ve been having screentime for too long and need to take a break?


You may find it necessary to set some boundaries regarding digital devices and space. Some “where” questions to answer while building your family technology plan may include:

  • Where in the home is it okay to use digital devices, and where is it not allowed? (For example, you might decide that devices like phones and tablets are not allowed in the bathroom or bedrooms)
  • Where should devices be stored/charged when not in use?
  • Where outside the home are we allowed to bring devices, and where should we not bring them?


It is important that the adults in the family have an open and ongoing discussion with the kids about why having a family technology plan is important. Some “why” questions to ask and discuss with your children while building your family technology plan may include:

  • Why is it healthy to limit our screentime? 
  • Why is it important to protect our personal information online?
  • Why are certain sites/devices/platforms okay for children and why are others not?
  • Why do we want to use specific sites/devices/platforms and what are the pros and cons of each? 
  • Why do we follow certain technology rules in our family, even if they are different from other families’ rules?

Once you’ve established your family technology plan, the last step is to make sure it is easily accessible to all family members for reference. This could be via a poster on the wall in the home, a shared Word document/Google doc, or a family group chat. Be open to discussing and altering the plan as children grow older or other circumstances change. 

With a family technology plan in place, all that’s left to do is enjoy a relaxing, healthy, and fun summer break!