How Parents Can Demonstrate Healthy Technology Habits to Their Children

By Sarah Norwood

I remember when my parents were the most important people in my world. Everything they did and said, I wanted to repeat. I watched them religiously, which was my first method of learning: Observation. Children do most of their learning through observation and imitation, and it’s amazing what they can pick up on by simply watching their environment. Even when you don’t think your children are paying attention, they are watching your every move (Comforting, eh? You might want to relocate your chocolate stash more regularly). That being said, it may be time for you to ask yourself “What kind of technology habits am I modeling for my child?”

Here are three suggestions to help you demonstrate healthy tech habits to your children:

  • Put your phone down. This one sounds obvious, but it’s so important! It’s easy to unintentionally treat your phone like another limb and putting it down can almost seem unnatural. Set your phone down and make eye contact during conversations with your children, spouse, and friends. Make a point to leave your phone elsewhere when putting your kids to bed, giving them a bath, and during mealtime so that you can engage in meaningful conversations with your children. Dinner conversations can be critical opportunities in educating your children, learning about their biggest concerns, and building strong family relationships. Family dinner has other essential benefits such as improving resilience in children, improving vocabulary in preschool children, lowering risks of depression, and much more (The Family Dinner Project, 2021).
  • Be authentic. Take time to examine your presence on social media vs reality. The culture of social media pushes a presentation of perfection, which can convey a need to be perfect or altered in some way in order to gain acceptance from peers. Make sure to explain to your child that social media does not always represent reality and that comparison is the thief of joy (Be sure to remind yourself of this as well—you don’t have to be perfect!). 

It is also worth your time to show your kids how and what you are posting online and through social media. If an argument arises or someone says something rude about a comment or post you’ve made, discuss with your child how to honestly and thoughtfully respond. It is also important to show your kids the honest, interesting things you are posting. Also, don’t forget to ask your child if they are okay with you sharing something they said or their photo on social media. 

  • Consider your social etiquette. Have you ever heard of “phubbing”? According to, it means “to ignore (a person or one’s surroundings) when in a social situation by busying oneself with a phone or other mobile device.” Be honest—you’ve done it (You just didn’t know there was a word for it). Think about the way it looks to a child when you turn to your device to busy yourself in an uncomfortable or boring situation. Kids need to see what healthy social interactions look like, and they need to know that it’s okay to talk to people while they wait in line at the post office! Consider how you can interact with those in your immediate surroundings (no phubbing), especially if those people are your children.

Remember, our kids learn so much by simply observing their parents. Take this amazing opportunity to set the example and teach your child healthy tech habits and how to be a real force for good when they are online. You’re not going to be perfect at this—no one is! However, the most important thing to remember is that you are showing your kids how to build connections and use technology as a tool, not as a pacifier that may lead to isolation.

For great opportunities to create meaningful connections with your kids and have amazing discussions about technology, media, social issues, and other timely topics, check out our book Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age.

Sarah Norwood is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho majoring in Marriage and Family Studies. After graduating, she plans to earn a master’s degree in Counseling. Her hobbies include reading, learning, and eating delicious food. She and her husband live in Texas where they enjoy spending time together and exploring the outdoors.


Benefits of family dinners. The Family Dinner Project. (2021, January 28). (n.d.). Phub definition & meaning. 

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