Chapter 12: Shifting the Culture: Policy, Practice and Research toward Healthy Family Technology Use

12.3 Learning Activities

Integrating research, practice, and policy

Consider one of the topics in the list below. A) Suggest a clear research question related to the topic, indicating at least two dimensions of technology use and specifying the family processes and/or outcomes being studied by the research. Be sure to include ideas from early in the book about our understanding of family dynamics and of technology use. B) Identify ways in which a practitioner would make use of that research with families. How might we see that professionals employ that knowledge from the research in practice? C) Finally, considering the type of practitioner and/or the research, indicate the role played by policy or an organization to provide support to that practitioner on that topic. Be as specific as possible.

  • College students communicating with their parents using texting.
  • Fathers and their sons playing videogames together
  • Schools using online platforms to share grades and school information with parents.
  • New mothers using Facebook to gather information about infant feeding.
  • Couples using a money management app for their household finances.

Family Impact Seminar brief

The Family Impact Seminar process is an amazing way for professionals and citizens to inform policy makers on issues related to families. Research impact reports are created that summarize issues and identify potential policy issues. See, for example, this list from the Purdue Family Impact Seminar.

You’ll notice that there’s no topic related to technology.

  • Create an outline for a Family Impact Seminar research brief on technology and the family. Consider what background research you’d include and the policy areas you would promote. OR
  • Review the existing topics. Would you enhance any of them with research or policy recommendations related to technology?

Policy formation

Policy making is not for the faint of heart. It takes a deliberative, evidenced, collaborative process to articulate policy clearly, and with enough information to guide implementation. Policy implementation takes leadership, communication, and ongoing assessment to ensure that all elements and players are fulfilling policy tasks. Review the chapters in the book and the topics covered. From what you’ve read, as a group, identify an issue around which policy would be created. You may want to take on different roles — for example, if you are setting technology for a school, your roles may be that of school board member, principle, teacher, student, and parents.

  1. What is the topic?
  2. What is the level of policy? (For whom is the policy proposed?)
  3. What are the conditions the policy is intended to affect? Will this set well politically with all players and among those involved with and influenced by the policy?
  4. What are the realistic policy actions? Now refine what you’ve written to make them cost-effective, time-efficient, and with the biggest payoff for the most people.
  5. How will the policy be implemented?
  6. How will you know the policy is successful? What might you learn that will help you revise implementation or elements of the policy?

Context-specific Policy formation

This article from BBC describes a village in India that mandates a time each day when TV and the internet is turned off. This is to encourage family time. According to the article,

“We decided at the village meeting on 14 August – the eve of India’s Independence Day – that we needed to stop this addiction,” Vijay Mohite, president of the village council, told BBC Hindi. “From the next day, all television sets and mobiles were shut down when the siren went off.”

What kind of technology policy might a group or jurisdiction you are part of, enact?

As a group, identify a jurisdiction you are familiar with – your home town, your high school, the company you work for, the sports team you play with. Each person take a role: parent, employee, director, player, owner, etc. In your role, is there a socially progressive policy regarding technology that would benefit the whole group, and of course, you? As a group discuss policy options until you land on one you all agree on.

Using the guidelines for consideration from the activity above, identify the purpose for the policy (what are you trying to change? improve? ) and then what it might require to implement such a policy – again so that each member of the team/organization/town/high school or whatever can follow it?


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Critical Perspectives on Technology and the Family Copyright © 2022 by Susan K. Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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