#1 Technology tip for Parents after 20+ Years

Parents must proactively address the fact we are living in an increasingly digital world. Personally, I’ve worked in K-12 education technology for just over 20 years now and the #1 tip I have is this:
All personal technology devices (laptops, iPads, mobile phones, tablets, [insert name of the next thing to be invented], etc.) must be stored out of children’s reach every night. Period.
This single strategy alone promotes healthy habits, defines appropriate roles, clarifies boundaries, ensures adequate rest, and more.
Always remember PARENTS are in CHARGE and get to make & enforce the house rules, therefore, you run the house and all technology inside of it.
What tip might you offer today’s parents?

Lessons from vacation: Tech in paradise? (blame the adults)

While enjoying a rare technology free vacation at a Mexican resort recently, I was struck by the apparently distorted relationship both children and adults had with digital devices. In fact, parents were worse and it’s their fault.

Adults were “modeling” incessant technology use at the beach, poolside, in the pool, at the restaurant, etc. Basically, adults were using technology everywhere & all the time.

If you’ve ever spent a week at an all-inclusive resort you understand that you see many of the same people for an entire week and it was obvious who was addicted to the constant checking of Facebook updates, text messages, etc. I am not exaggerating when I state well over half of the adults in my line of sight at any given time were using a smartphone or tablet.

What the heck are we (adults) doing?

What the heck are we (parents) teaching our children?

Parents Digital Actions Speak Louder than words

A parent’s digital actions speak much louder than their words.

I appreciate using technology to communicate when needed in certain situations.  And I appreciate enjoying games or being “social” with others by using technology.  But choosing to use technologies should be done intentionally – not out of ‘habit’.

I recall how wonderful my vacation time with my family was. I truly, truly enjoyed them. Most of all, I enjoyed being fully PRESENT with them.

I wonder how much joy technology-distracted parents forfeited at that same resort because they felt they ‘needed’ to keep up with the latest friend request, tweet, or perhaps fear of “missing and email”?

Sad for them.

“Men have become the tools of their tools.” Henry David Thoreau

Here’s another example… at my daughter’s middle school sporting event I couldn’t help but wonder how much certain parents were missing because they were CONSTANTLY taking pictures and videos (read: they were not really ‘present’). How many pictures do you really need? How many hours of video are you going to watch? Choose how you invest your time at these events wisely.

It’s ironic that their pursuit of “capturing” the moment actually robbed them of fully experiencing it in the first place.

Parents must DECIDE and define what a healthy relationship with technology means and model that for their children:

When is it acceptable to use technology and when is it not?
For how long?
For what purpose?

Just because we ‘can’ doesn’t mean we ‘should’.


Lessons from vacation: 7 Days without technology

1995 was the last time I went 7 straight days without technology. No internet. No social media. No texting. Nada. Here’s what one ‘tech free’ week recently taught me:


It’s easy to break the technology “habit” when…

  • You are intentional about doing so
  • You can count on your team back at work
  • You have provided emergency contact information to folks back home in case of emergencies

I missed technology when…

  • I wanted to enrich my experience by learning more about something (animal, weather patterns, historical marker, etc.)
  • I reached for my iPhone out of habit – no reason – just a habit.


I learned…

  • I do not need technology
  • I benefit from technology
  • I LOVED feeling connected to my wife and family without distraction
  • 535 emails upon my return didn’t make a bit of difference in the scope of my life
    • 95 minutes to delete/file/forward all but 84 of those emails
    • New approach – I started ignoring email all but twice per day. (Think about it… if I can eliminate 84% of a week’s worth of emails in an hour and a half, my productivity should increase dramatically by intentionally ignoring email until focused time. I’ll keep you posted.)
  • Social Media went on without me and I did not need to ‘catch up’

When was the last time you were without technology for a “long time” and what did you learn?


[Video] How to know if you have a weak password and what to do about it

Why am I holding a dictionary and what the heck is the password “SWITCHAROO“?

I made this short video for you that teaches one simple way to know if you have a weak password and, more importantly, what to do about it. Allow me to introduce one of the oldest password tricks in the book, the “SWITCHAROO”:

Or should I say, the “SW1TCH3R00“?

What is your favorite password tip?