Mothers Unite to Stall Technology is a grassroots initiative aimed at stalling the progression of technology for our children via a pact created by the mothers of the class. Ideally, this will result in the delay of ownership of phones, internet capable devices and texting. For children who already use a phone or text, the initiative can delay use of smartphones and tablets. The common goal of all mothers who join M.U.S.T. is to join together to maintain the status quo so that their children's use and dependence on technology doesn't progress to the next step. The details of the pact that will be adopted is entirely at the discretion of the parent body in each particular class.
The first step is for all mothers of a particular class to get together and assess the current technology habits of the class. The most effective mode of communication would be to meet in person. but can also be done via email, text, or telephone.
The mothers can then create a pact that aims to "freeze" those patterns of use and get a consensus of all mothers not to allow their children to advance in their use of technology.
Below is a sample text to use if your preferred contact method will be through digital communication. Feel free to change as you see fit.
"Kids get smart phones and iPods because of peer pressure. The longer we can stall and hold off, the better off our kids will be!! Let's take the peer pressure off our kids! Moms?? Can we do this together? We can change our kids' lives!! Let's get on the same page and create a pact that works for our kids' class, so we can remove the intense peer pressure associated with technology! "
*Please keep in mind, that there may be many differing viewpoints and opinions; everyone should be heard and treated respectfully.
For a sample email to send to parents, please click below.
You may be wondering if it would be better for you to create a pact that is less cautious but covers the needs of all the kids in the class, or to create a pact that is more prudent, but will only fully apply to the majority of the class?
This is a common question, and is usually resolved successfully. However, it is better dealt with on a case-by-case basis. As each class situation is unique, please reach out to us for assistance should this issue arise.
The most ideal pact is called "The Preferred Pact." Whenever feasible, this pact is preferred as it shields the kids from any unwanted phone or internet use and creates a powerful positive peer pressure among mothers, as well as the children, in the class.
These are the suggested guidelines:
1. No personal ownership of devices with internet capabilities including, but not limited to, iPods, iPads, iPhones, smart watches, androids, kindles, etc., even if they are fully blocked and restricted.
2. If the child is using a family shared device:
a) It should be filtered and password-protected; the child needs to ask permission before using it; their usage should be closely monitored.
b) Children may not participate in social media of any kind, nor group chats via text or WhatsApp - even on a parent's phone or tablet.
The above is simply an example of the most prudent and cautious pact that has been implemented in many classes across the country. However, there are myriad other pacts that can be devised and tailor-made according to the class's needs.
Once you and fellow mothers have decided that the Preferred Pact is not realistic for your class, you can customize a pact that suits your class's needs. The pact should not aim to reverse progression of technology, but, rather, to "freeze" the class at its current level of use so as to "stall" its progression.
This makes the choice of pact relatively straightforward- simply set it at the current level of use, and agree not to proceed to the next level.
Although there are innumerable options, these are a few suggestions to be included in class pacts:
a) No advancement to the next device [i.e., if they have ipods with internet capability, you all agree not to buy smartphones.]
b) No social media
c) No participation in group chats
d) No internet browsers
e) An agreed-upon filter installed by a professional
f) Acceptable apps approved by the parents
g) Implementation of agreed-upon parental restriction on the device
h) Shut-off times (For example, a 9th grade class incorporated into their pact that the devices will be turned over to the parents at 11:00pm every night.)
i) Not to allow phones/devices to be kept in the child's bedroom
j) Making a contract between parents and child regarding their technology use.
Click below for sample contract.
There are classes in Kindergarten all the way through High School that are currently participating in M.U.S.T. - a child is never too young or too old to join.
It is never too early to start; on the contrary, the earlier you begin, the easier it will be to create an ideal pact that is agreeable to everyone. The best results are achieved when mothers create positive peer pressure BEFORE any children in the class become accustomed to a particular practice.
Once a pact has been agreed upon by the class parents, one parent can act as a representative on behalf of the class and register as an ambassador on the site. Subsequently, they should register the class using the brief form found in the menu above, under the "Register Your Class" tab.
While some adults are technologically savvy and feel comfortable filtering their children's devices, it is highly recommended that the parents contact an expert to be sure the device is properly filtered.
TAG offers these services, free of charge, and can be accessed online at taghelpline.org or at (718) 717-8241.
For those in or near the Five Towns/Far Rockaway area, Smart Connections offers these services as well. They can be reached at (516) 247-1907 or at smartconnectionsny.com.
Ideally, twice a year. Once around the month of June, at the end of the school year, and once again in December, a few months into the new term.
It will be of greatest benefit to your child if the pact remains unchanged for as long as possible.