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 "dumb" 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 assess the current technology habits of the class. We can make this step easier by sending the ambassador a customized anonymous survey to be filled out by all moms in the class. This will provide the class with the most current and realistic info regarding the class's technology use and ensure that a suitable pact is created.
The mothers can then collectively create a pact that either aims to "stall" ownership of personal devices if the kids in the class do not yet have them; or, they can create a pact tailored for kids that already have their own personal devices that aims to "freeze" (or "pause") those patterns of use and create a consensus of all mothers not to allow their children to advance in their use of technology.
The most effective mode of communication to create this kind of pact would be at an in-person gathering attended by all the moms of the class. [Please keep in mind, that there may be many differing viewpoints and opinions; everyone should be heard and treated respectfully.]
In cases where a Preferred Pact (see definition 2 questions down) will be implemented, this can be done without meeting in person. Phonecalls are still ideal, as it prevents any misunderstandings about the initiative; however, when not possible, email or text is acceptable.
We have assembled a collection of sample emails/texts to be used to introduce either pact to your fellow moms should your preferred method of introduction be via digital communication. Feel free to change them as you see fit.
For a sample text/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.
3. No Screen time during get-togethers.
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 "pause" 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) No screen time during get-togethers
f) An agreed-upon filter installed by a professional
g) Acceptable apps approved by the parents
h) Implementation of agreed-upon parental restriction on the device
i) Shut-off times (For example, a 7th grade class incorporated into their pact that the devices will be turned in to the parents at 9:30pm every night.)
j) Not to allow phones/devices to be kept in the child's bedroom
There are classes in Kindergarten all the way through 8th grade that are currently participating in M.U.S.T. - a child is never too young or too old to join throughout their years in elementary school.
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 digital habit.
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, and can be accessed online at taghelpline.org or at 347-878-8241.
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.
There should be a renewal every year at the beginning of the school year. If a class remains largely intact the following year, a confirmation message can be sent in the first week of school. This can be a simple email or text asking the mothers in the class if they are agreeable to continue the pact for another year.
It is wise to send out a reminder at key times of the year- ideally prior to any gift-giving season. This can be done twice during the year in addition to the yearly renewal. It will be of greatest benefit to your child if the pact remains unchanged for as long as possible.
Copyright © 2018 M.U.S.T. - Mothers Unite to Stall Technology - All Rights Reserved.
Be a class act. Make a class pact.