7 habits of highly effective cyberparents

Balance your online and real-life connections with these simple tips

1. Set a timer: The shrill bell will jolt you out of your online stupor and help you to transition to another activity.  
2. Go in with a plan: Draw up lists and target specific followers/friends. Then sign off after you’ve made that contact.

3. Stay away from the games: It’s incredibly easy to get sidetracked on social media sites. If you’re not careful, you will end up frittering away hours on FarmVille or Angry Birds.

4. Choose “dead” time to tweet and text: In waiting rooms, parking lots, airports, train stations, during public-transit commutes — these otherwise idle moments not only add up, but are typically solo time, so no one is being neglected.

5. Keep it real: If there’s a golden rule of using social media sites, this is it. Even if you connect with only one person, make it count and be genuine. When pressed for time, opt for quality over quantity, always.

6. Make rules, then keep them: Set up boundaries within your family (for example, no phones during dinner) and ensure you are fully engaged with your partner and kids during those times.

7. Be present for events: Turn off social media when you’re at an important game or when you pick up your kids from school. Clearly communicate your availability to outsiders beforehand, then be either completely “on” or “off.”

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