This one is for the dads, but moms and partners listen up too. We dads need to be better at supporting you and creating an environment for our kids to learn healthy relationships with technology and for our families to spend quality time together.
I’m a dad and a husband. I started Aro because I wanted to be better for my family and I wanted my family to be better.
Joey is a dad and a husband. He joined me as co-founder because he wanted to be better personally and wanted his family to be different.
Of course, we 100% thought that the message of Aro would resonate with dads.
And it does resonate with dads, but we've also learned moms (generally) are the family tech managers and are leading the discussion on screen time. As our friends at Screen Sanity say, “screen time is the #1 battleground in most families” and moms tend to own that tension.
At a much higher rate than men, women/moms/wives are joining Aro with the goal of modeling intentionality, setting down their phones, and putting the entire family on a better path when it comes to screen time habits.
Dads, apparently we’ve got some work to do. I’ll offer four pieces of advice to the men:
1. Be Open-Minded
If you are like me, my first reaction is defensiveness when something is thrust on me… especially if you are asking me to stop doing something. Instead, view the Aro decision through the lens of your spouse and your kids. They want your attention, your presence. It’s not about you, it’s about the family. Put down your guard (and phone) and consider the intent.
2. Be Self-Aware
Let’s be honest, guys come up with harebrained ideas all the time and we expect the whole family to get on board. Like no TV night or card game Thursdays. Or, we buy something stupid. I once had a 1965 Ford F100 that sat in the garage wasting away, I bought a set of push-up bars (as if I couldn’t do push-ups without them), I have a sparkling water machine still in the box (3 years old). So next time, before reacting, consider your track record.
3. Be a Role Model
We tend to think of screen time as an issue for our kids. Sure, we want Aro to help your kids spend less time on their phones, but we also want that to result in more time with you. That means you need to be a role model for good habits and put down your phone too. Screen time is not just a kid problem, it's not a parent problem or even a spouse problem. It’s a family problem. We designed Aro so you can be a great role model for your kids and lead by example.
4. Be a Partner
I’m going to press a bit. It’s time to be an engaged, supportive partner. Maybe Aro works, maybe it doesn’t. That’s not the point. Your spouse has joined a mission with the ultimate goal of making your family better; to set your kids on a different path with devices than most other families. Honestly, she probably wants to connect more with you as well. Getting brutally honest here, I was not a good husband when my phone was in my hand 24/7. So lean in, love her, and support her.
And remember, when you put down your phone you are bestowing value on everyone around you… including yourself.