Balancing Digital Usage
Balancing our screen time can be a trick for adults and kids. Because digital media is so useful and engaging—and so good at holding our attention—it can be tempting to use it all the time. These tools often interfere with other important activities (like sleeping, eating meals with family, spending time with friends, and participating in physical activity). Youths in the US average 44.5 hours per week using electronic media.
A 2010 study of university students shows how social media can be an asset and a risk:
Online social media (such as Facebook) actually facilitated offline activities with friends.
At the same time, for every one one-hour increase on a social networking sight, there was a .05 decrease in GPA.(1)
Nearly 23% of youth report that they feel "addicted to video games" (31% of males)(2). Users with a “compulsive Internet habit, . . . exhibit a higher incidence of moderate to severe depression than non-addicted users.” (3)
How can youth learn to balance digital usage?
Educators are in a unique position to help students consider these important ideas:
How screen time can limit other, more important activities and possibly overwhelm real life.
How to realistically assess the amount of time they spend using digital media.
Help them decide ahead of time what is healthy.
Help them understand how media can overwhelm real life.
Use digital media for what it’s good for.
Social media sites are great for communicating to large numbers of people at the same time, in a way that’s traceable. For older students, this can be a good way to coordinate with students and communicate education plans.
Access to Resources
Many students come to school bearing a powerful computer in their pockets; why not use this tremendous resource to support learning? See some of the many resources available online for engaging kids in learning to use digital media.
Encourage students to use entertainment media after other important activities of life are completed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to recommend that children and teens use no more than two hours per day of screen time, and that parents create an "electronic media-free" environment in children's bedrooms. While educators cannot enforce this, they can empower parents by reminding them they
addiction, pornography addiction, virtual worlds, video games, online gaming, social networking
RESOURCES AND LINKS:
* Morrison PhD, Catronia, “Link Between Excessive Internet Use and Depression,” Psychopathology Feb 2010.
* “Video Game Addiction: Is It Real?”, Harris Interactive, 2007.
* Psychopathology Feb 2010.
*American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement
* Mobile apps for educators take advantage of students’ smart phones:SageMilk.com
* University of New England, “Mobile apps aim to give students a personalized learning experience
1. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol 00, Num. 00, 2010.
2. "Video Game Addiction: Is it Real?" Harris Interactive. Retrieved 1 February 2011 from http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NEWS/allnewsbydate.asp?NewsID=1196[Harris Interactive, 2007.]
3. Psychopathology Feb 2010.
C3 Framework: Promoting Responsible Use This document points out that school policies and instruction often do not include all Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity (C3) topics. In some cases this causes schools to miss the mark when it comes to C3 issues and how they correlate with human behavior. It goes in depth about C3 issues to help readers better understand this topic.
Faux Paw Curriculum Faux Paw the Websurfing Techno Cat series has been created by a team of leading child psychologists, educators, and law enforcement. This engaging curriculum—complete with books, animated DVDs, and lesson plans—will captivate the attention of your students and teach them how to appropriately conduct themselves online and in the digital space. Take advantage of these proven and valuable assets in your classroom today.
Project Look Sharp Provides materials, training and support to help teachers integrate media literacy into their classroom curricula.
Workshop: Raising Kids in a Digital World (Middle and Highschool) This presentation is designed to help facilitate a parent education event with parents of elementary school students. It includes power point and talking points.