Balancing Digital Usage

Definition

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:

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:


Use digital media for what it’s good for.

Broad Communication
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

RELATED ISSUES:
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

WORKS CITED
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.

Prevention

Document 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.

URL 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.

URL Project Look Sharp Provides materials, training and support to help teachers integrate media literacy into their classroom curricula.

URL 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.

Detection & Intervention

URL BullyBust by the National School Climate Center (NSCC) This site provides excellent resources for educators to promote upstander behavior. Materials include: Discussion questions, activities, handouts, and NSCC's Best Practices

URL Facebook: Security Department/ Custodian of Records Designed for law enforcement, the site provides the contact info for Facebook-- specifically regarding subpoena requests.

URL 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.

URL Interdisciplinary Response to Youths Sexting. This article offers recommendations concerning sexting from the Youth Online Safety Working Group (including NCMEC.

URL Search: The Online Resource for Justice and Public Safety Decision Makers This site provides contact information for many web 2.0 companies and ISPs.

URL TextEd A Canadian Web site that educates about text messaging. Contains an "Acronictionary" that defines many text message acronyms.

URL The Teen Sexting Problem and What Schools Can Do about It The article briefly discusses why sexting is problem among young people, but focuses on how schools can prevent and respond to sexting incidents.

Incident Management & Response

URL Blog: Cyberbullying Research Center This blog discusses how to keep kids safe from online harassment and victimization.

URL CyberBullying: US Dept of Healthy & Human Services campaign to prevent bullying This website offers games and scenarios designed to help children learn to safely handle bullying situations.

URL 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.

URL Search: The Online Resource for Justice and Public Safety Decision Makers This site provides contact information for many web 2.0 companies and ISPs.