How many of us are guilty these days of having too much screen time? I know I am! Our devices and social media have a way of pulling our attention. I have noticed on two different levels how this is affecting our life at Coastal Ridge. First, I see this technology affecting the lives of adults. eMarker researched and reported in the US adults spend on average over 12 hours a day with various media. Wow! Am I spending that much time on my I-phone, computer, MP3, and watching Downton Abbey? Maybe. I do know that I see parents on their phone while their children wait for them and parents texting while they walk out of school. Should we be replacing face-time with screen-time? This research has opened my eyes to my own mistakes, so I am going to make an effort to follow the recommendations for adults and technology.
1. Respond to emails before the kids get up in the morning. That way you will be able to be present with your children before school.
2. At dinner leave the devices away from the table and spend time talking together.
3. Put devices down in the car. I notice that since I started playing Words with Friends I talk less to my husband on long car rides and spend more time looking at my phone.
4. On the weekends set aside some non-tech time. Get outside, play together, exercise.
5. No phones or devices to bed. This is one I have to work at. I began using my phone as my alarm clock but now it is tempting me to check email from bed, bad idea!
I also am seeing technology creep insidiously into the lives of our students. Students tell me about the hours they spend playing video games. I know there are many games that are education or movement based. However, students are playing Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, Halo, and many are playing hours at a time. I also know that many of our students use social media. Social media such as texting and Facebook create social environments with no emotional affect and little context. Developmentally our children are still learning to read facial expressions, affect, and understand conversational context. It can be very difficult for young children to infer and understand the context and intention of a text or online post. This can create misunderstanding and conflict which is spilling over into the school day. Promoting face to face positive interaction is the best thing we can do to help our children learn necessary social skills.
I thought this may be a helpful reminder as I have seen technology related concerns on the rise here at Coastal Ridge. I want all our students to lead healthy, active lives, with productive social interactions.
Katherine Lee put out the following recommendations and I have added a few others.
Reasons for limiting children’s technology use
• Interfere with sleep, the lights from screen can trick your brain into thinking it is day/awake time
• It may cut into family time and personal interactions
• It may interfere with school work
• It may lead to less physical activity
• It may expose kids to too much advertising and inappropriate content
• Young children have trouble inferring context and affect creating misunderstanding
Ways to limit technology
• Try to keep technology in public areas in the home
• Help your child choose a video game or a show and monitor their use for appropriate content
• Limit screen time
• Opt for alternatives to technology
CRES School Counselor
School Counseling Intern