Digital Well-Being Guidelines

girls-watching-video-through-a-laptop

In this unprecedented time, technology has become part of our social fabric in a deeper, more intimate way than ever before.
For many of us, technology has been a social lifeline. Unfortunately, our increased reliance on technology doesn’t diminish the challenges and dangers it poses.

QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:

  • What thought, feeling, or impulse led you to pick up your device?
  • As you scroll through your feed, what kind of thoughts come up?
  • What kind of emotions comes up?
  • What happens to your breathing?
  • How does your heart feel?

Make an effort to use technology as a tool instead of an end in itself.
When using technology, let’s communicate the “why” to our children and ask them to communicate theirs.

Reflection:

  • Why am I reaching for my device?
  • How is this technology really enhancing my life?
  • Is this technology serving as a successful substitute for something lacking during the pandemic (i.e. exercise or education)?
  • Am I being a tech role model?
  • When I am mindlessly using technology, am I taking ownership of that with my family?
  • Am I engaging in “slot-machine” behaviour? e.g. Endlessly scrolling for the occasional emotional reward? Repeatedly checking my likes to see how many there are, or who liked my post?
  • What values does this content/game teach?
  • How can I use what I am consuming as a source of inspiration for creating something of my own?
  • What am I learning?
  • What is my reason for posting? How would it feel if no one likes this post?
  • What am I losing as I’m gaining this convenience? Is it worth it?
  • Is this time well spent?
  • What’s the non-tech way to do this thing I’m doing right now? (e.g. journaling or meditating without an app)
  • How does my own tech usage as a parent make my children feel?
  • Did I connect with the people I wanted to this week?
  • Did I put the effort and energy into the work, play, social time, activities, and sleep that I intended to dedicate myself to?
  • Is my current time management strategy working for me and my family?
  • Is this conversation best for text or should I call or FaceTime this person?
  • Do I want to share this with everyone on social media or a select few?
  • How long did it actually take to have that text conversation, and how much was my attention interrupted in that time?
  • Is this digital environment working for me or my family?
  • Is this screen time really for them or for me?
  • Are we creating screen-free zones and times in our home?
  • What kind of call or online socializing should we engage in?
  • ow is this going to improve my life?
  • What value does this bring me as a human being?
  • What skills might I be giving up as I use technology to do this?
  • What personal information am I comfortable posting, considering it could be sold to advertisers?
  • How are the apps and services I use trying to keep me as a user?

Remember that many social media products are trying to get you hooked on sharing information about yourself.
They make billions of dollars by analyzing your data and your behaviour with powerful supercomputers, selling those insights to advertisers who want to sell products to you and your friends.
The advertisers are the real customer, and unfortunately, you are the product being sold to them.

Remind yourself and your kids of this. Help your kids notice what addictive techniques these apps use.

As parents, it’s good to be honest with ourselves: Are our children using tech for their benefit or for ours, such as getting work done or catching a breath? If it’s really for our benefit, that’s ok – managing parental stress is a huge part of parenting in a pandemic! But also try to encourage kids to play by themselves or with a sibling not using a screen, so screens aren’t the only default.

Sometimes, the speed of our internet or the devices available to us is simply not compatible with the homework or tasks being assigned to us. Some parents are deciding that it’s just not worthwhile for themselves or their children to engage in certain aspects of online learning/working that are not conducive for their lifestyle or anxiety levels during this time. If deciding to abandon a task all together for reasons like these, it can be helpful to communicate what’s happening with those providing the assignments.

Many schools and work environments will be more flexible during this pandemic than they might have been before.

Thinking of their day as an empty glass, they should fill it with the essentials; enough sleep to grow and avoid getting sick, school, time to spend outdoors, play, socialize, do homework, and to sit down for one meal a day together as a family.

Instead of trying to remove all screens from our lives, consider the type of activity you and your children are doing on screens. For example, creating or being in the conversation is often better for well-being than passively scrolling or consuming others’ content.

 

(Credits to humanetech.com)