Fairfax County Public Schools is engaging in Digital Citizenship Week from Oct. 21-25, 2019. This year’s theme is Media Balance and Well-Being: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Your Technology. Information focused on developing healthy habits around technology use will be shared with students throughout the week.
To support students in developing an internal sense of "media balance," lessons prompt students to reflect on the different feelings and emotions that arise when they engage in activities that involve digital media (streaming TV shows, playing online games, and so on). Some students may need additional support and practice in recognizing and interpreting these emotions. For example, prolonged social media use may result in a mix of positive and negative emotions. Students will need to think through these different emotional reactions to eventually draw conclusions about what "balanced" use means for them.
Students and families are encouraged to practice media balance by taking a break from screens to engage in real-world experiences and quality time with their friends and family.
Here are a few ideas to try at home:
Have a device-free dinner and focus on connecting as a family.
Take on a Phone-Free Day challenge as a family and commit to leaving the phone off or at home when family members go to school or work. Notice how the day changes and discuss the benefits and challenges together.
Have a family board game night instead of playing video games or watching TV.
Make a phone call or write a letter to a family member or friend instead of sending a text or email.
Spend time outside as a family and leave the phone behind (or off).
In lessons on this topic, experts do not use the term "addiction" in reference to device or digital media use. While kids and adults are using their devices a lot – and research even says some feel "addicted" – there's no official diagnosis for "device addiction" or consensus around what this phrase means.
The line between healthy and harmful use varies person to person and context to context with evidence showing that already vulnerable teens, for instance, are more likely to exhibit unhealthy use of media. Research shows both positive and negative impacts of everything from social media to games. The curriculum on digital citizenship encourages students to reflect on their own media diets and to develop individual plans for healthy media balance that consider both how media contributes productively and unproductively to their lives and relationships.
Source: Digital Citizenship Curriculum www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship/curriculum?topic=media-balance--well-being