Is there an activity you think about doing when you are not doing it?
For example, I play tennis, and sometimes I find myself thinking about playing my next tennis game; serving the ball, or hitting a return. Does that sound like something you would be concerned about?
What if I told you that there are times I think about playing a video game when I am not playing one? Is it a little more concerning?
Modern technology has a hold on all of us from time to time. Notifications alert us to when new messages or comments arrive. This can be useful, but often the emails that show up in my inbox are marketing a service or business. Apps on our smart phones default to show all notifications when they are installed.
This is why new phones and new apps will give you notifications that seem to never stop.
Websites, apps, and social media need to have us constantly checking their services because they make money based on the number of views they receive. These companies work with social psychologists to make their apps “sticky”, or hard-to-quit.
When you respond to a notification, your brain receives a small dose of dopamine, and that dopamine feels good. It feels so good your brain wants to keep feeling it. As with any addiction, your brain will direct you to fill its need. When you keep giving into the desire for that dopamine hit, it gets harder and harder to quit – like an addiction. It is no wonder that beginning in 2017, Video Game Addiction was added to the appendix of the American Psychiatric Association’s periodical “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (Marcos 2017).
As the PYP Technology Coach here at OYIS, I often talk with teachers and administration about the amount of time students are spending online at school. I often wonder how much time they spend online at home after school as well.
In the article, The Growing Case for Social Media Addiction, the author, Jeanne Ricci (2017) gives us five ways to curb technology addiction. The titles are the author’s, and I added commentary.
Talk with your child about technology use. Ask them what they do online. Ask them what apps they use. Have a conversation about how you use technology and tell them honestly what you think about technology. Talk to your children about the good and the bad about what technology brings.
Decide on where in your house technology can be used. Can you use technology at the kitchen table? Can you use it hidden away in bedrooms? When is an OK time to use technology? Can you use it while you are eating? Is it OK to use technology just before bedtime? Together with your child, think about the best places and times to use technology.
This article also lists a nice resource to create a family plan together with your child.
Another way to think about screen hygiene is to think about how you model technology usage for your children. Think deeply about the behaviors your child see you displaying when you are using technology. Do what you want your child to do.
Find other activities that you can do to fill your time that are not technology-based. Encourage your child to do the same. Technology is a great tool, but it is also important to find the balance with other activities.
Those annoying notifications just do not stop and sometimes the way to turn off the notifications can be like finding a needle in a haystack, sometimes buried deep within the menus of the System Settings. Turn as many off as you can early. If you miss some and you start getting notifications often, do an internet search to find a solution. If you still cannot find an answer, feel free to contact me, or have your child ask me at school.
Social Media addiction is a serious problem, but by following the above strategies you can evade the hook.
Marcos, Angie. “Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?”. CSU Leader Newsletter, 2017, https://www.calstate.edu/csu-system/news/Pages/are-you-addicted-to-your-smartphone.aspx.
“Persuasive Technology 101 | Time To Log Off”. Time To Log Off, 2022, https://www.itstimetologoff.com/2022/04/04/persuasive-technology-introduction/.
Ricci, Jeanne. “The Growing Case For Social Media Addiction”. CSU Leader Newsletter, 2017, https://www.calstate.edu/csu-system/news/Pages/Social-Media-Addiction.aspx.
Studying, completing assessments, sitting the exams. Sometimes students may wonder if that is all there is to the IB Diploma Programme. This question can especially arise at the beginning of the DP, as the concept and focus of learning gradually moves away from the mostly inquiry, project-based MYP Programme.