Bring on the Balance
Technology has allowed us to do wonderous things. It's a medium for connecting, creating, collecting, and consuming - but as our phones, computers, and tablets inch their way into our world, we have to intentionally work to bring balance into our adult lives and into lives of the children we care for.
Here are 6 ideas that can help you take control of your digital technologies at home
ENJOY THINGS TOGETHER
As the number of devices in our homes grows, we're drawn into our own personalized worlds. In spite of our personal preferences, it's important and invaluable to enjoy our "TV" together. Nextflix, Youtube, and Crunchyroll are the top video consumption apps our Meadowridge students are using. Take an evening and watch something together.
TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
It may not be our phones, but rather the software on our phones that makes them feel so addictive. The buzzes, beeps, red circles, and pop ups are calling for our constant attention Turning off the notifications, reminders, and badges is a quick way to take away the attention getting power of any app.
#DeviceFreeDinner and Tech Talk Tuesday are dedicated times for real life connections and real life conversations. The possibility of extending device free zones and times is endless! Try a device free couch or a screen free afternoon. (This means you too, mom and dad!) Wherever you are, whenever it is, give your attention to the people around you and connect IRL.
You know the old adage - "failing to plan is planning to fail". Now there's no excuse! These family media guidelines are a great place to start for setting age appropriate limits, considering critical questions, and respecting family values. Take time to work with your child/children to build an agreement that includes ideas from everyone. Revisit it often and adapt it as needed. Creating an agreement will help everyone make the most of their tech time.
BRING BACK BOREDOM
Boredom seems to be a thing of the past. We turn to our phones in awkward moments (elevators) and in our in between times (lines, waiting rooms, commuting). Increasingly, we glance at our phones while working, meeting with peers, having dinner, or while driving. The loss of down time is a loss of daydreaming time - and when you let your mind wander, many great things can happen. After watching this, you'll begin to realize the power of keeping your phone in your pocket while waiting in lines. Boredom is powerful emotion and keeping yourself from feeling bored isn't a reason to reach for your phone.
These ideas, and many more, will be explored at an upcoming screening of the movie Screenagers. More information to come!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Adi Aharon has been working with school communities in an educational technology capacity for over 10 years. This is her first year as the Coordinator of Educational Technology at Meadowridge School. Adi completed her undergraduate degree with a Specialization in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Concordia University and went on to complete a Masters of Educational Technology at UBC. Driven by ensuring digital well-being for our school community, Adi works with students, teachers, and parents to uncover the hidden agendas and meanings of many of our technologies. In her spare time, you can find Adi working with a larger educational community, presenting at conferences and workshops. With two young children, she recognizes the importance of bringing balance to our technology use and lives the challenges and benefits of parenting in a digitally ubiquitous time.