Did you know?
A three part series focusing on the rapid change with today’s youth and digital devices, specifically smartphones. Our goal is to help train our students and equip our parents to manage this area in healthy ways as we shift with today’s culture.
The Emotional Effects of Digital Devices and our Kids, Part 2
In recent years, studies have shown that children and teenagers today are experiencing a variety of symptoms that are very likely related to the increased use of smartphones and prolonged interaction with digital devices.
Navigating our tech filled culture is fast becoming a life skill that our kids need intentional training through. As educators, we hope to bring awareness to this area and work from within our schools to partner with parents to raise emotionally healthy young men and women.
Anxiety, depression, device addiction, poor attention spans, mood swings, irritable behavior, lack of and trouble sleeping. Plus one of the most sobering, an alarming rise in suicide and physical harming of self.
These are some of the most common and severe effects being recognized in our youth today. Many of these characteristics stem from the impact social media can have alone with some of our kids.
Loneliness, cyber bullying, low self-esteem, obesity, and inability to navigate emotions are becoming more common for the kids in our schools and homes.
The ever popular tablets, ipods, and gaming systems are also leaving our younger children with some unhealthy emotional responses when given too much screen time. While technology is connecting us in means we’ve never had before, it is also disconnecting us in profound ways. We believe that together we can educate and train up our youth to reclaim the balance between technology and our over all health.
Some intentional steps to creating a healthy digital device and smartphone environment are listed below. We encourage you to try one or more of these practices to help the youth in our community navigate their digital device, especially smartphone, habits.
- Offer age appropriate digital device usage. A variety of resources recommend waiting til at least eighth grade to distribute smartphones, for example, banding parents together to empower their kids.
- Limit device usage. Provide clear guidelines for when devices can and can not be used. 77% of youth are over-using their devices resulting in addiction, amongst other things.
- Monitor device usage. Many companies offer a protection app to help adults monitor their child’s safety over the internet and social media platforms.
- Exercise healthy device usage. Practice healthy device usage as adults, our kids are always watching and learning. Create a family media use plan.
- Seek help as device users. There is a variety of resources available to help parents navigate the digital world with our kids. Our school counseling programs are also always available for support, feel free to reach out anytime.
We understand the technology filled culture our youth are growing up in will require a consistent effort to navigate this place well. We encourage you to join us in our mission to train up emotionally and physically healthy people of tomorrow.
Contributor, Jess Hansen, is a former educator and currently a Cedar Falls district parent. An active community member alongside her husband and their five children, she is passionate about advocating for a positive learning and growing experience for all students, believing that often starts at home first.