Do we need to improve our digital diet? Are we all spending more and more time connected to the digital world than the real world? What impact is that having on us all, both mentally and physically?
There isn’t necessarily a specific amount of time spent online that determines if we all have a problem. It’s more about how the time spent online impacts our lives. Sadly the effects on children are more profound. Research shows that Internet/screen addiction can damage the developing brain. Overstimulation can impair brain structure and function, especially when a person’s brain is not fully developed — which doesn’t happen until we are around 25 yrs. old. The effects are vast, such as irritability, trouble sleeping, poor concentration, effects on our ability to develop empathy and compassion for others, cravings similar to drug cravings, poor impulse control and anxiety or stress over small things.
There comes a time when we just need to make healthier choices to get to a healthier place. Teaching about a healthy digital diet is about being mindful of what we are doing online and how much time we spend there. It’s about embracing the good it brings such as using it for work, school, and fun without over-consuming. It’s about moderating ourselves.
How do we know if we are making unhealthy choices? Well here is the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire developed by Dr. Kimberly Young, a licensed psychologist and an internationally known expert on Internet addiction.
And what might a healthy digital diet look like, how do we teach our pupils to make the right choices? Well check out these tips and website link:
- There will be times every day when they make sure that they are not on a device.
- Their phone/devices will be charged at night in a different room to where they sleep.
- They will try to avoid notifications popping up and distracting them back to the internet.
- There will be a limit to the number of episodes or videos they watch.
- They will take social media breaks, making their own memories rather than watching someone else’s.