I have two teenagers and one preteen. I find the whole research on how smartphones are disrupting our brains to be fascinating. We’re experiencing a disruption as big as the printing press, radio or television. (Can you imagine the complaints when the printing press took off? Kids bringing books to the dinner table!)
According to Common Sense Media, the good news is that very few teens are addicted. The other news is that teens are heavy users. But kids are kids. They may be heavy users but they aren’t great users. They don’t know how to set up their voicemail. They make poor decisions on what to post online. (I don’t get called when kids want cookies – but I’m the mom who gets the call to fix it when someone does something silly on Instagram.) They have no idea what LinkedIn is.
Technology for teens is a little like a pan and spoon are to toddlers – they can make a lot of noise, but they can’t cook. And no matter how hot or cold you personally feel about social media and other technology tools, you know more than they do about keeping safe, professional reputation and when to say when.
I wanted to share some tips from Common Sense Media for helping kids stay focused at home and in the classroom. I think they do a good job.
- Talk to students about digital balance. Our digital citizenship resources on this topic will help you jumpstart the conversations:
- Grades 3–5: Digital Passport and our Digital Citizenship Pledge
- Grades 6–8: Digital Life 101 and My Media
- Grades 9–12: Digital Life 102 and Digital Bytes3. Make classroom technology integration deep and engaging to minimize the potential for distractions. Our quick tutorials on using multimedia in the classroom offer some great tips and resources for keeping students active and engaged.
- 4. Provide guidance to parents. Point parents to our digital citizenship resources for families, send tips home with your students, or address these important topics during parent events at school.
- 2. Use classroom-management tools to help you limit digital distractions. Check out our list of Top Classroom Management Apps and Websites for support in keeping students focused.
- Connecting Families module, “Distraction, Multitasking, and Time Management,” which includes a Family Tip Sheet and Digital Dilemma (in English and Spanish)
- Digital Life Family Tip Sheet for K-5 and 6-8 (different from above, and available in English and Spanish)
Technology Addiction Parent Concerns page with FAQs, articles, and videos