Another Benefit to Tapping into Intrinsic Interests: Developing Healthy Technology Habits
One of the hot topics
in education is the impact on school communities of technology, particularly on
middle- and high-school students. These days, many students
are adversely affected by what researchers are calling “technological overload”
and their findings show increases in sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression
as well as other troubling symptoms.
In past posts, I’ve proposed addressing these issues by developing strategies to focus on one task at a time, creating schedules that promote sufficient amounts of sleep, and building healthy habits when accessing social media. But while these strategies are effective to varying degrees, they all require large doses of self-discipline to accomplish and maintain. With today’s social pressures and “fear of missing out” (FOMO), adopting different attitudes toward technology is an uphill battle. But what if parents and teachers also focused on strategies that include a range of intrinsically motivated activities that more easily motivated healthy technology habits?
A place to start would be to identify what students truly enjoy while creating greater opportunities for self-awareness and over time, self-acceptance. For example, students may reflect on a skill they would like to improve or a new interest they would like to pursue such as learning to play an instrument, writing a collection of short stories, or conducting research to pose a scientific hypothesis.
Once certain goals are
set, adults can help students draft daily schedules that would support these
pursuits and along the way, provide the encouragement as incremental
progress is made. Like any worthwhile goal, this process can take time,
particularly if it’s necessary to reverse addictive habits with technology. But
over the long term, tapping into healthy interests that are intrinsically
motivated may be one of the best strategies for striking a healthier balance in our
students’ daily routines.
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