Helpful Reminders in a Digital Age
I highly encourage everyone to remember the following pieces of information and reflection, especially in this ever-growing digital age:
Self-awareness, or the ability to examine their own behaviors and feelings, helps kids recognize how technology might be negatively affecting them. Does social media make them feel bad about themselves? Is too much screen time causing them to miss sleep or forgo spending time with families and friends in-person? Is a piece of emotionally charged content trying to trick them into sharing something or spreading false information?
Social perspective taking helps students consider how someone they’re interacting with online or through text messages will interpret something differently based on their unique perspective, background, information, or context. Because it’s harder, and often impossible, to read someone else’s body language through screens or text, perspective-taking conditions students to think through how their behavior will be received by someone else even if they can’t see their reaction.
Empathy, or being able to pick up on and understand how someone else feels, is key to maintaining healthy relationships online. Empathy is an important skill to help students remember that there is a human being on the other side of the screen—something that’s easy to forget when interactions aren’t taking place face-to-face.
Self-regulation helps students control their impulses. Because emotions can easily override good decision-making, it can be all too easy to click first and think later, commenting or sharing a video, meme, or article without evaluating the accuracy or the repercussions of their actions.
Responsible decision-making is an important skill for students to evaluate and make careful choices about their behavior and social interactions online. This applies to more immediate situations but also, just as importantly, to thinking through the long-term repercussions of behavior. Students need to be thinking about what they might say on social media today and how it could jeopardize a job or scholarship opportunity in the future.
Additional resources for you provided by Mrs. Reese, our school counselor, to explore should you wish:
How to Encourage Your Kids to Do What's Right - Focus on the Family
Resources Archive - Institute of Child Psychology – great webinars for anxiety, calming techniques, resilience, and media