Written by Alexis Haselberger. Originally published at www.alexishaselberger.com
Today I want to share with you an article from my friends over at MyDigitalTat2, an organization that I fell in love with when I heard co-founder Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet speak about how to help kids build the healthy habits and critical thinking skills they need to integrate technology into their lives in a constructive way.
As I listened to Gloria speak last year, I had an “aha” moment where I thought to myself, “Adults and kids are dealing with the same issues around technology. I work with adults, Gloria works with kids, but it’s the same stuff!”
As you know if you’ve been reading my blog/newsletter, I’m on a mission to help people use their time in a way that is consistent with their own goals and values. Technology is amazing in so many ways, but the default settings of many (if not all) of our favorite apps and sites and are meant to hijack our attention, and this often leads us down unintentional internet rabbit-holes.
We need to figure out how best to use our technology instead of letting it use us. But it’s not a black and white issue. I believe we’re in the nascent stages of learning how to harness the power of all this technology in our lives to help us lead better lives. But I don’t think we’re there yet. For instance, I’m willing to bet that you are not 100% happy with the way you use technology.
But there’s hope, and that’s why I want to share this article with you! Awareness is half the battle, and so I’d encourage you to read the article below with yourself (not just your kids) in mind. And then after you read the article, resist the urge to judge yourself and instead just notice your own tech loop and think about where you might make a few tweaks so that your technology, and time, serve you better.
Learning from our “Tech Loop”
By the MyDigitalTat2 Team
“We will never forget the day one of our high school interns began drawing a circle on the board and said, “Let me tell you about my loop.” In her words, a tech loop is “the cycle of sites, apps, and platforms that we check regularly, often, and religiously.” She taught us that we all have a highly personalized “tech loop” that we live and practice every day.
We are most effective as digital mentors when we help children and teens develop their critical thinking skills to understand and manage their own loops. Rather than dismissing screen time as superficial, take time to talk with them about what they are doing online and how they feel about their use. By scaffolding these conversations, we help teens reflect on what parts of their digital use are truly meaningful, and which take up too much time. This prepares them to make better-informed decisions on their own, even as technology continues to change.
Encourage your kids to ask themselves:
- What did you notice about your loop?
- What are you constantly checking?
- What is always on in the background?
- Do you check more after a post?
- What are your feelings? (help them name it)
- Are you ever free of your loop?
Conscious awareness of our loops can foster a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. Helping kids understand the “why” of their digital loops is the most effective digital filter. It guides them to consciously and mindfully engage with technology in a way that reflects their own choices and values.”