A healthy tech-life balance is using technology in a way that doesn't harm your personal life, health and relationships. I think it goes even further than this, and realises that we are the masters and technology is supposed to serve our greater goals and not cause harm.
Unfortunately, due to the rapid rise and quick evolution of these technologies, we are a bit on the backfoot of managing our relationship with technology. We're at a stage now, where the research is conclusively showing physical, mental and emotional harm from the ways we use our devices. It's really up to us to start being intentional and setting empowering and protective boundaries for ourselves and our families.
It's my hope, that by doing this together as a community, we can start changing the norms around how we interact with screens, so that collectively we can form life-serving habits and patterns.
Why is having tech-life balance an Everyday Skill?
As we all know, screens are ubiquitous these days, and they offer many benefits to our lives. I'm not advocating for disavowing technology in our lives, but I do think we need to be intentional and pro-active. Many of the devices and platforms we use in daily life have been designed to manipulate us through the use of persuasive (ie addictive) design methodologies. They are preying on our psychological vulnerabilities in order to capture our attention so it earns them more profit.
Because of their persuasive design, it's imperative that we as individuals set up personal boundaries, so that technology enriches our life and doesn't detract from it. It's particularly important for parents to be pro-active about building a life-serving digital culture within their families. I don't want to run my own scare campaign against screens. I don't want people - and parents in particular - to feel guilty or fearful about the harm that screens can do, but I do want us to be aware of it. That way we can use screens mindfully, setting boundaries that minimse the harm and enhance the benefits.
How does it contribute to Self-Connection?
Have you ever had the experience of being completely brain dead but being unable to stop mindlessly scrolling... and then when you do finally put the screen down, your head aches, your eyes hurt and you wonder why you feel like you've been hit by a brick!? Well, that's us tuning out messages from our body and when we do that, it's not possible to be intentional about our screen use. I see body literacy as one of the foundational skills that will allow us to have a healthy tech-life balance.
With screen usage, I think self-connection can help us in numerous ways. As in the above example, listening to our body's physical sensations can help us work out what our body's actually need. In another way, mindfully bringing attention to our mind, emotions and body can help us work out what our personal 'triggers' could be, for when we use technology in a harmful way.
How does it help with Health Sovereignty?
Health Sovereignty is taking a proactive, empowered approach to your health, and I'm talking about health from a very holistic framework here. With regards to a tech-life balance, this looks like a very mindful and intentional use of technology so that it enriches our lives. In order to achieve this, we need awareness. Awareness of how much we're using it, why we're using it and the positive or negative outcomes.
Our next Screen-Smart Families workshop is being held on:
May 29, 2 - 4:30pm at Secrets from the Honey Tree in Eumundi. Check the events page for all the details.
If you can't wait to get started, check out our bookstore for one of my favourite books on cultivating a healthy tech-life balance.
A new strategy to increase productivity, focus, happiness and creativity through a mindful use of digital technology
Most of us know that we're addicted to texting, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter not because we're stupid or shallow, but because they provide real value in the form of connection, community, affirmation and information. But these tools can also disrupt our ability to focus on meaningful work and live fully in the present.
In Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport outlines a practical philosophy and plan for a mindful, intentional use of technology that maximises its benefits while minimizing its drain on our attention, focus and time. Demonstrating how to implement a 30-day digital detox, this book will help you identify which uses of technology are actually helping you reach your goals, and which are holding you back.
Live Love Now
In Live Love Now, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Macy Stafford tackles the biggest challenges facing kids today and equips adults to engage them with humanness and heart, compassion and honesty to discover the deep, life-giving connection everyone is longing for.
What do young people need now more than ever Adults who are Truth-tellers not taskmasters. Encouragers not enforcers. Guides not half-listeners. The good news is, it's not too late! No matter what's happened in the past, you can help the kids you love face the top stressors of today, including academic pressure, parental expectations, technoference, lack of purpose, isolation, and loneliness.
With illuminating, straightforward strategies, this guide reveals the importance of practicing acceptance, pursuing peace, and exploring wellness and purpose for yourself so you can be the kind of real, relevant, and lifelong role model young people are searching for. Engaging and thoughtful, each chapter includes moving stories from Rachel's personal journey as a mom of a teen and pre-teen along with illustrative narratives and prompts to help you reflect and take steps toward becoming the kind of adult young people trust.
Whether you're a parent, educator, older sibling, coach, or anyone in a role of leading young people, this book will help you meet the goal of raising and guiding young people to become resilient, compassionate, and capable adults.
The Tech Diet for your Child and Teen
Are you a parent struggling to set healthy, effective rules around technology in your house? Or have you already set clear parameters but find yourself outsmarted by your tech-savvy kids? Are you sick of hearing technology experts throw statistics and research at you with few practical parenting strategies on offer?
Brad Marshall, The Unplugged Psychologist, is on the front line helping parents deal with the dominance of gaming and problematic technology use. His clinic, the Internet Addiction Clinic @ Kidspace, was one of the first in Australia established to help young children, teenagers and families whose lives are totally torn apart by technology.
The Tech Diet for your Child and Teen provides real-life strategies that any parent can implement to create a healthy balance and put your kids' development first. Based on solid psychological research explaining why screen addiction is so powerful, Brad's jargon-free advice gives a clear plan for parents who have had enough and are serious about changing the way their kids use and interact with technology.
The Tech Diet for your Child and Teen contains:
- Ways to apply workable solutions for excessive internet use and gaming rather than fighting about it
- Advice on how to take control of the Wi-Fi and manage smartphones and data
- Practical tips to help survive the school holidays
- How to tackle kids telling you they are doing 'homework' while switching screens
- A holistic plan that puts your child's wellbeing first, screens second
- Special information for children with conditions such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety and depression
How to Break Up with Your Phone
Is your phone the first thing you reach for when you wake up? And the last thing you see before you sleep? Do you find the hours slip away as you idly scroll through your social media timeline?
In short, are you addicted to your phone? If so, How to Break Up with Your Phone is here to help.
How to Break Up With Your Phone is a smart, practical and useful plan to help you conquer your mobile phone addiction in just 30 days - and take back your life in the process. Recent studies have shown that spending extended time on our phones affects our ability to form new memories, think deeply, focus and absorb information, and the hormones triggered every time we hear our phones buzz both add to our stress levels and are the hallmark signs of addiction. In How to Break Up with Your Phone, award-winning science journalist Catherine Price explores the effects that our constant connectivity is having on our brains, bodies, relationships, and society at large and asks, how much time do you really want to spend on your phone?
Over the course of 30 days, Catherine will guide you through an easy-to-follow plan that enables you to identify your goals, priorities and bad habits, tidy your apps, prune your email, and take time away. Lastly, you will create a new, healthier relationship with your phone and establish habits and routines to ensure this new relationship sticks.
You don't have to give up your phone forever; instead you will be more mindful not only of how you use your phone, but also about how you choose to spend the precious moments of your life.
Raising a Screen-Smart Kid
For parents who didn't grow up with smartphones but can't let go of them now, expert advice on raising kids in our constantly connected world.
Most kids get their first smartphone at the same time that they're experiencing major developmental changes. Making mistakes has always been a part of growing up, but how do parents help their kids navigate childhood and adolescence at a time when social media has the potential to magnify the consequences of those mistakes? Rather than spend all their time worrying about the worst-case scenario, parents can use this book to get a bigger-picture understanding of their kids' digital landscape.
Drawing on research and interviews with educators, psychologists, and kids themselves, this book offers practical advice on how parents can help their kids avoid the pitfalls and reap the benefits of the digital age by:
- using social media to enhance connection with friends and family, instead of following strangers and celebrities, which is a predictor of loneliness and depression
- finding online support and community for conditions such as depression and eating disorders, while avoiding potential triggers, such as #Thinspiration Pinterest boards
- learning and developing life skills through technology-for example, by problem-solving in online games--while avoiding inappropriate content
Written by a public health expert and the creator of the popular blog Rants from Mommyland, Raising a Screen-Smart Kid shows parents how to help their kids navigate friendships, bullying, dating, self-esteem, and more online.
Screenwise offers a realistic and optimistic perspective on how to thoughtfully guide kids in the digital age. Many parents feel that their kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of their digital devices. Media expert Devorah Heitner, however, believes that technology offers huge potential to our children—if parents help them. Using the foundation of their own values and experiences, parents and educators can learn about the digital world to help set kids up for a lifetime of success in a world fueled by technology.
Screenwise is a guide to understanding more about what it is like for children to grow up with technology, and to recognizing the special challenges—and advantages—that contemporary kids and teens experience thanks to this level of connection. In it, Heitner presents practical parenting "hacks": quick ideas that you can implement today that will help you understand and relate to your digital native.
The book will empower parents to recognize that the wisdom that they have gained throughout their lives is a relevant and urgently needed supplement to their kid’s digital savvy, and help them develop skills for managing the new challenges of parenting. Based on real-life stories from other parents and Heitner’s wealth of knowledge on the subject, Screenwise teaches parents what they need to know in order to raise responsible digital citizens.