Disconnect from Technology: How to Teach Balance

Posted by Jessica Conrad on 5/6/2016

Disconnect from Technology: How to teach balance
With finals looming, end-of-the-year paperwork mounting, and beautiful weather beckoning, parents and professionals alike struggle with teaching students how to put down the technology and enjoy everything else.
1. Some parents promote mindful usage above flat out restriction.  Consider talking with your students about appropriate screen time and involve them in making thoughtful choices about how they spend their free time.  You can use this discussion and apply it to Guided Access, StayFocusd, or just a standard kitchen timer to help students recognize the passage of time-- a difficult skill for many students with disabilities.
2. Restrict iPad/iPhone app time with Guided Access.  Set the timer for a set amount of minutes, and the app will lock down when time has expired.
3. Establish "screen free zones" in your home, with activities and times  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than 2 hours of "entertainment media" screen time per day (differentiating between other reasons why we use screens) and encourages parents to be involved and start dialogues with their children about appropriate content and advertisements.  Additionally, they recommend no screen time for children under the age of two.
4. StayFocusd is highly customizable, allowing users to determine what sites need to be blocked or semi-blocked, how long they get to be on those sites, and how long the enforcement period should be.  Great for students (of any age!) who struggle with sticking with a term paper that won't write itself.
5. Model good balance.  Point out the good habits you've developed or identify an area of mindful technology use you would like to work on.