Device Readiness Test #3 Self-Awareness and #4 Bully Management
The Digital Readiness Test continues with two more character traits and skills necessary to be a safe, independent, and empowered device user.
Possess Self-Awareness Skills: Are your children in touch with the psychological changes in their bodies that occur as a result of experiencing different emotions. Can they feel the physical change resulting from excitement when they work hard at a task and finally accomplish it? Can they identify the signs of stress in their bodies? The developers of devices and apps are in it for the money. The hand held devices make it easier to hack our engagement and retain it as long as possible. Being aware of the readiness skill of how engagement feels and the awareness of how it is created by these hackers will be crucial if we want our children to be able to manage their devices.
Putting time limits on our children’s devices or parent manipulated controls will provide a secure feeling for parents, but it will not serve the children as well as learning how it feels to be manipulated by devices and apps. Once we can recognize the feeling we get when we suddenly have a sense of urgency to check our devices or play a game and can intellectually identify it as the work of engineers to control our brains, then can we independently control the device.
A fourth student I have been working with this year shared that he was trying to stop playing. “I am only playing on the weekends, but all I can do is think about playing Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, I don’t get that feeling as much. By Friday. I’m fine.” Once he could identify how the game made him feel, it was easier to help him realize that playing for two hours on the weekend was not stopping the control the device had over him. The chemical control was so powerful it would override his ability to stop the desire to play. He was able to understand that the dopamine released on the weekends after playing for two hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday was simply creating an addiction to the feeling and was the reason for him feeling the pull on Monday and Tuesday. As a result, he decided to experiment by playing less on the weekends to see if he felt differently. What he discovered was he could only play for a half an hour on Saturday and not on Sunday to stop the pull of the device on Mondays. He also noted that playing only on Saturday made him a little angry on Sunday. “I’ve decided not to play for a few months to see what will happen.” Through this process, he was able to identify how the dopamine releases felt. One powerful realization was that he could concentrate better in class on Mondays, once he cut down the amount play time on Saturdays and stopped playing on Sundays. This self-awareness was far more powerful than any external controls placed on his playing.
Bully Manager: Nowhere else will there be more opportunities for bullying than on-line. It is easier for people to say things on line that they would not say in person. It is also easier to misinterpret what is typed. I often have friends share a text with me and read it with anger and a cutting tone. When I read it, it doesn't read in the same way. Understanding that all texts are not a form of bullying, but merely our interpretation of what we read. This requires a level of understanding and maturity that not all children possess. Knowing how to recognize bullying and strategies and helpful phrases to deal with bullies will prepare on-line bullying they might experience.