Makin’ It Happen continued our ‘I’m ok, are you ok’ forum series on Wednesday with presenter Claire Garand, an Education Program Manager with Media Power Youth.  A Manchester based organization, Media Power Youth provides young people, parents, educators, and communities with curricula, training and workshops to build media literacy knowledge and critical-thinking skills to navigate our media-rich world.

Garand focused on the topic of managing screen time during remote learning and remote friendships.   She began by pointing out that there has been an increase in screen time for both youth and adults.

According to Garand “one thing that keeps us attached to our phones and devices is notifications”.  App notifications provide the user with a dopamine reaction that makes them want to keep using many apps.   As a result, it makes it difficult to focus on the task at hand. If you keep getting notifications, it can feel like you are never “off”.

Garand discussed strategies that both youth and adults could use for keeping notifications under control. They included:

  • Set your phone to silent when you are working or in class.
  • Review the things that you have set to notify you and make sure there aren’t unnecessary ones. Limit notifications to text messages, phone calls, and messages on other apps you use to communicate
  • Change settings in-app to not get notified by likes or new posts.

The presentation also touched upon the issues with ‘multi-tasking’.  “Technology multitasking is extremely common”, said Garand “even before the current health crisis”.  Only 2.5% of people are actually able to multi-task effectively.  Our brains are not built to multi-task despite that technology encourages us to do so.

Limiting technological multitasking can help you feel more present with your current task. When you feel more present, you tend to feel more relaxed and be able to make better decisions. To help stay focused, try moving around different parts of your room or house. This will simulate what changing classes are like. When you move your body, it helps to reset you and helps you focus.

Technology has become more important than ever in order to connect with family, friends and colleagues.  Being social and communicating is key to your health because:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower stress
  • Improves mood
  • Teaches you conflict resolution skills
  • Helps you see other points of view
  • Helps you create goals for yourself

It is also important to balance screen time with time away from the screen.  Getting outside, playing a game with family members, and mediation are some of the things that may be helpful activities during this time.

For a recording of this forum visit https://www.mih4u.org/covid19/

Join us next week as we continue the conversation with Media Power Youth for “Managing Emotions and Seeking Alternatives: events and group gatherings post COVID-19”.  In this session, we will be inviting teens, parents, and educators, to an open forum regarding managing the stress of canceled events and school.  To register for this event please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/o/30074169798

To learn more about Media Power Youth visit www.mediapoweryouth.org .