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Tech Tuesday: Mindful Tech

A large group of both current and incoming parents and teachers gathered for a Tech Tuesday on May 7 for an enjoyable and constructive discussion about being mindful of one’s technology use. Led by members of the Library Tech Commons team, parents shared some of the ways in which they manage their relationships with their phones and computers.
To encourage parents to think about the topic beforehand, the Library Tech Commons team recommended pre-selected books and articles for parents. These included: Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price and The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life by Anya Kamenetz. Articles included: “The Dangers of Distracted Parenting” – The Atlantic; “How Technology Has Changed Our Parenting Lives” – The Washington Post; and “Dopamine, Smartphones & You” – Harvard University: The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The Library Tech Commons facilitators posed questions to elicit discussions such as: Has anyone changed the way they use technology after reading the books and articles that were recommended? Has anyone come up with an approach that is working?
People shared their particular family philosophies towards technology. One parent said her family came up with a code word that when the kids say it the parents know to put their phones away. Another said they leave their phones by the door when they come in and yet another said they completely deleted Facebook and Instagram. After reading Digital Minimalism, one parent described how she decided to pursue a passion of hers that she had let fade because of the time spent on digital devices. She described how fulfilling this adjustment to her life has been.
The following quotes might also prove to be helpful:
• Anya Kamenetz in The Art of Screen Time, “Enjoy screens; not too much, mostly together” (p. 221).
• “The next time you find yourself tempted to look at your phone, pause instead. Take a breath and just notice the craving. Don’t give in to it, but don’t try to make it go away. Observe it. See what happens.”
• Also, from The Art of Screen Time, by Anya Kamenetz, “Throughout this book I’ve been returning to the metaphor of healthy diet as a way of talking about the role of screens in family life. The total level of intake, or screen time, is a fundamental metric to think about, but it’s not the only one. We also want to think about avoiding, or consuming in moderation, certain potentially harmful ingredients and promoting positive, healthy consumption habits. Ultimately, the hope is that we’re turning screen time, like mealtime, into a time of togetherness, and engaging kids in creative habits.”