Our t(w)eens are heading into the last big study stretch of the year. Enter power struggles over the device while your t(w)een clutches onto the device in the same way they clutched onto a doodoo blanket as babies…
And while many of our kids know that devices are designed to be addictive, what they often struggle to acknowledge is that they are designed to be distracting too!! Even as adults, we convince ourselves we can multi-task (reply to work emails while making supper while giving teen much needed response to lift arrangements on Saturday night).
Every ping, every pop-up, every unasked for reel is just so darn alluring. How much more so for our t(w)eens who are designed developmentally at this stage of their lives NOT to want to miss out on even one little moment. And what’s worse – they truly believe they can do both: stay on the device and study, talk to their boyfriend and go over their oral, play Minecraft and tidy the bedroom….Um NO!
What should I say?
Here are two really important concepts to bring home to your t/weens next time you have an uninterrupted moment:
1. Digital distraction is a bit like going to the shops twelve times in one hour each time to buy one item (instead of going to the shops ONE TIME for twelve items).
2. There is no such thing as multi-tasking. So many of us (including adults) THINK that we are multitasking when we do homework, check messages, text our bestie and then do ten other things at the same time.
An experiment at Stanford University showed that actually even the cleverest people in the world who think they can multitask…CAN’T. What they are doing instead of multitasking is task switching. And what’s the problem with that? Well with task switching, it actually takes us much longer to do one thing. In fact, it takes 25 minutes for our brain to refocus back into the homework/studying/work zone once we have been digitally distracted (this is called the ‘resumption lag’). So trying to finish history homework while hunched over snapchat is just going to make it all take longer!
The battle is too big! I give up!
We know the battle around the screen removal is such a big one but there are reasons for this too. Of course no devices while studying is first prize…however, our t(w)eens are designed developmentally at this stage of their lives not to want to miss out on even one little moment become internally distracted when they have no access whatsoever to their devices.
If you remove the device for hours on end, they panic not just at the thought of missing the latest make up/break up (think Fomo), they literally feel like they no longer belong to their tribe for that period of time. Unless everyone is without one in a classroom setting (yes we support that), it’s a big ask to remove the device for long periods of study at home too where the distraction of not belonging is hard to bear. We suggest avoiding digital amputation all together.
What should I do?
Two practical solutions to manage our kids’ digital distractions in a highly distracting digital world:
- The 50:10 Formula
Contracting with your child to study for periods of time and have access to the device in between is comfortable for you and for them. The 50:10 study method is well researched to be most effective provided it comes with some sunlight-50 minutes study time sans device, ten minutes with device in the sun (not on the bed) while walking in the garden!
- Focus Mode
Focus Mode allows your t/ween to limit the pings and dings while studying and choose certain people and apps to receive notifications from when all else is silenced!! Powerful right? So, for example, she may want to receive WhatsApp messages from her bestie, he may want to know Liverpool score while completing a science project. With Focus Mode, you can choose one or two and silence and block the rest temporarily.
Focus Mode gives your t(w)een the power to pick the people and apps she wants to snooze, set the time slo in which she doesn’t want to be disturbed, and keeps the apps quiet for just the amount of time she decides on. Toggling on Focus Mode clears pending notifications from those apps, stops new ones from coming in, and even keeps you from “accidentally” opening the select apps when you’re not supposed to. And best of all, after she turns it off, she will get all the suspended notifications so no FOMO at all.
A quick scroll under Settings on an iPhone and on an Android and you will find it under Settings > Digital Wellbeing. Give yourself permission to get on the road to less digital distraction without missing out on one or two special peeps or pings.
For a deeper dive…
And then, let the KLIKD App do the talking – The Klikd App teaches our kids (Grades 4-9) everything they need to use social media successfully, safely and happily.
In our module “Distracted? Who? Me?” we teach our screenagers how to put a fortress around their focus when everything around them is pinging, dinging, ringing and constantly distracting.
For families: the Klikd app comes with parent scripts and tools to chat to your kids about their online world.
For schools: it comes with a full Digital Citizenship Curriculum to use in LO classes.
We weren’t born with the skills and tools to navigate tricky online scenarios, so we have now made your lives a whole lot easier by putting them all in one place with the Klikd app. Sign up today for all the skills and tools you and your screenager need to manage the digital world: https://klikd.co.za/the-app/