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“Smarter” Technology Use: Executive Functioning and the New Frontier

“Smarter” Technology Use: Executive Functioning and the New Frontier. Dr. Ellen Goldberger, FCPS Psychologist Dr. Joshua Kefer, FCPS Psychologist. The Impact of Social Media/Technology Use.

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“Smarter” Technology Use: Executive Functioning and the New Frontier

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  1. “Smarter” Technology Use: Executive Functioning and the New Frontier Dr. Ellen Goldberger, FCPS Psychologist Dr. Joshua Kefer, FCPS Psychologist

  2. The Impact of Social Media/Technology Use Dyer: The question is not “should children have access to social media,” which would be the equivalent of trying to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle, but rather “what are the effects of social media and smartphones on children and what should we do about them?”

  3. Main Points Technology is neither good nor bad (related to levels of EF) Technology is modeled by parent use Technology can interfere with wellness Technology addiction is usually a symptom of something else Healthy technology use requires proactive, intentional parenting and open family communication

  4. Evolution of Technology • Parent of young child compares his 1990s GameGear to today’s iPads • Did you even have a handheld gaming console? • How would your leisure time be different if you had?

  5. Evolution of Technology Today’s technology is moving at the speed of light It is parents’ job to understand the role-- good and bad-- technology plays in their children’s lives, and to support their children in healthy technology use through modeling and open conversation.

  6. Recent Interview on NPR https://www.npr.org/2018/12/29/680882610/author-of-the-new-childhood-advises-parents-dont-panic-about-screen-time

  7. What is Executive Functioning? Executive Functioning (EF) = Self-Regulation and Self-Direction Purposeful management of thinking and behavior to achieve a desired outcome Two core elements: Intentionality and Goal-Directed Behavior

  8. Psychological Context 2 strands: Cognitive Regulation and Social/Emotional Regulation Healthy use of technology requires executive skill/control

  9. Cognitive Regulation Social Emotional Regulation Goal Setting Planning/Sequencing Organization Time Management Task Initiation Goal-directed attention Task Persistence Working Memory Shifting Set Response Inhibition/Impulse Control Emotional Control Adaptability

  10. An Example in Executive Functioning In an experiment, teens were shown digital messages that would be perceived as harmful to the recipient and asked if they would post them. The number of teens who indicated that they would be willing to post the text decreased significantly when an app popped up before-hand that asked if they were sure that they wanted to post something that would be hurtful to others. Conclusion: Children and teenagers don’t have the level of impulse control required to prevent themselves from acting quickly without thinking but when they were reminded of the possible negative outcomes, they chose to act appropriately (Alim, 2016)

  11. Technology is Neither Good Nor Bad What are some of the benefits of technology?

  12. Positive Aspects Virtual hangout when students are not able to meet up Can mitigate effects of loneliness Students can reach out to talk with others outside their inner circle Community engagement Growth of ideas (podcasts, etc.) Linkage to needs of community

  13. Negative Aspects Cyberbullying Sexting targets Decreased in-person interaction; social isolation Fewer opportunities to learn social emotional reciprocity Personal safety risks: privacy & identity theft Access to inappropriate materials Time online reduces involvement in recreational activities Negative effect on mood/ sleep quality

  14. Research on Effects of Social Media Research results are unclear and at times contradictory Side effects of smartphones are not yet known though individual data points have been found through direct cause/effect research Research data point to common themes: • empathy • social-emotional development • memory • addiction

  15. Subtle Enticement of Apps/Social Media Apps are created to lure individuals to the site Instagram: sends dozens of push notifications weekly and uses stories to attract usersTwitter: uses variable reinforcement schedule like slot machines, delay in opening of app Facebook:Helps you log into other apps; tracks social life Apps rely on FOMO Apps rely on games to entice users

  16. Healthy Use of Technology Requires Executive Skill Required Skill Challenges

  17. Technology is Modeled by Parent Use In order for children to use technology in a healthy way, parents must be positive models. 78% of parents believe they are good models of screen media use for their kids.

  18. Parent Modeling Tweens and Teens Parents Use an average of 4.5 hours (tweens) to 6.5 hours (teens) of screen media a day, excluding use for school purposes Most teens do not feel that multitasking (such as texting while doing homework) impacts the quality of their work Use an average of 7.5 hours of screen time a day for personal use Most parents do not believe multitasking impacts their work Distracted parenting results in unexplained inattention

  19. Technology Can Interfere With Wellness Technoference - A preoccupation with electronic devices and data is undermining essential aspects of our lives, particularly those that strengthen and enhance emotional and spiritual health and well-being

  20. What is at Stake for Our Health? Technoference impacts all elements of biopsychosocial development: Biological: sleep, exercise, eating Psychological: attention/concentration in school (distracted learning), identity formation (importance of boredom and impact of passive consumption) Social: attention/concentration in socialization, social opportunity costs (what activities/interactions are we missing?)

  21. American Academy of Pediatrics: Screen Time Guidelines Under 18 months: no screen time, aside from video chatting 18-24 months: when introducing screen time, consider the quality of the media and view alongside 2-5 years: 1 hour per day, viewing alongside 6 years and up: be thoughtful about quality and boundaries, and mindful that it is not impacting functioning The most important part of wellness around screen time for school-aged children and teens is intentional parenting

  22. Actual Screen Time Social Networkers: Average 7 hours a day, 3 of which is on social media Gamers: Average 7 hours a day, 2.5 of which is gaming Light Users: Average 2.5 hours a day, primarily watching TV Heavy Users: Average 13 hours a day, 6 of which is TV/ video viewing

  23. What Social Media Are Teens Using? Social media is a primary use of smartphones and other technology. Social media does not just include networking apps like Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Instagram. It also includes gaming, YouTube, dating, blogs, Tumblr, Reddit, and more.

  24. Negative Aspects of Overuse Less time spent on homework Sleep disruption Increased presence of ADHD behaviors Attention Expectation of immediate gratification Spatial navigation skills Memory abilities Phone screen addiction related to addictive apps FOMO

  25. Boredom is Important? Boredom can be helpful in facilitating creative and reflective thinking Is our access to technology a barrier to introspection?

  26. Technology Addiction Usually Has Other Negative Components Tech addiction may involve isolation, compulsive use, sneaking and lying, and/or aggression Teens use media to escape boredom and negative emotions • Negative emotions can be helpful in building empathy and coping skills Receiving positive feedback on social media stimulates the brain’s reward center • Media provides intermittent reinforcement that results in compulsive behavior

  27. 3 Parenting Styles Limiters: Restrict screen time and try to prevent children from using the internet and social media Enablers: Allow children to make all of their own choices Mentors: Teach their children how to use technology wisely; spend time online with their children

  28. Mentor Parenting is Associated with the Best Digital Behavior Outcomes

  29. Questions to Ask When Setting Parameters Is it potentially unsafe? The primary role of parents is to keep our children safe and to teach them life skills Is it interfering with sleep, school performance, or relationships? Does it contradict with your value system?

  30. Intentional Parenting and Self-Regulation We need to invite our children to discuss their internet exploits and their behavior (and missteps) safely How we control our reactions (self-regulate) determines the future of these internet conversations with our children We teach our children and they teach us

  31. Ways to be Intentional and Proactive About Tech With Your Children Model appropriate screen behaviors Screentime is a privilege not a right Parents should be actively engaged with their children when interacting with screens When allowing child to download an app, sit with them Parents decide how much screen time/what content is appropriate for their kids Use calendar to fill out all that needs to be taken care of during each day then figure out what is left for screens Teens who want to curb their screen time find it difficult to self-regulate without parental guidance

  32. Social Media as a Communication Method Social Media as a platform for communication: • Snapchat • Marco Polo • Group Me • Instagram • What’s App These can be used in positive and negative ways

  33. Risk Privacy

  34. What to Look For in an App Christina Frank suggests: What is the purpose of the App? Is the default setting public or private? Is there live streaming? Is it known for any unsafe behavior? Does it include location sharing?

  35. Resources to Support Healthy Tech Use Websites: commensensemedia.org describes apps, advises on healthy social media usage, Netsmartz.org advises on internet safety Apps: Moment, Apple Family Sharing, Google • Play, Offtime, In Moment help track usage, time spent in each • app, disable inappropriate apps • Timewellspent.org

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