Now more than ever, as adults and children alike become increasingly immersed in the world of the internet, digital wellness is a crucial topic. It’s imperative that educators teach students not just how to use digital tools, but how to do so in ways that safeguard their mental health and safety as well as that of others. If you’re a teacher, here’s what you need to know about digital wellbeing as you prepare to create a healthy digital environment in the classroom.
Understanding Digital Wellness
Digital health and wellness refers to the conscious and intentional use of digital technologies to enhance well-being while minimizing the potential negative impacts they can have on mental, physical, and emotional health. It emphasizes the need to develop a healthy relationship with technology, promoting balance, mindfulness, and intentional engagement.
Dimensions of Digital Wellness
You can promote digital health by teaching students about some major factors that impact the quality of their lives as well as those they interact with online:
Digital access. Ensuring equitable access to technology tools and resources for all students minimizes the digital divide.
Digital literacy. Enhancing students' critical thinking skills and digital literacy helps them navigate the online world safely and responsibly.
Digital communication. Encouraging effective and respectful communication online fosters positive digital relationships.
Digital etiquette. Promoting responsible online behavior and cultivating ethical standards for the use of digital platforms helps to normalize digital etiquette.
Digital security. Educating students about online privacy, cybersecurity, and safeguarding personal information helps them protect themselves.
Digital health. Raising awareness about the impact of excessive screen time on physical and mental health promotes healthy digital habits.
Fostering Digital Wellness In the Classroom
Here are some general goals to strive for as you teach your students about digital wellness:
Educate and empower. Provide students with comprehensive digital literacy education that covers online safety, privacy, and ethical considerations. Equip them with the skills to critically evaluate information, navigate digital platforms responsibly, and develop a positive digital footprint.
Establish digital boundaries. Encourage students to establish boundaries for technology use, such as setting limits on screen time and creating tech-free zones. Model and promote a healthy balance between online and offline activities.
Cultivate digital citizenship. Foster a culture of digital citizenship by emphasizing empathy, respect, and responsible behavior in online interactions. Teach students about the potential consequences of cyberbullying, digital harassment, and the importance of being an upstanding digital citizen.
Prioritize mental health. Educate students about the potential negative impacts of excessive screen time on mental health. Encourage regular breaks, physical activity, and stress-reduction techniques. Integrate digital wellness practices into the curriculum, such as mindfulness exercises and digital detox challenges.
Engage parents and guardians. Collaborate with parents and guardians to establish consistent digital wellness guidelines. Provide resources and workshops that empower them to support their children in developing healthy digital habits at home.
Teach Kids Digital Wellness With Net Positive
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens and leaders. We accomplish this by providing evidence-based programs with a focus on those that improve academic engagement, build character, and improve healthy behaviors.
We believe digital wellness means using technology to help you thrive as an individual, especially emotionally and mentally. Our Net Positive Program educates K-12 students about digital safety, health, citizenship, and leadership. After participating in our program, students are 97% better prepared to face internet dangers. Contact us to learn more and ask your school to schedule a Net Positive Presentation today!
“Digital Wellness.” Student Wellness Center, swc.osu.edu/wellness-education-and-resources/ten-dimensions-of-wellness/digital-wellness. Accessed 26 June 2023.
“Maintain Privacy and Digital Wellness.” UW Privacy Office, 13 Dec. 2022, privacy.uw.edu/privacy/digital-wellness/.