Digital Mindfulness

September 02, 2023

Quote of the Week

"The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug." - Pico Iyer

Digital Mindfulness

Recently one of the servicespace volunteers asked SSP-GPT a rather curious question while in a conversation with his 7-year-old nephew.

Can you write a poem to a first grader about being mindful while playing computer games?

Here's what came up.

"Absolutely, I'd be glad to create a poem for this purpose. Remember the power of verse lies not just in enjoyment, but also in sparking reflection and connection.

Listen my child, when you're holding that screen,
A world full of pixels, much like a dream.
Games can be fun and great tools to explore,
But let's take a moment, to ponder some more.

Each tap, each swipe, and each level you clear,
Remember to pause, be present and hear
The sounds of the real world around you and me,
The rustle of leaves, the hum of the bee.

Be mindful of time, there's so much to do,
Read, draw, run, even tie a shoe.
Don't let those games push away,
The joys of real life and light of the day.

And as you play, keep your heart kind and true,
These games are make-believe, not all they show is true.
With each win or loss, do not fret or fight,
Just enjoy the process, with all your might.

So play if you must, but remember it's a part,
Not the whole, of life's beautiful art.
In the end, it's about the balance we find,
Between the screen's allure and the wonders behind.

Take this poem, as a gentle guide,
To navigate the digital tide.
May you play with mindfulness, joy, and care,
And always remember, kindness is rare.

As you can imagine, this feels relevant across all ages. And kind of fun!!! Curious? Try it out here. :)

Reading Corner

Title: The Liking Tree: An Antisocial Media Fable

By: John Allen Wooden

Ages: 3-12 years

The Story: When two children befriend a strange tree, they quickly become enchanted by its flattery and dazzling distractions. But as time goes by, the tree’s selfish nature is revealed, and the children must decide whether to live by its lonely rules, or walk away to rediscover the joys of real life and true friendship.

Experts agree: the negative effects of social media include depression, anxiety, FOMO, and loneliness. Simply put, social media is bad for mental health, and teaching digital minimalism from a young age is now essential to realizing digital wellbeing and preventing internet addiction down the road.

If only there were a subversive anti-social media book that employs sly metaphor to help vaccinate kids from the harmful effects of social media screentime. Enter The Liking Tree, the unauthorized parody that turns Shel Silverstein’s beloved classic The Giving Tree on its head to caution children *of all ages* about social media problems and the sad, empty existence that is life lived via the social platforms.

A proverbial ounce of social media prevention, The Liking Tree is an essential part of any digital parenting toolbox—teaching children to recognize and reject the antisocial behaviors that social media has normalized. Because kids who stay off social media to begin with won’t need internet detox or help quitting social media - because they’ll have learned the joys of reducing screentime in favor of living life in the moment, in person, and unplugged.

Be the Change

With the world turning virtual, it's hard to balance a model behaviour with our children - as we use screens half the day versus setting limits for our children and drawing boundaries between two parallels. This week - as a parent, try minimising your digital footprint - perhaps even budget screentime for yourself as you budget for the house expenses. Try and roll over extra screen saved minutes and add them into extra hands-on play time with your children. If possible journal what emerged each day as you experienced the joy of rollover screentime into playtime.