How do we instill an insatiable desire to learn and live life to the fullest while teaching students to self regulate when it comes to cell phone use?
Self – regulation is the process that the brain goes through that gives us the ability to control our behaviors and emotions in response to a particular situation. It’s having the skill to calm ourselves down when upset or in distress.
In this day and age all of us need to monitor how and why we use our cell phones. According to Dr. Stuart Shanker self -regulation is as much about regulating positive emotions as it is about down regulating negative emotions . Only when we are regulated can we self – regulate.
As adults we need to model self – regulation. There are several ways we attempt to soothe ourselves. some good , some not so good. The coping skills we use can help us or hurt us. If we want to help others then we need to model positive cell phone use and be able to share with others what we do and how we do it.
Self–evaluation is pivotal. Evaluate your thoughts , feelings and actions when it comes to your cell phone use
• Be open … ask yourself is my cell phone use helping or hurting me or others?
Ask yourself …
- Does my cell phone use lift me up or tear me down?
- Is there ways to change my use of my cell phone so that I can feel better about myself?
- Am I on my phone too much ? Do others notice and think I should change?
- Is using my cell phone too much stressing me out? If so how can I restore my energy? What do I need to do differently?
- Am I getting enough sleep , exercise , and nutrition ? Acknowledge what you need to do to change.
- Do I have a positive self –esteem? Am I using my phone because I know it will help me or hurt me?
- Are my relationships in tact? Do I find many opportunities to connect F2F?
- Am I more anxious , happy or sad because of my cell phone use?
- Do I really need to use your phone right now or can it wait till later?
- Am I on track with what I need to do or is my cell phone just a distraction for me right now?
- Am I being mindful of what I really need to do ? Am I prioritizing what is truly important in my life or am I using my cell phone as an escape?
How to self – regulate when it comes to phone use:
• Try asking your friends and family for tips. What works for them?
Try some of these tips.
• Keep phone on vibrate instead of listening to the constant ping of the phone. I have my phone on vibrate 99% of the time.
• Turn phone face down when not using it so you don’t look at it all the time.
• Put your phone somewhere not easily available when eating meals or at times that you know you need a break.
• Set times that you will use your phone and times you won’t ( I make it my rule that I never take my phone out while eating a meal or talking with someone) .
• Get involved … have a number of interests. It’s hard to use your cell phone while playing hockey or dancing or singing or a zillion of the other great things you can get involved in.
• Put your phone away at night and use an alarm clock instead so you can get a good nights sleep away from your phone.
Use Self- talk
• I do not need to be on my cell phone right now, it is not helpful.
• I can wait till later to use my cell phone because I need to be present to what is happening right now in this moment.
• I am proud of myself and the positive ways I use my cell phone
• If cell phone use has become a concern … journal what is happening for you.
• Journal all the positive ways you use your cell phone.
• Do you pause between being triggered and responding by being on your phone? Ask yourself is connecting leading to you feeling happy, sad, validated or invalidated, included or excluded?
• Ask yourself : How can I feel connected and close to others ? Is online the best way to do this at this time?
Positive Coping Strategies
• Make a list of yours and share it with your family and friends.
Stages of Change
• Ask yourself and be honest What stage of change am I in ? Ask yourself what is holding me back or moving me forward when it comes to my cell phone use ?
• Ask yourself … do I need help to get to where I want to go? If so your School Counsellor, Psychologist or a therapist can help you.
• To friends, teachers, your family, a School Counsellor . We all need a little support in order to self – regulate when it comes to our cell phone use. It is a strength to ask for help.
Maybe you need a little digital detox . It is more than ok to take a break from your phone. You decide what works best for you now that you have taken an honest look at yourself.
Once you have learned ways to help yourself , you maybe able to assist others with their technology use as well. Recognize that you are not perfect and will need to self evaluate often … I know I do.
So grow, learn and live the best possible life you can recognizing that technology has the power to help you or hurt you. What you do is up to you. I love my phone and I’m sure you do too. So let’s see if we can self-regulate to make ourselves and the world a better place. Maybe someday we’ll meet face to face and talk about how we did.