Parents are often at a loss about how to manage the amount of time children spend using technology. This is becoming particularly difficult as students are required to not only undertake their research electronically, but also to complete their work from school either on-line or at least on the computer.  It can be hard to tell whether your child is doing legitimate work, or working legitimately with “study buddies” online, or whether or not they are getting distracted with gaming, social media and the like.

Here are the Top Ten tips to help you manage your child’s technology use.

  • Model good technology behaviour 

Parents are the number one role model for students. If you are always on your phone, iPad or computer, even if it’s for work, you are sending the message that this is appropriate. Make sure you regularly take time to “unplug” and demonstrate that it’s more important to engage with people than technology. For example turn off your phone when you are having family time (even for a short burst) or rather than watching a family movie, organise a family outing.

  • Try to understand the technology your child is using and why

Some students will happily use the technology available to help them with their homework without getting distracted. Many will easily become distracted by, or will prioritise, social media, online gaming, apps related to their interests, YouTube etc. To help your child manage these distractions it is useful to spend time with them understanding what they are using technology for and why. Developing this understanding will help you set limits which are reasonable to both parties.

  • Set clear limits in relation to technology time 

Parents need to decide what they consider to be a reasonable amount of technology time per day and per week. As mentioned above, understanding why and how your child is using technology will inform this decision. What works for each family will be different, but options include: no technology before school, technology for a particular amount of time each day, electronic games on the weekend only. It’s vital to be consistent with whichever system you choose for it to work well.

  • Monitor technology use 

If you aren’t sure what your child is doing when they are on the computer (homework or something else), then move the computer to where you can monitor what they are doing. This can be difficult depending on your family and space available. If it’s not possible to move the child/computer, consider doing quiet activities in the space they are using, such as reading or ironing, to monitor their use.

  • Establish “screen free” systems – days, spaces etc.

Make sure technology doesn’t dictate your home and family life. Establish “screen free” spaces eg. the kitchen and dining table. Perhaps have a screen free day on the weekend? This encourages the whole family into more active pursuits and positive interactions.

  • Centralise storage of handheld devices 

Have a rule that all handheld devices are stored in the one place (along with their chargers) so when it’s not an approved technology time, the device is away and not causing a distraction.

  • Use technology time as a reward 

Show that you can be reasonable and flexible. If your child has done all their schoolwork and has enjoyed other activities/completed chores etc. there is no reason why some additional screen time can’t be used as an occasional reward. However, mixing up the rewards with other activities will benefit the whole family.

  • Provide lots of opportunities for physical activity and socialising 

Time which used to be spent in physical activity or more creative leisure pursuits is now often spent on technology. Providing opportunities for students to participate in meaningful and enjoyable activities away from technology helps them to find other interests and connect with people. Options include organised sports, playing music, learning a new skill etc.

  • Use parental controls to block particular sites 

Parental controls are useful to block particular websites which have inappropriate content or which your child gets easily distracted by. The Australian Government’s CyberSmart program makes various recommendations http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Parents/About%20the%20technology/Parental%20controls.aspx

  • Change the WiFi password

If nothing else works, and your child is constantly on social media or surfing the net, consider changing the WiFi password. Whilst it’s an extreme measure it is sometimes useful as a reminder that there are other things that need to be done.

 

If your school subscribes to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au  you can learn more about how to prepare for exams and manage stress with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.

Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources: www.enhanced-learning.net
Online Study Skills Handbook: www.studyskillshandbook.com.au

 

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This month’s tip from Rocky Biasi at Human Connections.  Learn more about ‘tapping’ techniques that can help manage stress at: https://xb145.isrefer.com/go/entap/Enhanced/

SYDNEY ONLY: Individuals (parents and students) may be interested in attending a workshop in Sydney during October run by Karen Gilles on enhancing self-awareness and self-understanding, which will also help stress management: http://www.embodiedgroundedconnection.com/Workshops.html. Watch this YT video for more info:  http://youtu.be/U1OsiSnrLwE

If you listen to our podcast, Braintree Podcast, we’d love you to take this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XHX72SN

 

Recently a student sent this email: Hi I was wondering if you could do a tip on staying positive when you are stressed and feeling depressed as our exams are coming up and I have been feeling depressed lately and I think it would help.

It can be difficult to stay positive or “be up” as exams approach. The more important the exam the more stress we can feel. Worse, if we don’t do anything to make us feel good, stress can lead to anxiety and depression. There are many reasons why students feel this stress and depressed mood as examination dates approach.

  • Students receive distorted messages and perceptions about the importance of the exams, such as, “this can/will determine your future” etc.
  • With the pressure and stress of exams students avoid doing the work necessary to be prepared and as a result feel more overwhelmed, hopeless, anxious etc. Students can feel they have no control of their situation.
  • When we allow the pressure, stress and upset to build we can get into bad habits and let go of good habits. As a result students can feel more drained and exhausted and find it difficult or impossible to “climb out of the dark hole” they are in.

A holistic approach to boost wellbeing as exams approach 

The key to being positive and managing negative emotions such as anxiety and feeling down and depressed in any pressure situation including exams is to “fuel up”. It goes without saying that if students are exhausted, tired, stressed, depressed etc. it is very difficult if not impossible to deal with the pressure of exams. “Fuelling Up” is about boosting wellbeing factors in students’ lives. Students need to boost the wellbeing factors in their BODY, MIND and EMOTIONS.

Trying to “feel good” or be “positive” when the body is exhausted and depleted is impossible! This is something we all know yet many of us find it difficult to change.

 

TIPS FOR YOUR STUDENTS FOR WELLBEING

Here are some things you can do to boost the energy in your BODY:

  • See a doctor.

Visit your doctor and get a check up. It’s important that any medical issues are ruled out because you may try some of the following tips without noticing any benefit while all along there may have been a medical issue that needed attention.

  • Get better sleep.

Feeling good starts with getting the right amount and type of sleep. Start with a good night-time routine. Stop anything that stimulates you such as caffeine or TV or computer, iPad or phone screens etc. for an hour before you go to bed. Try a warm drink such as chamomile tea and use essential oils such as lavender oil. Having a soothing bath or shower can also help along with gentle stretching of tight or tense muscles. If you still feel you are not getting a “good” sleep be sure to see your doctor.

  • Eat in Moderation

Never skip a meal, especially breakfast. Breakfast replenishes your body and helps you start your day full of energy. Eat three main meals, and two to three snack meals a day. Eating five to six times in a day keeps your blood sugar levels balanced, giving you an overall sense of well-being needed for focusing on your tasks and responsibilities.

  • Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise, at least three times per week for a minimum of 30 minute sessions, can virtually “soak up” stress chemicals in your body and help you to relax and even sleep better. Brisk walking, aerobic classes, swimming, bike riding, or jogging are great exercises to release stress buildup and relax your body and mind to either start or end your day right.

 

Here are some things you can do to THINK more positively: 

  • Change your thinking and perceptions

Write down your top 5 fears and worries. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Then ask yourself, “IS THAT TRUE”? Usually fears and worries are not based on reality but on imagined scenarios that have little to no evidence. If it’s something that can’t be changed bring acceptance to it. It is what it is for now!

  • Change your focus

Have you noticed that what we worry about we make bigger and keep closer to us by the way we think and focus. Try this…make your fears and worries SMALL in size (5 cm in height) DARK in brightness and as far away as possible in DISTANCE. When we change the size, brightness and distance of the things that upset us in our minds it reduces the intensity of the emotion.

 

Here are some things you can do to FEEL more positive:

  • Acts of kindness

Make a list of 5 acts of kindness you can do every day. Make them simple acts of kindness that are easy to do such as saying thank you etc. Do these 5 acts of kindness every day for 6 weeks. The research shows that people that do this and think of 3 good things in their life (as above) have a dramatic positive boost in their mood.

  • 3 good things exercisegood day 1 col

Every day at the start and end of your day think of 3 good things that happened. Write them down. Then think about either WHY those good things happened or how it MADE YOU FEEL when those good things happened.

 

If your school subscribes to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au  you can learn more about how to prepare for exams and manage stress with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.

Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources: www.enhanced-learning.net
Online Study Skills Handbook: www.studyskillshandbook.com.au

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STUDY SKILLS TIP #56 – RESEARCH ON MULTI-TASKING

August 31, 2014

Even though parents and teachers tell students that multi-tasking is not an effective way to work, sometimes students just don’t believe them! They think they are different, they think it is just something parents and teachers say with no evidence. So here are some academic research studies to demonstrate to students where the proof is […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP #55 – WHERE TO FIND HELP

August 1, 2014

Where can students find help when they are struggling at school? The following information will help you give guidance depending on the type of issue:   ADVICE FOR STUDENTS HAVING PERSONAL ISSUES If things in your life are upsetting you or stressing you this will affect your ability to learn effectively. Talk to your family, […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP #54 – MANAGING STRESS & RELAXING

July 1, 2014

Seven Quick Tips to Help Your Student Relax The daily demands of life, such as exams, peer pressure, and homework assignments, or the challenges of relationships, family, or not making it on a sporting team can lead to an overwhelming feeling of stress. What students need to learn is how to cope with these situations in order to […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP #53 – HAVING SET TIMES FOR SCHOOLWORK

June 1, 2014

Many students when they come home from school end up just waiting until they might ‘feel’ like doing schoolwork. Or else they drag the work out over the whole night. A much better way to work is each night have set allocated times for schoolwork, 2-3 half hour blocks. During this time students should do homework […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP #52 – THINKING AHEAD

May 1, 2014

Do you have a student who is riding a rollercoaster at school? Rollercoaster study is where students stay up late doing last minute assignments, then they take it easy for a while and do very little, then panic again when something is due and have to spend huge amounts of time at the end completing the work. If students […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP #51 – WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE HOMEWORK?

March 31, 2014

Homework in secondary school serves many purposes. It could be to consolidate or check or extend the learning from the day or prepare for the learning to come in subsequent days. It could be to do with longer term work such as assignments or preparing for tests and examinations. Ultimately it comes back to what […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP # 50 – 5 REASONS NOT TO PUT OFF STARTING ASSIGNMENTS

March 1, 2014

Here are 5 reasons you can give your students as to why they should start working on their assignments immediately. 1. GET YOUR BRAIN THINKING ABOUT THE TOPIC: Even if your assignment isn’t due for weeks, start thinking about it immediately. At the very least, answer the key starter questions on the day you get your assignment. […]

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STUDY SKILLS TIP 49 – SECONDARY SCHOOL SUCCESS

January 31, 2014

Every parent and teacher would like to see students achieving their personal academic best at school. Knowing how to work efficiently can help students navigate the mire of academic demands in secondary school in a stress-free way. Here are the top five tips for your students about making the most of their time at school this […]

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