I’ve been talking about balanced use of technology in terms of Digital Nutrition for about three years now*.When I was invited to speak at the 2016 DigCit Summit at Twitter HQ in San Francisco, I really wanted to present something completely new and launch the next logical step in the Digital Nutrition concept – the idea of Virtual Vitamins.
With the American Academy of Paediatrics releasing their updated guidelines for children and digital media use, much focus has been placed on the need to evaluate and appraise the quality of the content of the screen based media young people consume.
Now more than ever, the analogy between our use of digital devices and our relationship to and consumption of food is one that is easy for many to digest (pardon the pun).
If we ‘are what we eat’, then how does the time we spend online impact who we are?
Here are some questions to ponder:
- How might we consider more effectively the cognitive, social, emotional impacts of technology?
- How do we develop healthy technology habits that negate the need for digital detoxes?
- Imagine if apps and games came with nutritional labels.
- How do we feed our mind the best, most accurate information and ideas?
Screentime is an outdated concept –
Ditch digital calorie counting and instead think about ‘virtual vitamins’
The online supermarket is jammed full of choice. Its difficult for families to know what to choose from the 1.7 million apps and games available. How do we know what to look for? Do we simply trust reviews? Can we expect Google or Apple to evaluate the claims made (as healthy or educational) on our behalves? Can we trust developers to design ethically with consumers best interests at heart? No, no, no – we cant.What we need is to think more carefully about the virtual ingredients contained in online activities and to understand their impacts better. We need to be in control of and take responsibility for what we engage in online. Just like when you eat a fast-food-chain-meal you have a sense of the nutritional value (or lack thereof).
Proteins are essential building blocks for cells and cell function. Play is an essential skill young people develop (and many adults forget!). Digital play provides opportunities for learning through discovery and role-playing, which in turn can help develop social-emotional skills like empathy.
Much of what we do with technology is consume content, especially in relation to social media. There is huge competition for your attention and for you to remain engaged with the activity/app/blog etc. We want to move towards is using technology less to passively consume, and instead champion technology being used to create and contribute. This might be via using information to solve problems and show this new knowledge in videos or photographs that might demonstrate learning in new ways.The opportunity to be creative keeps imagination unlocked and helps develop novel solution-focused thinking.
Empathy is a key social-emotional skill that many fear is being diluted by technology use, lack of eye contact and other verbal skills.When appraising apps, games and digital activities look for features which enhance connection through exploring rich stories & alternative perspectives. Go beyond the popular highly marketed games and look for games made by smaller, purpose driven companies that might be part of the ‘serious games’ movement.Here are two games which teach empathy.
of the apps, games and activities we engage with online?
Email me your ideas, comment below or tweet @DigiNutrition and #VirtualVitamins// WATCH MY DIGCITSUMMIT PRESENTATION ON VIRTUAL VITAMINS BELOW \\
This page once included this image which is property of https://www.kratomiq.com/ and their lawyers (perhaps bots) sent me an email in Jan 2023 asking to be credited for it. I changed the header image at this time as it wasn’t actually the best image for the title of the blog. I am glad to know that Kratomiq have enough money to chase up random uses of images on the internet. Thank you for the opportunity to learn about Mitragyna Speciosa and this fascinating plant.