Teaching students how to manage digital distractions

When I was a teenager, I had a dumb phone that I mostly used for emergencies. By the time I got to work with teenagers, they had sophisticated devices through which they could even fact check me during classes. That’s not to say that my education was better than theirs, or that my generation was less distracted. It was just different.

Nowadays, as it was back then, distraction remains the top enemy of classroom learning. When we think of distractions, we think of students using their devices for nonclass purposes, the ones that have to be on TikTok all the time or respond to messages as soon as a notification pops up.

This type of behavior has been connected to FOMO (The fear of missing out), which is actually a form of anxiety. Whenever they feel bored, want to be entertained, or just want to be connected all the time to friends and family, students’ go-to method is to check their phones. Others claim that emotional support and social engagement are the primary drivers of using social media more often.

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