Why? We make hundreds of choices every week about how we act online, and how we engage with the world through screens.
And if we stop to think, a lot of those actions don't really align with who we we are and who we want to be in the world. So this week, before you click, post, or even turn on a screen, pause for 10 seconds and think, how can I do this with character?
On Social: Instead of just "liking" something, tell that person why you like it!
Texting: Ask yourself, "Is right now the best time to take that person out of what they're doing?" It takes 23 minutes to come back from a distraction.
Reading News: Ask yourself, is this source credible? Who wrote it? Who funds it? What would someone from a different viewpoint think about this?
Emailing: Before hitting send, reread and think, how will the receiver feel?
Watching "TV": When you're going to watch a show, pause and think, what need am I looking to fulfill? What character strengths can I cultivate? Humor, perspective, curiosity, the list goes on.
The #TechLifeBalance Challenges are part of the sixth annual Character Day where millions around the world will gather in schools, companies, and homes to discuss the relationship between technology, screen use, and character development. We cannot wait to have a global conversation with people of all ages, in all different settings (schools, workplaces, homes, and online across them all) about the relationship between character development (strengths like empathy, humor, gratitude, self-control, and leadership) and screen use. Talk about using the beast to tame the beast.
Which brings us back to the Week 3 Challenge...Cultivating Character Online. Who's In?
Social media is a mixed bag: on the one hand, it can connect us to new people, new ideas, and new communities. On the other hand, advertising-based models of social networking can be damaging, spreading Fake News and elevating the extreme views to the center of cultural conversation. What can we do about it?
"Today’s call-out culture is so seductive, I often have to resist the overwhelming temptation to clap back at people on social media who get on my nerves. Call-outs happen when people publicly shame each other online, at the office, in classrooms or anywhere humans have beef with one another. But I believe there are better ways of doing social justice work."
"MIT researchers recently studied more than 10 years' worth of data on the most shared stories on Facebook. The researchers concluded that 'falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information.'"
"Traditionally, news organizations tend to follow the old edict, 'If it bleeds, it leads.' People are naturally attracted to negative news, in part because our brains are primed to scan the environment for danger and remember threats later, as a way of promoting survival. But being exposed to fear-inducing stimuli over and over again—with unsettling images streaming in from across the globe thanks to modern technology—can make us feel helpless, which is not good for our personal well-being or for society as a whole."
“'My mom loves taking pictures, and even if she says she won’t post it, she posts it...And the thing is, I don't follow her on Facebook or anything because I don't use Facebook, but she’s big on it.' Boomers and older generations are by no means the only people having trouble in our new and chaotic information environment..."
"Today's kids are impressively tech-savvy. But the digital world -- just like the non-digital world -- requires all kinds of skills that kids don't simply pick up as they go. Digital citizenship and media literacy have to be taught and modeled. How do kids tell the difference between trustworthy and false information on the web? What should they do if they witness cyberbullying? How do they keep their personal information private online?" Check out K-12 curriculum.
Our partners at Inner Explorer offer an award-winning series of daily 5-10-minute audio-guided mindfulness practices that teach kids (PreK-12) the practical techniques to handle stress, anxiety, anger and more.
"It's important to choose movies that impart lessons designed for your kid's age and developmental stage. Discover the secret to picking movies that strengthen character strengths and life skills, from curiosity to courage to compassion."
This amazing resource for teenagers starts by asking how do you want to feel? Happy, supported, balanced, energized, respected, with purpose, etc. Then it provides 5-min exercises to help get there.
"What is the role of journalism in a democratic society, and how can we become responsible consumers and producers of news and information in the digital age?"
Class Dojo is one of the most beautiful examples of using tech for good: their platform connects millions of educators, students, and parents every day. Check out their video series on Growth Mindset.