Option 2: Choose this option if you feel like your tech habits never cause you to leave the Green Zone.
Part A: Answer the following questions:
Describe how you feel and act when your mental health is thriving in the Green Zone?
I feel that I am in control of my life and even though sometimes, unexpected things happen, I’m able to overcome these challenges. I’m happy a lot of the time, but also feel other feelings like sadness and fear and anger sometimes.
B) Describe the tech habits and strategies you use to keep you in the Green Zone.
I find helpful to play some music or a quiet and cozy studio vlog/weekend vlog with no voiceover and calm music on youtube, which prevents me from being tempted by other, more distracting youtube videos that make me focus on the video and not your homework. When I procrastinate, I get very very stressed and anxious after I realized I’ve wasted all my time not doing what I was supposed to do and now I have no time left. When scrolling through the instagram “explore” page, it instantly loads the content below so there is no wait, and it’s very easy to scroll on and on and on. To avoid falling into this never-ending hole, I will avoid the explore page when using instagram and only check new posts from the people I follow. I also try not to compare my life to someone else’s life online, because even all the pictures make their life seem perfect, they’re only sharing the good parts of their life and none of the rough patches.
Part B: You are going to write a Mental Health ‘How to Guide’ for 6th Graders who are new to tech use. For some, it’s the first time they get a smartphone. For others, it’s their first laptop. You may also write this for “Future you” if you currently don’t use much tech, but may start in the future.
What do they need to be mindful of with regards to gaming and/or social media use? What advice can you give about popular apps (like WeChat) or certain ‘addictive’ games? (Use what you know about the positives and negatives of gaming/social media use and how they can affect the brain and mental health).
I don’t have much experience with gaming, but in terms of social media, it’s important to effectively manage your time when using social media, because bad time management can easily lead to stress and anxiety. My tips on managing time on YouTube, is to know when you have to stop, and try and prevent yourself from clicking on the next video in your recommended feed. In order to stop myself from clicking on the next video, I add it to my “watch later” folder where I can go to watch the videos I saved later, when I have more time. For instagram, I know the explore page is going to allow me to scroll on endlessly, so I avoid tapping on any posts from the explore page. Another tip is to try not to compare yourself to others, whether if you think think someone is prettier than you, has a cleaner room, or eats healthier. Something I like to keep in mind, especially when on instagram where everyone’s lives look perfect, is that behind the camera, there could be a huge mess of clothes, or the it took a lot of time and effort to get their hair and makeup right, and it was one good day in a week of bad ones. People tend to post only the good parts of their life on social media, and I try to remember that when I’m comparing my life to someone else’s. It’s important not to compare yourself with others, because it can lead to a low self-esteem and even depression, or just make you sad.
2) What are some good tech habits to stay in the thriving Green Zone of Mental Health?
Managing when you use screens, for example, before doing homework or after, and how much time you spend on screens can help you continue to thrive in the green zone. Every person is different, so I can’t say when or how long you can use your device for, but finding a time limit and tech schedule that works has helped me. One more thing is to just get off your screens for a weekend or so and take a break. I don’t do this a lot, but when I do, I find I have so much more time on my hands to just relax and do others things I enjoy or spend time with family and friends.
3) Describe some strategies they could use if their mental health becomes unsettled or if they start to struggle in the Yellow or Orange Zone? Explain how or why these strategies can help them get back to the Green Zone.
If your mental health wanders to the yellow or orange zone, I have two strategies. One that I find very useful, is to first look at how much I’m sleeping, and how my use of technology affects my sleep. I find if I’m on a screen one hour or less before bed, I’ll have trouble falling asleep, and can often end up still wide awake at 12:00 pm on a school night. According to the Harvard Health Publishing (https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health), sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mental health, which is why getting a good night’s sleep, and tech-free an hour before bed is so crucial to returning to the Green Zone. Another way to return to the green zone is to look for a new hobby, or invest some more time in an existing hobby that you may have started to spend less time on. Anything that makes you more happy. I love drawing on my iPad and painting, and whenever I make art it calms me and makes me really happy. Whenever I have time, I’ll try and block out some time for art.