Simple, natural, present : Let kids take a break from technology

Kids are surrounded by the wonders of technology, and taking a mind-relieving break from it promotes better use and positive thinking.

Photo of Carolyn REEB
6 26

Written by

I love technology, education, family, ocean destination traveling, the environment,  social connections enhanced by technology, and so much more. All of this is possible because of technology and continual research and advancement. 

By allowing our students to create, get messy, explore, tinker, and be themselves without the pressure and interruption of digital technology for most of the day, we are enhancing students' abilities to actually create and seek out positive connections on-line that transfer to real-life connections.

Gentle coaching and behavioral influencers in non-tech, social environments are the key to reaching our outliers and bringing students to their potentials.

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

I went from a tech-heavy school environment to a tech-free school environment, and it made all the difference in the world. After living through the stress and built-up tensions that were ever-present in the tech-focused environment, and then experiencing the natural, relaxed students in the tech-free school, I realized that I want my kids to grow up in the tech-free school environment. The presence of technology became more apparent to me to be contributing to student stress and anxiety.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Karen

Hi Carolyn,

I teach second grade, tech free would work in my class! Don't need it for testing. Hands on practice with a partner is more sociable. That said, are students in a tech-free school natural and relaxed because the school is tech free or because they are lucky enough to come from homes where screen-time is monitored and moderated? Perhaps families that monitor screen time might also gravitate toward schools that are tech-free thus these kids could already be less anxious and stressed.



Photo of Carolyn REEB

Great point, Karen! I think there is a lot to be said for the fact that even Steve Jobs did not allow his kids to have iPads and closely monitored his kids tech time. It is something that causes more stress and anxiety.

Photo of Paul Kim

Hi Carolyn,

First of all, thanks for participating in this collaboration between the Teachers Guild and ISTE. We really appreciate your contributions!

We’re in the last week of the build phase of the challenge on digital citizenship so it’s time to fine tune your idea before final voting begins next week.

Here are some things to consider as you continue to build on your idea:
- is your idea clear and will it inspire action from other teachers?
- would it be easy for a teacher to incorporate your idea about digital citizenship in their classroom?
- does your idea include some component of research and are there shareable resources?
- is your idea student-centered and does it promote agency?


Photo of George Phillip

I love this idea. We are starting to push the idea of a healthy digital life. When and where we can use and when it's time to take a break. Great idea!

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos

Hi Carolyn,
Your idea reminds me of Cara's idea on the platform :

You both related back to this notion of "taking time out" and slowing down.

I do wonder about ways we can blend the two worlds. How might we leverage technology to create kinder citizens and blending it with this idea of disconnecting ?

In other words, how might we be more intentional and purposeful when we use it. This is a great book if you haven't seen it already > Alex Soojung Kim Pang's book "Distraction Addiction". He says there is a light at the end of the tunnel---we can elevate ourselves above the anxiety and stress that technology brings us.

You can check out that resource here:

Photo of Carolyn REEB

Thanks for the link, Jennifer! I'll check out the book.
I think that you've hit the mark identifying the need to slow down and strike a balance. I hadn't seen Cara's post, but I'd like to hear what she finds as possible adjustments in order to achieve this.
Just from looking at the site you linked, I love the summary quote, 'connection is inevitable, distraction is a choice.' I think allowing a break from technology for long periods of time and not penalizing students for things like not checking email or a blog are very important.
Thanks again for the link!