SEL and Digital Wellness
With the rise of technology use in and out of the classroom, the digital world has become a central part of our learners’ life experiences, relationships, and identities. So, what can we do to support the digital wellness of our learners? The answer is social-emotional learning (SEL).
CASEL defines SEL as the process of:
- Acquiring and applying knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities
- Managing emotions
- Achieving personal and collective goals
- Feeling and showing empathy for others
- Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships
- Making responsible and caring decisions
SEL has become an increasingly popular and important topic within the field of education over the past decade. A growing body of research shows that SEL has a wide variety of positive impacts on the lives of learners, even into adulthood.
In addition to SEL’s surge in popularity and importance, the world has also seen a drastic increase in technology and digital media use in the classroom since the start of COVID-19. The use of technology has become the norm and has connected learners in ways we have never seen before. Considering these new norms within education and social interactions, our learners need SEL to ensure digital wellness now more than ever.
Digital Wellness 101
Digital wellness is an intentional state of physical, mental, and social health that results from mindful engagement with the digital and natural environment.
Promote and prioritize digital wellness for your learners by discussing ways they can positively interact online. Encourage them to check in with themselves regularly to evaluate if and how their digital use is affecting their overall health. Is their digital use affecting their:
- Physical health: Are they getting rejuvenating sleep? Consistent exercise? How is their eye health?
- Cognitive health: Are they harnessing opportunities to learn? How long are they spending on active and passive screen time? How is their ability to focus and concentrate?
- Emotional health: Are they able to create and maintain quality relationships?
- Community interaction: Are they posting and sharing accurate information? Are they making the internet a more positive place?
While we may not be able to control how our learners use technology, we can support our learners in becoming more mindful of the ways they interact with the digital world.
How to Use SEL to Promote Digital Wellness Among Learners:
When used healthily and responsibly, technology and digital media can have plenty of positive impacts as well. By taking advantage of digital tools that we know our learners are interested in (e.g., tablets, computers, or smartboards) we can successfully build safe and supportive learning environments to teach lifelong SEL skills.
Some of our SEL and digital wellness lesson topics include:
- How We Treat Others Online
- The Impacts of Social Media
- Forming Healthy Social Media and Technology Use Habits
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