Using Screen Time to Build Self Esteem: Can That Really be True?
Building Self Esteem
Is it possible to connect screen time with self-esteem? You might find this hard to believe and think about the time your child was accused of bullying someone online, or the time your daughter cried all night because her group of friends posted pictures of a party she wasn’t invited to or what about the endless chat streak arguments that you know make everyone feel badly? Children and teens are naturally drawn to screens so the goal is to guide them in using screens appropriately. With positive screen goals and skills, screens can build self-esteem and provide many opportunities for learning and growth. You might even be surprised at the techy skill set your child already has and how it might be used as a future job skill.
“Sara, can you please help me with this?”
“I am working on my presentation for work and it looks so boring. I need to add some visuals and have no idea how.”
“Oh, that’s easy! I will be right there.”’
Sara has been taking a graphic design class at school and has been putting her creative skills to use digitally. She has been getting an A in the class and loves the projects. This is a perfect example of how a challenge can be turned into a positive all while building self-esteem.
- Learning new skills and developing career goals- Some children and teens are naturally gifted when it comes to the digital world and screens. Their natural curiosity and ability to use technology often inspires them to turn a passion into a career.
- Initiating a friendship/communication for shy children – While some children with ADHD struggle with friendships due to impulsivity, others cognitively shut down when they don’t know what to say socially. Screens provide a great place to think about what to say before actually saying anything. The person on the other end doesn’t have to “see” how nervous your child is. This can provide just the boost of confidence your child needs before practicing in person.
- Self-Advocacy – Drafting and sending emails to teachers is a great way to help your tween and teen develop solid self-advocacy skills. It also takes the pressure off having to remember to talk to a teacher and on top of that remember your question. This automatically builds self-esteem because your child will feel heard and will get more comfortable with asking questions.
- Homework – Of course it would be nice to always remember to write down homework assignments with all of the details but the reality is that this can be a very challenging task! Screens have made it possible to reach out to a classmate to double check on a homework assignment or to even have a picture taken of an assignment. For some children, keeping track of their homework by taking a picture of the board has made the constant battle of using a paper agenda a thing of the past. And yes, your children probably do need to check their phone for a group chat that was created to work on a group project! Self-esteem grows when you are a successful student.
All of these positives have something in common and that is self-empowerment. Each of these positive uses of screens bring about feelings of being in control. With an ADHD diagnosis feelings of being out of control can exacerbate symptoms and decrease self-esteem. Using technology to streamline school assignments, practice new habits and share knowledge provide a boost for self-esteem and an avenue for personal growth. You can see this come together when Sara is stuck on a school assignment.
“Sara, how is your lab report coming along?”
“Are you sure? You said that last time and got a D.”
“It’s just really hard, I don’t understand what she wants in the analysis section. No one in my group gets it, she is so confusing.”
“Why don’t you stay after for some extra help.”
“No, that’s even worse! It doesn’t help!”
“Could you send her an email with your questions about the analysis section and see if that helps.”
‘What would I say?”
“Hmmm, well you could let her know you are confused and could she tell you what goes into the analysis section.”
“Ok, she probably won’t answer me but I will try. Can you help me write it out?”
Sara ended up being surprised when her teacher got back to her quickly with a list of what should be in the section. Sara found that it was easy to ask her teacher questions this way and the replies she received from her teacher were easy to understand.