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    Bloomz Blog


    Understanding Digital Wellness

    by Ellen Ullman, on May 21, 2024 11:35:51 AM

    We spoke with Kerry Gallagher, JD, assistant principal for teaching and learning and classroom teacher at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass and the director of education at ConnectSafely, a nonprofit focused on internet safety. Gallagher shared valuable insights into digital wellness.

    Digital wellness is different than digital citizenship
    “Digital citizenship, the more familiar term, is behavior focused. It’s about being your true self online, contributing positively to the digital world, and treating others with kindness and care,” says Gallagher. “Digital wellness encompasses this and goes further. It’s about being a good digital citizen while also regularly checking in with yourself to ensure your overall well being is maintained.”

    Digital wellness categories

    Cognitive wellness is the first pillar of digital wellness. Gallagher defines it as the use of digital tools that support your learning objectives, creativity, and ability to focus. It's about leveraging technology to enhance your intellectual pursuits and mental clarity.

    Emotional wellness involves using digital tools to uplift your mood and clarify your identity. “Consider the music you listen to, the podcasts you follow, and the videos recommended to you on social media,” says Gallagher. “Focus on content that makes you feel good rather than anxious or overwhelmed.”

    Physical wellness in the digital realm involves using technology to support your physical health. For students, this could mean using apps to track sleep, monitor physical activity, or follow fitness routines. Gallagher shares how she finds inspiration from fitness influencers to diversify her workouts.

    Social wellness examines how technology helps you connect with others. Gallagher emphasizes the importance of using digital tools to maintain meaningful relationships. “Are your students reaching out to teachers and coaches for help? Are they collaborating with classmates?” she asks. This also includes staying in touch with friends and family you don’t see regularly.  

    Effective communication in the digital age
    In today’s digital world, communication styles vary widely, and understanding these differences is key to effective interaction. Gallagher highlights the importance of choosing the right medium for communication. “Different manners of interaction lead to different levels of connection,” she says. For instance, a FaceTime call might offer a deeper connection than a quick text message. It's important to teach students and individuals to select the appropriate communication method based on the context and the relationship involved.

    “Teaching students to navigate digital spaces responsibly is part of fostering a healthy digital lifestyle,” says Gallagher. This includes setting boundaries for screen time, understanding the impact of their digital footprint, and promoting empathy and respect in online interactions.

    If you’re interested in learning more about digital wellness, check out Digital Wellness Wednesdays for weekly, research-based tips on maintaining a healthy digital life.

    Topics:BehaviorTeacher BurnoutAnxietyDigital CitizenshipBehavior Tracking