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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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February’s Wellness Wednesday: Digital Wellness

Rachel Soifer
Certified digital wellness educator Corrine Yourman leads a session titled “Your Digital Life and Your Jewish Values” to members of the high school community.

Students heard from experts on Feb. 7 in the newest installment of Wellness Wednesdays. This “Disconnect to Connect” program consisted of over six sessions covering topics about digital wellness, such as digital detoxes, fake news, online privacy and the connection between Jewish values and device use. 

One of the program’s speakers was child and adolescent psychiatrist Clifford Sussman. Sussman dabbled in video game development before psychiatry, giving him a unique perspective on the session he led: technology addiction. Following the coronavirus pandemic, Sussman noticed a “huge increase” in the number of teens with technology addictions. 

“It’s more likely than it ever was before for us to struggle with separating our digital activities from our real world activities,” Sussman said. “There’s becoming more and more of a blur between the real world and the digital world, and it’s harder for people to navigate that than ever before.”

In his presentation, Sussman outlined the neuroscience behind technology addiction, and provided strategies for students to manage their relationships with technology. According to Sussman, the hardest step in recovering from a technology addiction, or any addiction for that matter, is recognizing the addiction in the first place. Once this step is achieved, those suffering from technology addictions can then get the help they need, Sussman said.

The Wellness Fellows helped the center’s co-directors, Melissa Gartner and Rachel Soifer, organize the program. Alongside her team, sophomore Ellie Strisik reached out to the various speakers and guests. They considered what topics would be both relevant and appealing to students, and selected guests based on these insights. The team also offered art and physical activities for students who didn’t attend speaker sessions. 

“It [digital health] is a key to maintaining a balanced life,” Strisik said. “It’s important to have a balance between your social media and different aspects of technology, and within that, also be able to do schoolwork and have those necessities that you need with technology.”

Sophomore Tani Simkovich attended the session that Strisik helped facilitate: Digital Detox. In this session, junior at Montgomery Blair High School and founder of Smart Screens 4 Teens Evelyn Goldin helped students navigate screen time moderation. Goldin founded Smart Screens for Teens with the intent of aiding students in finding reasonable methods by which to reduce their technology use. Goldin gave strategies for how to take a break from screens and explained how detoxing from screens for even two weeks can greatly improve one’s wellness. 

“It [the presentation] made me reflect on how often I use my phone,” Simkovich said. 

This reflection was one of the goals of the Wellness Team, among other goals of developing media literacy, understanding the brain science behind technology use and considering internet safety. Strisik advises that after this reflection, students are able to move forward in improving their digital wellbeing.

“Find the balance that works for you,” Strisik said. “It’s going to be different for everyone. But I think that it’s important that you take away what specifically is going to make you the best possible student, friend [or] person overall.”

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About the Contributor
Ruby Kotok
Ruby Kotok, Features Editor

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    Rachel SoiferMay 14, 2024 at 12:04 pm

    I love this article and this program! Well done Ruby!