4 ways Minnesota aims to boost students’ digital wellbeing

70% of parents said overuse of social media and screen time was their top health concern for their children
By: | April 16, 2021
Three children playing with electronic devices - tablet, smartphone and games controller

A digital wellbeing bill that’s gaining momentum in Minnesota would fund education and training around the balanced use of screens, the internet and social media, supporters say.

The proposal, approved last week by a Senate Committee, would allocate $1 million to the nonprofit, LiveMore ScreenLess, that works directly with young people and schools to prevent overuse of technology.

“Technology has shown huge benefits during the pandemic; however, it’s imperative we acknowledge the digital crisis young people were facing before the pandemic,” says Katherine Myers, one of the nonprofit’s founders.

More than 70% of parents said overuse of social media and screen time was their top health concern for their children, while 62% cited cyberbullying, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll 2020.

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In the nonprofit’s survey on managing devices in classrooms, Minnesota teachers were most concerned about students’ mental health and ability to pay attention in class. And, in a 2019 survey, more Minnesota students than ever reported long-term mental health, behavioral, and emotional problems. E

Experts, parents, and young people cited misuse and overuse of technology as a factor.

The digital wellbeing bill would:

  • Create an online resource hub: This culturally responsive resource library would serve Minnesota communities and schools.
  • Launch a Statewide communications campaign: Equitable and targeted communications would promoting digital wellbeing by leveraging the nonprofit’s network of organizations to reach audiences inside and outside of school.
  • Fund train-the-trainer professional development: PD would be accessible statewide to educators, school staff and youth advocates.
  • Promote peer-to-peer leadership: Students would be trained as mentors to promote digital wellbeing with peers and younger students.

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