Insight Building Groups
Creating Change by Questioning Thinking
To effectively reduce screen time in adolescents and teens, a multi-layered strategy is best. At Summerland Camps, we seek to create change by developing insight and practicing new behaviors.
Every camper participates in discussion groups- where a specially trained behavior coach leads the group through a set curriculum focused on creating healthy habits, journaling, goal setting, and behavioral change. Campers are led through insight-oriented activities where they examine the effects of excessive screen time and imagine the benefits of investing their time in more productive pursuits. Educational, occupational, and social effects are all considered in our insight groups.
Counting the Costs of Screen Time
One activity we practice during our focus groups is, “Counting the costs.” We take a look the amount of time campers are engaged in various screen activities at home. We look at the amount of time they spend on these activities over a week, month, year, and a lifetime.
We then look at what other time investments the camper would make. If they spend 15 hours a week studying a foreign language versus playing X-Box, what benefits would the two investments look like side-by-side? What if just a portion of this time was invested into keeping organized at school, exercising, or reading a book related to what the camper wants to study in college?
We also take a look at the toll screen time has had on family relationships, the camper’s ability to cope with anger and frustration. Group support and input can be helpful for campers to come to terms with the effect technology have had on their family relationships.
Questioning a camper’s thinking can change opinions, but ultimately it’s only part of the solution.
We then have to offer solutions when the camper realizes that perhaps they need to change some behaviors related to screen activities. At Summerland camps we offer realistic, practical solutions to help young people chose the best use of their time and how to follow through with the planned activity. We discuss setting up goals and a reward system for following through on planned behaviors; and how to self-correct when you fail to meet your commitments.
Systematic Self-Monitoring of Behaviors
Systematic self-observation is a key to changing behavior. First, the behavior has to be measured. Then, a goal has to be set. Fortunately, with electronics, it is easy to measure and set limits. We help each camper learn how to do this, and provide group support and encouragement for each camper going through this process.
The capstone experience is to develop the intrinsic motivation to return home, armed with expertise in goal setting and behavioral monitoring- campers employ the same self-monitoring techniques utilized by Olympic athletes to achieve their goals and redefine their lives.