By Ryan Walton
You are about to be impressed. It’s been over an hour since I last checked my phone. It’s ringing, buzzing, alerting, filling with LinkedIn requests, Facebook posts, and disappearing Snapchats. Do you feel anxious, yet? What’s even more impressive is that 22 teenage boys are all in the same boat. Instead of their faces buried in technology, they are smiling, talking, running, living, breathing, connecting. How? It’s quite simple, to be honest. We have created an outlet that’s more powerful.
For me and those 22 players, that’s a lacrosse field. Therefore, the lacrosse field has become a sacred place that creates a unique opportunity to grow as individuals and as a group, away from our phones. Because so much of teens lives are consumed by social media, sacred places like this are rare and valuable.
A recent study out of Kazan University showed drastic increases in adolescents dependence on social media. A poll was conducted among adolescents and young people aged 14-19 which covered secondary schools and tertiary education institutions. Significantly, the results suggested that many teens are in vulnerable situations.
Associate Professor Regina Sakhieva, one of the co-authors of the research, explained,
"We can detect adolescents' dependence on social networks, where everyone can feel interesting and needed. Many people become addicted to communication in social networks and replacing real-life relationships with virtual ones." Additionally, Sakhieva warned, "Even you are aware of your addiction, it's not always easy to get rid of it."
The authors found out that the majority of those questioned have predispositions for Internet addiction. For example, internet addiction includes weak control over time spent online, over their own activity timelines and priority setting. However, they still can limit their online activities in favor of face-to-face communication with friends and other daily activities, such as studies.
Analysis of the questionnaire resulted in a new program of addiction prevention. The goal of the program is to promote social experience, self-regulation, and self-management online, and also critical thinking with regards to content consumption. Clinical tests suggest that the program is effective. As a result of this research, we can better understand how to help teens.
"We see a solution in prevention measures implemented by all the participants of educational relations. That's why the researchers proposed psychological and pedagogical guidance of prevention policies, including organizational efforts for prevention, special courses for teachers and psychologists, and new forms and methods of prevention work," concluded Dr. Sakhieva.
Specifically, the program has three parts - motivational and cognitive measures, practice-oriented measures, and reflexive training. Additionally, there is a systemic plan of its implementation for the audience of 14 to 19-year-olds.” *
The name of my elite lacrosse team is the Rocky Mountain Rippers. All players are in the graduating class of 2021. Through the game of lacrosse, we create an opportunity to disconnect from social networking and connect in the real world. Moreover, we serve our community, we build grit, and we believe sportsmanship doesn’t end on the field. Lacrosse is our way to connect. I hope that you and your teen find yours.
*Reference: JOURNAL; Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education