How Mindfulness Can Help Teens With Tech Addiction

Mindfulness teachers in schools are using self-compassion and awareness practices to help students use tech more intentionally.

Adobe Stock/ Davide Angelini

Many teens spend every minute of free time on their phones, playing video games, or lost in the screens of their laptops. In fact, according to Common Sense Media, teens now spend around nine hours a day in front of a screen—and that doesn’t include screen time they may log doing homework or at school.

“Increasingly, students just don’t know how to deal with boredom, loneliness, and unpleasant feelings,” says Doug Worthen, director of mindfulness programs at Middlesex School, an independent day and boarding school in Concord, Massachusetts. Many educators blame the long hours spent on screens for fractured attention levels, lack of impulse control, and heightened levels of depression and anxiety. Teens are also losing their ability to navigate nuanced and complex interpersonal human interactions, says Adam Ortman, head of mindfulness at St. Andrews School in Texas.

In response, mindfulness educators across the United States are creating specific curricula and practices around how to use technology with greater intention. Their approaches tend to focus on three fundamental mindfulness skills: watching thoughts, being present with others and the natural world, and self-compassion.

Impulses Are Impermanent

Worthen explains that…