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Technostress and well-being skills(CS21)

Learning Scenario Description
TitleTechnostress and well-being skills
Length60-90 minutes
Main idea/descriptionIn this teacher-led activity, the students become familiar with the phenomenon of technostress and discuss their daily IT use with their classmates. The students are also encouraged to think about how well-being skills can affect their way of coping with technostress.
Target group15-18 years old students
Curriculum/learning subjectshealth sciences
CompetenciesThe students will learn to critically evaluate their own ways of using IT and how it might affect their well-being. The students are expected to learn to discuss their technology use and related well-being outcomes with their peers. The scenario helps students to monitor their own IT use behavior and identify problems that might be associated with their routines
Teachers’ wellness competencesTC5. Emotional leadership/ e-mediacy
Learning Scenario Framework
Pedagogical methodPI3. Enforcing attention and Awareness (Be attentive and aware)
Software/materialsThe scenario can be delivered to students using online conferencing tools, e.g. Zoom. The chosen tool needs to enable teacher-student and student-student communication (groups of 3-5). In terms of technostress related to the online learning context, it is important that the environment used is familiar to the participants and that the participants have functional mics (and cameras).
Evaluation toolsThe facilitator asks each group to present their ideas to the class. The students are expected to be active members of the discussion groups. The facilitator observes the interaction between students.
Learning Scenario Implementation
Learning activities The scenario includes three interlinked activities, namely:
1. What is technostress?
2. Experiences with technostress
3. Technostress & well-being
In the first phase, the students get to discuss what comes to their mind when thinking about the word ‘technostress’. This is followed by a presentation of technostress by the facilitator (Attachment 1), showing what technostress means and how it might manifest. In the second phase, the students get to discuss with their peers (groups of 3-5) about their experiences regarding technostress. In the third phase, the teacher and the students do a short mindfulness activity together (3-5 min). After this, the students discuss how mindfulness and other well-being skills could help them to cope with technostress.
Discussion questions:
What is technostress
– What comes to your mind, when you think about the term ‘technostress’?
Experiences with technostress (after students are familiar with technostress)
– Have you experienced technostress (e.g., at home, at school)?
– What was the situation like?i. How did you act in the situation?
– Did you, for example, try to decrease the feelings of stress?
– What rules do you have for using your own phone? For example, do you try to take breaks/pay attention to when you are using your phone?
– What about the devices you use for school work?
– Is there a specific time of the day, when you feel like that you need a break from the notifications that arrive to you phone? Why/Why not?
Technostress & well-being (after having done a short mindfulness activity, e.g. could mindfulness be used to manage technostress?Can you think of any other well-being skills, that might help you to address technostress experiences?In your opinion, what is the role of your own well-being for the experiences and feelings that arise when using technology?

Attachment 1 (infosheet or presentation)
What is technostress? (1/2)
– Psychotherapist Craig Brod created a definition for technostress already in the 80s. According to the definition, technostress follows the inability of an individual/organization to adapt to the use of new technology (Brod, 1982)
– Today, technostress is typically understood as stressful experiences that relate to the use of devices and applications
– In addition to studying the work environment, technostress researchers have also become interested in leisure-related stress experiences. These can occur, for example, while using social media services (e.g., WhatsApp, Facebook) 
– Both adults and young people alike can experience technostress. For example, technostress can influence teachers’ willingness to use ICT to support teaching. 
– Young people can experience different levels of stress, and among others, their experiences can relate to..
* responding to messages/the pressure of being present in social media (e.g. it feels that you need to respond to messages too quickly)
* notifications coming from your phone (they disrupt your life in general or for example, if you need to concentrate on something) 
* online learning (e.g. the feeling of spending too much time using different devices)

What is technostress? (2/2)
– Technostress can manifest itself in different ways, and it can be accompanied by different physical and psychological symptoms
– Technostress arises specifically when a person interacts with technology. Certain devices or applications do not in themselves cause technostress, but the essential thing is…
* Who uses the technology (device/app/game…)? What kind of relationship do they have with the use of technology (e.g. routines, overall use)?
* Where is the technology used? Is the situation ‘mandatory’ or voluntary? (school vs. free time)
* For what purpose is the technology used? For example, playing games and browsing TikTok videos are very different activities
– Technostress can be connected to e.g. problems with the ability to concentrate, sleep difficulties, and affects one’s own identity, e.g. through comparisons on social media

How to address technostress experiences? (1/2)
– It is important to stop and think about what causes the stressful experience
* Why do I find this situation burdensome?
* Is the problem specifically related to the use of technology or something else?
* Can I influence technology? Can I influence the circumstances/other stressors in some other way?
– What is the most appropriate course of action?
* Deleting a useful app can sometimes do more harm than good – think about why it was acquired in the first place
* Will I miss something important if I delete the entire application? (Not necessarily!) If I do, can I manage e.g. notifications from the application in some other way?

How to address technostress experiences? (2/2)
Ways to manage technostress
– Management of device and application settings
* E.g. useless notifications on silent/muted/off
* Turning the phone’s screen upside down/putting the device away/giving it to another person when you need to focus on something else
– Separating study and free time
* Where the equipment used for studying is positioned at home (Does studying come to mind just by seeing the laptop/pad? Is it possible to store it out of sight?)
* Applications that can be found on the devices
* Prioritizing and leaving things for tomorrow, setting limits that work for yourself personally

If there is time at the end of the session: Summary and discussion
– The use of technology brings great opportunities, but it can also become stressful for many different reasons
– Stress experiences are individual, and you can try to influence them with your own actions. Consider..
* What devices and applications are used
* For what purpose
* What is ‘too much’ (amount, purpose of use, consequences)
– You have already got a great toolset at your disposal when you learn to recognize your own ICT use routines and related feelings/states of mind 
– It is also important to find a balance between technology use and other aspects of life
* Family and friends, outdoor activities/exercise, other hobbies and interests
* Sometimes, you can leave the phone in the background – consider, for example:
# Am I really present in social situations?
# What feelings and thoughts arise if I put my phone away for a while in a situation where I would normally be browsing?