The book Slaying Digital Dragons empowers young adults to take charge of their digital lives and improve their mental health and well-being.
With a frank and humorous approach to a timely topic, award-winning author Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., pulls back the curtain on the hidden aspects of the digital world and shares:
- Signs that screen time is affecting young adults’ bodies, brains, and relationships
- Tips for protecting their privacy, safety, and reputation
- Ways social media and algorithms can distort their reality and sense of self
- Tools for finding life balance and resetting their screen scene
Quizzes and exercises guide readers through the process of evaluating their relationships with their screens, social media, and tech in general. To celebrate the release of Slaying Digital Dragons, we’re sharing one of the many interactive challenges in the book to get teens reflecting on their tech use.
Challenge 1: What’s Your Screen Scene?
Level 1: Dawn of Enlightenment
Mission 1: Searching for the Beacon of Knowledge
The following questions are about your screen time over the past six months.
“Screen time” means any activity (texting, messaging, emailing, streaming, surfing, shopping, Snapping, viewing, gaming, reading, writing, chatting, posting) . . .
. . . that involves a device with an electronic screen (smartphone, tablet, laptop, e-reader, watch, gaming console, television) . . .
. . . that you do online and/or offline, by yourself and/or with others, whether for school, work, or pleasure.
There are no right or wrong answers here. No good or bad. It’s a judgment-free zone. The purpose of the challenge is simply to see how you feel about your screen use. I promise I haven’t placed cookies in this book to track your responses. (Although I did eat a few while writing the book.) Nobody but you will know your answers. So, reflect on your screen time and be as honest and self-aware as you can.
Your mission is to place a checkmark in the column that represents your response to each statement. The lines are electrified, but there’s a secret challenge for avoiding them that will award you triple XP if you succeed . . . trust me.
Compute Your Score: Assuming you weren’t electrocuted by touching a line, here’s how to figure out your score: Add up the checkmarks in each column and multiply that number by the point value for that response. For example, if you answered “Never” to all 20 questions, your score would be 20 (20 answers x 1 point). If you answered “Sometimes” to 5 questions, “Often” to 5 questions, and “Very Often” to 10 questions, your score would be 85 (5 “Sometimes” answers x 3 points = 15; 5 “Often” answers x 4 points = 20; 10 “Very Often” answers at 5 points = 50 (15 + 20 + 50 = 85).
Interpret Your Score: If your score is less than 40, it’s a good bet you’re in the “safe” zone when it comes to screen time. You’re in charge of how much time you spend on your devices, and it’s in healthy balance with other activities. If your score is in the 40–60 range, you may sometimes have difficulty controlling your screen time. If your score is greater than 60, your screen time is likely interfering with your life, relationships, and/or responsibilities in ways that are bothering you on some level.
➟ Last But Not Least: Wait, you thought you were through? NOOOOOOOOOO! Before a new game begins and resets your answers above, go back and circle any statements where your response is of concern to you. These may be statements where you answered “Often” or “Very Often.” We’ll refer back to these later.
Adapted from Slaying Digital Dragons: Tips and tools for protecting your body, brain, psyche, and thumbs from the digital dark side by Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., copyright © 2021. Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; freespirit.com. All rights reserved.
BONUS DOWNLOAD! You can download a PDF of the challenge and share it with a teen in your life . . . or take the challenge yourself. What’s your screen scene?
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