Healthy Screen Use Resources

Welcome to The Better Institute’s healthy screen use resource page. In a time dominated by digital interactions, the prevalence of screen-based activities is undeniable. From fulfilling work commitments or mindlessly doom scrolling through social media, most of our daily routines center around screens. Our goal is to redefine healthy screen use so that you can create a more balanced and mindful connection with technology. On this page you’ll find a variety of resources focused on helping you develop a healthier and more sustainable relationship with technology. 

Mobile App Recommendations

MoodMission

MoodMission is an app designed to help improve your mood and well-being. It provides activities and exercises to enhance mental health, and some of these may include strategies for managing gaming habits.

Forest: Focus for Productivity

Forest is a productivity app that encourages users to stay focused and present by planting virtual trees. It can be a helpful tool to limit screen time and promote a healthy balance between gaming and other activities.

Mindful Powers™

Mindful Powers is an app designed for kids and teenagers to help them build mindfulness skills through engaging games and activities. It can be a useful tool for young gamers to develop a balanced approach to screen time.

SPACE – Break phone addiction

While not specifically focused on gaming, Space is an app designed to help users break phone addiction. It allows you to set goals for mindful phone use and can be adapted to manage gaming habits as well

OurPact

OurPact is a parental control app that allows parents to manage their children’s screen time, including gaming. It enables setting limits and schedules for device usage.

Podcast Recommendations

HealthyGamerGG

The Podcast form of HealthyGamerGG! Tune in for weekly updates from the channel to learn more about mental health, wellness, and how to become a Healthy Gamer!

The Gaming Persona

Welcome to The Gaming Persona, a unique podcast that traverses the exciting crossroads of gaming and mental health. With your host, Dr. Gameology, peel back the layers of the gaming world to discover its profound impact on our cognitive and emotional health. You’ll understand how video games, far from being mere entertainment, can act as powerful tools for personal growth, stress relief, and mental resilience. Join fellow gamers and enthusiasts in thought-provoking discussions, unraveling the intricacies of game design, the psychology of gaming, and the surprising ways in which these elements influence our well-being.

Mindful Gaming

Gaming can be one of the very worst activities for a person to do, or it can be one of the best. When a person plays video games intentionally, or mindfully, they can strengthen mental health, provide physical exercise, and build relationships and communities. Without that mindfulness, however, video games can suck the life out of grades, drive parents and children apart, and become a source of toxicity and stress in a young person’s life.

Healthy Screen Time – Book Recommendations

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Dr. Jean M. Twenge

iGen explores the unique characteristics of the generation born between 1995 and 2012, who have grown up with smartphones and social media as an integral part of their lives. Twenge dives into the complex relationship between mental health and technology, shedding light on the challenges faced by today’s youth.

Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner

As a digital parenting expert, Heitner shares her insights on how to guide children in developing healthy digital habits. Screenwise offers practical advice for parents, including setting boundaries, modeling responsible screen use, and fostering open communication with children about their online experiences.

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen

The Distracted Mind explores why our brains aren’t built for media multitasking, and how we can learn to live with technology in a more balanced way. This book offers practical strategies, backed by science, to fight distraction. We can change our brains with meditation, video games, and physical exercise; we can change our behavior by planning our accessibility and recognizing our anxiety about being out of touch even briefly. The authors don’t suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way.

The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life by Anya Kamenetz

This brief but powerful dictum forms the backbone of a philosophy that will help parents moderate technology in their children’s lives, curb their own anxiety, and create room for a happy, healthy family life with and without screens.

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price

Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you touch before bed? Do you frequently pick it up “just to check,” only to look up forty-five minutes later wondering where the time has gone? Do you say you want to spend less time on your phone—but have no idea how to do so without giving it up completely? If so, this book is your solution.

You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

Healthy Gaming – Book Recommendations

Taming Gaming: Guide Your Child to Video Game Health by Andy Robertson

Taming Gaming is a must-read for parents concerned about the impact of video games on their children’s lives. Robertson offers expert advice on how to manage gaming habits, identify age-appropriate games, and foster a healthy gaming culture within the family. This book not only helps parents understand the benefits and potential pitfalls of gaming but also provides a roadmap for establishing a balanced relationship with video games.

How to Raise a Healthy Gamer: End Power Struggles, Break Bad Screen Habits, and Transform Your Relationship with Your Kids by Dr. Alok Kanojia

A former Harvard Medical School instructor and one of the foremost experts on video game psychology, Dr. Alok Kanojia—known as “Dr. K” to his millions of followers—has firsthand knowledge of this modern issue: He needed professional help to break his own gaming habits in college, an experience that fueled his interest in learning how to help others. Drawing on Dr. K’s professional specialization in working with people of all ages and varying degrees of addiction, and the most recent research from neuroscience and psychology, How to Raise a Healthy Gamer teaches parents a new skill set for negotiating gaming culture and offers solutions rooted in the science of treating addiction.

Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and Their IMpact on the People who Play Them by Jamie Madigan

Video games are big business. They can be addicting. They are available almost anywhere you go and are appealing to people of all ages. They can eat up our time, cost us money, even kill our relationships. But it’s not all bad! This book will show that rather than being a waste of time, video games can help us develop skills, make friends, succeed at work, form good habits, and be happy. Taking the time to learn what’s happening in our heads as we play and shop allows us to approach games and gaming communities on our own terms and get more out of them.

Online Resources

Powered Up Courses

NHLBI Website

The NHLBI has put together a variety of useful materials and information for individuals and families including: Parent Tips and Handbook, Screen Time Reduction Curricula, and We Can! Screen Time Reduction News Stories.

Healthy Screen Habits

Healthy Screen Habits offers a fantastic selection of resources for individuals and families looking to develop healthier screen use.

Common Sense Media

Since 2003, Common Sense has been the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools. Every day, millions of parents and educators trust Common Sense reviews and advice to help them navigate the digital world with their kids. Together with policymakers, industry leaders, and global media partners, we’re building a digital world that works better for all kids, their families, and their communities.

American Academy of Pediatrics Screen Time Guidelines

A wonderful collection of resources put together by the American Academy of Pediatrics on helpful screen time guidelines.

American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Plan

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a fantastic tool for families to create a media plan that incorporates a list of media priorities to choose from, practical tips to help make the plan work, and the ability to print and share your plan when you finish.

HealthyGamerGG

HealthyGamerGG offers a treasure trove of therapeutic resources for individuals and families looking help managing unhealthy video gaming. 

American Psychological Association: Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence

The APA has put together a very informative website which features research on healthy/unhealthy screen time use as well as recommendations to be made based on evidence-based research.

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