Technology is Amazing – Student Life Revolves Around It
Back in the 1990’s technology was starting to make a presence in the world and everyone, especially students were noticing it. Whether that be AOL Instant Messenger or the latest Nokia mobile technology, the younger demographic was hooked, and it was clear tech was going to be a part of their daily lifestyle.
But since then, in this short space of time, technology has massively evolved. Advancements have been made that have taken us from making phone calls and sending texts to using the internet to order food, track workouts, stream the news, and meet new people. Younger members of society, especially students, are amongst the demographic that has grown up with a mobile phone literally being their universal remote to the world. Technology is truly amazing.
The majority, if not all, courses studied at Colleges and Universities today are focused on sectors that have all advanced in the past few decades due to technological breakthroughs. Students study with the help of different technologies and then their lifestyle, in general, revolves around it too.
Students receive their timetables through technology. Communicate with their peers and lecturers through technology. Work collaboratively through technology. Socialize on campus through technology. The digital world has encapsulated the student experience and wherever students look, technology in some form or another is there offering a helping hand.
With all great things, there are risks, and technology, unfortunately, poses many. Students and the wider younger demographic are subject to unhealthy habits due to being more invested in the digital world.
Often students are required to spend too much time locating specific software they need for their studies. The AppsAnywhere platform reduces this burden on students and makes it incredibly easy to access any app, anywhere, at any time.
There is a multitude of digital health tools and applications available on smartphones and desktops that help manage and track digital usage to help implement healthier daily routines.
The Digital World isn’t Without its Downsides Though
With all great things, there are risks, and technology, unfortunately, poses many. Students and the wider younger demographic are subject to unhealthy habits due to being more invested in the digital world. Understanding these effects of digital technology on people has sparked the conversation around digital wellness and how to improve our digital health and students are no exception to this discussion.
Higher education institutions are focusing on student mental wellness and an aspect of this is managing the inclusion of the digital world in the student experience. In order to manage the effects of the digital world, it's important to understand the risks. Some of the problems the digital world poses are:
Smartphones emit bright blue light to stay visible even on the brightest of days. However, late at night the bright blue light becomes a mimic of the sun’s brightness and affects the brain’s ability to enter sleep cycles. With notifications constantly appearing on students’ smartphones it can be hard to avoid, let alone the ingrained tendency to keep checking them. Today’s student experience can be very sociable and with information in today’s digital world available instantly, switching a mobile off to go to sleep has in some cases become the same as temporarily cutting ties with the rest of society. So has developed this unhealthy habit bordering addiction.
The digital world is incredibly populated, and every outlet is vying for the user’s attention. Smartphone applications, social media, and other technology such as emails are constantly updating with new posts, new messages, and new updates. It can be hard for students to focus on their work when the temptation to keep checking their smartphone, laptop, or computer is so easily accessible.
Referencing the younger demographic that encapsulates the student population, they benefit from streaming never-ending entertainment, playing games with virtual reality, and being fully immersive in digital experiences. This can have adverse effects on imagination.
Smartphones, laptops, social media. All designed to demand our attention. With games built to enforce addiction, the instilled social pressure of fearing missing out, and the need to know everything instantly; the constant temptation to check digital devices, outlets, and platforms result in a very little downtime, to relax and contemplate.
The digital era was built upon connecting with others with more ease than before. The technological tide has often seen this perform a full 180 degrees and at times find it hard to simply connect with others in the real and physical world. Screens inducting tunnel vision is a major sign of how digital health and wellness are being affected today.
A paper published in Clinical Psychological Science found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent only one hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor. Studies have also shown that smartphone use has risen among the younger population in the same timeframe. With both statistics rising in tandem, it begs the question of what can we do to help manage the serious issue of digital wellness.
Why Student Digital Wellness is Important?
Students are synonymous with the younger demographic. From Millennials/Generation Y to the iGen/Generation Zs, students across the past 20 to 30 years have all undergone studies with accelerated advancements in digital technology. With this has come an unprecedented challenge of how to manage digital wellness.
Studying and student life present their own hurdles and pressures for the student population and therefore student mental health is an aspect of higher education that is closely managed. In fact, most institutions, if not all, have mental health awareness services to help manage and alleviate any pressures a student may be facing and since digital health is an aspect of mental health, managing it correctly can lead to a much greater student experience and student outcomes.
Digital wellness is important for students as it focuses on mitigating negative habits and behaviors and focuses on promoting a healthier lifestyle and studying mindset. The three core benefits are:
By promoting student digital wellness across campus and through online platforms such as an LMS and even AppsAnywhere, higher education institutions can help encourage better mental health for students through healthy digital use and by doing so actually increase engagement. By improving focus and reducing distractions, students will be able to study more productively and suffer less from exhaustion.
The student experience is vast and includes all aspects of a student’s life whilst studying. Not just when completing assignments or completing courses, it goes as far as their social life and personal downtime outside of academia. It is important for students to find a healthy lifestyle balance to increase satisfaction across the whole student experience. This can be done by adopting digital well-being practices and instilling healthy digital usage.
Student Mental Health
It has been proven that a lack of digital health awareness among students can lead to an increase in digital addiction and poor mental health for students. This in turn is linked statistically to increase higher stress levels and mental health problems such as heightened anxiety and intensified depression. If students are unaware of how to manage their digital health, they are more susceptible to suffering from these negative health impacts that directly affect their studies. Higher education institutions can alleviate stress levels and ensure better mental health for students, as well as physical health outcomes for their students by simply educating and promoting healthy digital use.
How AppsAnywhere Supports Digital Wellness
Over the past few years, we have seen a global pandemic completely shift the student experience and students have had to quickly adapt their lifestyles and studying behaviors as a result. Covid-19 has made it plain to see that digital technology is a crucial element in modern higher education and in turn means that digital health and mental health for students is equally as important.
AppsAnywhere's digital solution is focused on being a single pane of glass for students regarding software deployment. Often students are required to spend too much time locating specific software they need for their studies. The AppsAnywhere platform reduces this burden on students and makes it incredibly easy to access any app, anywhere, at any time. Implementing this for students reduces stresses and unnecessary tasks and allows students to work more effectively and efficiently digitally.
AppsAnywhere integrates with leading LMS tools such as Canvas and is currently in development to integrate with Blackboard, Moodle, and BrightSpace. Integrating directly onto a higher education institution’s LMS can help to promote efficient digital behaviors and ensure students work and study productively without suffering from digital exhaustion.
Digital health care in general is managed by using a multitude of digital health tools and the AppsAnywhere platform is ideal in helping to promote healthy digital behaviors. With prominent areas of the screen dedicated by the platform to promote key messaging by higher education institutions, the importance of digital wellness can be clearly displayed to a high volume of students at a key time. It isn’t unusual for students to suffer from stress directly caused by their studies, and so reminding students whilst studying about the effects of stress and digital use is paramount in promoting healthy digital wellbeing and for promoting mental health for students.
AppsAnywhere also offers an analytics suite as standard with the platform. This analytics suite shows each use of the platform and by identifying many key aspects of each use it can delve deep into usage trends and studying behaviours. These behaviours can be reviewed and checked by higher ed institutions to understand how, when and where their students are studying. This not only gives insight into how to better the student experience by tailoring their AppsAnywhere platform to their students’ preferences, but it also provides the opportunity to monitor student health.
Students studying behaviours can show how users may not be using the platform as much as they should, or perhaps in some cases using it far too much. Both can be signs of mental health issues and with the right intervention has the possibility to significantly reduce student health problems for higher education institutions.
How our customers are Making Life Easier for Students
At AppsAnywhere, we’re proud to see our customers more like partners, and through collaboration, we are constantly evolving our AppsAnywhere platform to provide ongoing benefits to students, staff, and support alike. It is this indispensable mindset that strives for continual benefits to improving student wellness across the world.
Fanshawe College are benefitting from their AppsAnywhere platform and state it was one of the easiest procurements” they ever did. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Fanshawe was able to be up and running in two months with around 100 packages ready for fall 2020. Having this software relieved a lot of pressure from students and made their lives easier in terms of accessing the software they needed to complete their studies. Due to strict travel restrictions, certain software that was only available in specialist labs on campus would have been simply unusable without AppsAnywhere.
“It’s definitely created a high level of convenience for them, and I don’t think that they’ll ever want to go back to the way things were. We can statistically see that our campus labs are not being used heavily in the traditional sense of a computer lab. Campus labs across the nation are dying and they likely will continue to because our students bring their own devices and they’re comfortable with them.”
Pittsburg State University
One simple way to improve digital health amongst students is to allow flexibility and to make their studies as comfortable as possible. Policies such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and remote access allow students to study how and where they want. AppsAnywhere take this one step higher by allowing them to work when they want as well. Students are all unique and study in many ways. Pittsburg State University's AppsAnywhere platform allows their students to study in a routine that works for them. Being flexible around the students allows for a healthier study-life balance, thus mitigating the negative impacts of digital technology use.
It does sound a little counterintuitive to suggest that to reduce the use of unhealthy digital technology is to encourage more digital technology use. However, it is important to understand the negative effects of digital technology on our health and why they occur. Digital wellness is all about using digital technology in a healthy and responsible way. Digital technology is not synonymous with poor mental health, but in fact, poor use of digital technology is synonymous with poor mental health. Given this, digital health apps actively encourage and promote effective behaviors to use digital technology in a healthier and more manageable way. Referring back to some of the problems the digital world poses, if students are going to be using digital technology anyway, why not use this platform to promote these healthy habits.
There is a multitude of digital health tools and applications available on smartphones and desktops that help manage and track digital usage to help implement healthier daily routines. There are also mindfulness applications that focus on addressing common problems such as relaxation and solitude by focusing on meditation and calming exercises. This category of applications also goes as far as to include exercise tracker applications as it promotes a healthier lifestyle in general and reduces stress levels surrounding excessive digital use.
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