Mindful education

Day 2 of 500!
While I will be going through time periods focused on certain manuals, I don’t know that I’ll go through all of the lessons in each manual chronologically. I may even jump between manuals because I’m crazy like that. I feel like leaving that up to the winds of need and desire that will blow over the next 500 working days.
But today is a good day to go over the second lesson in Sex Ed in the Digital Age.


by Lee Heerten
By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:
  1. Identify the psychological and social needs being fulfilled through digital interactions.
  2. Devise healthier online and offline interactions to fulfill their needs.
Problematic digital interactions are all around us – from the relatively benign use of textspeak to far more serious instances of cyberbullying and sexting. This lesson moves beyond the standard, fear-based, “just say no” approach to problematic digital interactions and offers a more holistic and respectful alternative. This lesson addresses possible motivations behind the problematic behavior, affirms the real and complex needs of youth, and provides alternative behaviors to help youth fulfill those needs, both online and off.

It would be a rare day that a moment of mindfulness wouldn’t be a blessing in my hectic life. The same is true of most teenagers. This lesson calls on participants to consider whether a number of needs (autonomy, relatedness, power, intimacy, etc.) are inherently psychological or social and then to discuss healthy ways to fulfill those needs.
Intimacy is the need that really strikes in in this list as important to assess its place in a technology saturated world. Technology brings us closer to each other and puts vast distances in place. Never have humans been so able to feel intimately close to someone so far away. And at the same time a lover who is sitting next to us can feel more distant than the sun when they’re tapping away on one of their screens.
The remainder of the lesson leads participants through a critical thought process about the very human needs we all experience and the foibles of technology as a method of meeting those needs.
And so I sit here, on my couch, my daughter next to me, both of us staring slack-jawed at our individual screens, me looking for pictures that exhale the very essence of mindfulness, and I wonder…maybe I need to be a student in this lesson. Maybe we all do.