Student Values and Technology

By Lauren Porosoff

“Put down your phone.” “Put away your iPad.” “This is a tech-free zone.” It’s easy to say we should get off our screens, but screens aren’t inherently bad. How can we know whether screen time is helping or hurting us? And how can we overcome the fear of missing out (FOMO) and other powerful urges to use technology? In this highly interactive workshop, participants will learn concepts and tools adapted from Contextual Behavioral Science that help students discover their values, discuss how technology can sometimes move us toward our values and sometimes move us away from them, and learn strategies for overcoming the urge to use technology when it interferes with doing things we value.


1. Becoming aware of the values that guide behavior: values card sort exercise

2. Getting present to how we enact our values: drawing exercise

3. Understanding how screens move us toward and away from our values: behavior brainstorm exercise

4. Remembering our values when technology moves us away from valued action: focus stickers exercise

5. Brief review of relevant concepts from contextual behavioral science: stimulus function, flexible context sensitivity, functional coherence

Participants will be able to:

* Relate the concepts of stimulus function (what something means), flexible context sensitivity (noticing various features of the external and psychological environment), and functional coherence (choosing to do what’s personally meaningful) to technology use

* Lead activities that help students notice elements of their context and choose those that match their values when using technology

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