Will digital detoxification improve student’s focus?

Feasibility of incorporating Digital Detoxification in High School

Prepared for the High School’s in the region

Aziz Alzneidi



Colorado State University


Executive Summary i

Introduction: iii

Background iii

What is Digital Detoxification iv

Why Digital Detoxification iv

Digital detoxification in high schools v

Research method and Evaluation Criteria v

Results vii

Resources required vii

Cost vii

Evaluation of General Criteria: viii

Table 1, Matrix Assessing if Digital Detoxification Benefit student of high school viii

Evaluation of High School needs criteria: ix

Table 2. High School Student Need Matrix ix

Conclusion and Recommendation x

Conclusion x

Recommendation x

Bibliography xi




Executive Summary

Technology has intervened in every aspect of human life. Earlier, technology word was used for arts and crafts, but in recent times the meaning of the word has changed, and now it includes all the progressions and changes around us. The main aim of technology was to offer ease to human efforts or to increase their efficiency, but an effort to offer ease, technology has made humankind dependent and addicted. The technological addiction has not just impacted day to day operations, social life, but has also negatively affected the health of human beings. Studies and researches show that technological dependence has decreased the attention span of a human being to lower than that of a goldfish.

Technological addiction has not just impacted the adults of society, but it has also changed the culture of education, along with student’s behavior. According to a survey, many educationists believe that technological intervention or dependence has made students lazy, as they prefer using devices to complete their tasks rather than their knowledge and skills. Furthermore, such dependence has not only increased the expenditure of students but increased wastage of time, source of distraction, and misusage of information. Moreover, extensive screen time has steered cognitive problems in students.

Studies suggest that high use of technology has become the major factor in developing depression and anxiety among the students, specifically belonging to the high school. The screen time has now become a substitute for face to face interaction, which use to be a significant factor is students life. Studies conducted on Chinese students (Wu, 2015) depicted that screen time is negatively associated with many health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive problems, low sleep quality and academic performance in high school students. Moreover, an overview of 67 studies concerns the association between screen time and sleep outcome in school going children and high-school adolescents suggested that high screen time or dependency on technology negatively impact the sleep outcome, which is then further connected with other mental health problems (Hale, 2015).

Therefore, to address the problem specifically among high school students, feasibility report of incorporating digital detoxification in high school have been drafted, which will not only guide through the ways of incorporating digital detoxification in schools but will also highlight the benefits such program will have on the future generations. The plan that has been proposed for the incorporation of digital detox in high schools include steps like

· Proposing screen-free days.

· Making the screen-free days a part of the school annual schedule.

· Establishing a tech-free or escape room.

· Introducing strenuous physical activities with no technology intervention in school’s curriculum.

· Educating the student about the significance of digital detoxification.

· Training students to work in a technological free environment.

· Training students for teamwork, without the involvement of technology.

· Incorporating digital detox activities in the school’s yearly planners.

· Inspiring parents to be part of students in digital detox programs.

There are many studies and researches which conclude that incorporating digital detoxification in student’s life not just improve their mental health, but also enhance their cognitive skills and educational achievement. Therefore, considering the benefits, there are numerous institutes which have started planning about digital detoxification for their students.

This report concludes that integration of digital detoxification can benefit students of high schools by improving their mental health, enhancing their learning capabilities, and in return refining their educational achievements. Currently, high school administration can follow the recommended plans to implement the digital detoxification.



Technology has taken over every aspect of human life and has created a dependency that is hard to resist. Though the technological invention has offered countless benefits and made life easier, on the other hand, it has also negatively impacted the health of the users. Although, all communities are affected by increased use of technology, in this report, the main focus is the students, who are the future of any community or nation. Technology came as bliss in the life of high school students as it offered easy and quick access to educational material, saved time, resources, and processed and saved information. However, the same bliss has become a reason for mental distress and a platform for cyberbullying and adult material. According, to a survey conducted on the Chinese student (Wu, 2015) suggest that amplified screen-time is connected with sleep disorder and other physical health issues.

Moreover, according to Public Health England, prolonged screen time is linked with anguish, anxiety and despair among school children (Ogunleye, 2012). The health problems associated with the increased use of technology obligate the educationist and school institution to consider incorporating digital detoxification programs as it will aid in solving the mental issues associated with students in high school and will also enhance their academic performances. The report establishes whether it is feasible for the high school administration to pursue digital detoxification on campus and in school policies.

What is Digital Detoxification

Digital detoxification means a period in which an individual abstains from consuming digital devices such as smartphones, PCs, and social media platforms voluntarily. The concept of digital detoxification gained popularity in the early ’90s when the internet was taking over the world. Some concerned psychologists and anthropologists started suggesting that the overuse of technology might impact human health negatively. It was through Dr Kimberley Young’s’ book “Caught in the net” the term internet addiction was first introduced, and criteria were proposed to identify such addiction. However, from a student’s perspective, the negative impact of technology was administered when researchers started linking the educational achievements with high mobile phone usage. Furthermore, articles such as (Lattie, 2019) linked student’s depression, anxiety, and lack of focus issues with increased screen-time. All this evidence suggested that the practice of digital detoxification is as important as learning about technologies specifically for a student since their mental health is affected by it.

Why Digital Detoxification

There are many studies and researches which suggest that student from high school in specific are exposed to high mental health issues such as stress and anxiety because of increased screen time. A study conducted on Danish youth found that 25% of the youth struggle with the issue of mental health, and all seem to be associated with digital overload. To address and solve such issues, it is being suggested that school institutions and administration should incorporate strategies that will promote digital detoxification activities among students, to prevent mental health issues and improve their educational achievements.

Digital detoxification in high schools

Digital detoxification is believed to offer various benefits specifically for high school students, such as reducing stress levels, offering better sleep, and improved social relationships and focus (Syvertsen, 2020). Though many perceive digital detoxification as phenomena of complete refrainment from digital devices, in current time, technology has become part of the educational process. Therefore, it can’t be completely shut down. Therefore, it is suggested that students reduce their use of digital devices as much as possible to avoid mental or other health problems.

Research method and Evaluation Criteria

The research was conducted to learn whether digital detoxification would benefit the students of the high school by improving their mental health and allowing them to have better educational achievements.

The research method that was employed to record the responses of the students was the interview technique, in which there opinion and attitude towards digital media was recorded and then analyzed. Furthermore, the students were also asked about their quality of life with and without their technological gadgets. After analyzing the responses, it was concluded that digital devices do harm the health of the students. Through the incorporation of digital detoxification techniques, the high school administration could improve this particular situation.

The research also supported that development of these specific digital detoxification strategies would help the high school administration in improving the health of their students. These strategies include

· Imparting Knowledge about digital detoxification: High school can impart Knowledge about the benefits of digital detoxification, so more students are attracted to the concept and aware of the way to achieve it.

· Create a persuasive environment for digital detoxification: Once Knowledge has been imparted about the concept of digital detoxification, it is important to create a persuasive environment around the campus, so students can believe that pursuing digital detoxification will improve their quality of life.

· Digital free zones should be provided on the campus, so students that are interested in following the concept can easily practice it.

The criteria on which the success of digital detoxification was measured are given as

· General criteria Are digital detoxification economically, practically, and socially possible. This particular criterion was developed by employing the feasibility guidelines.

· High School Need criteria: The second criterion was developed after conducting a survey and interview with the counselling and health department of the school, who identified the number of students going through mental problems. Furthermore, an interview with the department also identified the implementation concern related to digital detoxification. The main concern of the high school authorities was

1. Will digital detoxification effort impact the productivity of the students? As everything is technology-based.

2. Will digital detoxification practice improve the mental health problems of the students?

3. Will it improve the educational performance of the students?

4. Will digital detoxification affect communication between the teachers and the students?


The results of the interview and data are given below regarding the following topics: the result of an interview with high school administration concerning the impact of digital detoxification and matrices cross-referencing the benefits of the digital detoxification.

Resources required

Most of the high school administration that was interviewed for the incorporation of digital detoxification strategies reports that current infrastructure and resources are enough to implement digital detoxification strategies. The most important source for the implementation of digital detoxification activities is the teachers and administration, which can be trained through proper knowledge and training sessions.


High school administration and digital detox trainers have indicated that the cost of implementing digital detoxification strategies is minimalistic since it does not require any tangible resources. The two important strategies that might require some investment are on

· Training of the staff: Since digital detoxification is an activity, which needs to be performed and guided by trained staff. Therefore, it is a one-time cost that could be incurred to train the permanent staff of the school, so they can further train other employees.

· Creating digital detox space: Though this cost can be saved by specifying the old campus area as a digital-free zone, if no space is identified as a digital free zone than the campus should invest in creating a physical space for such purpose.

Evaluation of General Criteria:

To evaluate whether digital detoxification is feasible for high school students, the benefit of the process were processed through two metrics. To meet the criteria in the first Matrix, the digital detoxification benefits were required to meet at least three criteria. The first Matrix was created by following general feasibility criteria, which is

· Economic Feasibility: is it economical to devote money to this activity?

· Social desirability: Does digital detoxification offer benefit that is socially desirable?

· Ecological feasibility: Do digital detoxification provide ecologically sound benefits?

· Academic feasibility: Do digital detoxification benefits support academic achievements?

Table 1, Matrix Assessing if Digital Detoxification Benefit student of high school

Benefits of Digital detoxification Economic feasibility Social desirability Ecological feasibility Academic feasibility
Reduces stress yes yes yes yes
Improve focus Yes Yes Yes yes
Improve cognitive and creative skills Yes Yes Yes Yes
Improve health Yes Yes Yes Yes
Create strong social bonds Yes Yes Yes Yes

Evaluation of High School needs criteria:

The second matric is used to assess whether digital detoxification would be feasible to be incorporated in high school. These criteria require matching the benefits offered by digital detoxification with the following standards.

1. Will digital detoxification improve student mental health?

2. Will digital detoxification improve student’s focus?

3. Will digital detoxification improve creativity and cognitive skills in students?

4. Will digital detoxification help the student in achieving educational excellence?

Table 2. High School Student Need Matrix

Digital detoxification benefits Improve mental health Improve Focus Enhance cognitive and creative skills Educational excellence
Reduce stress Yes Yes Yes Yes
Improve concentration yes yes yes Yes
Allow the student to use his creative skills Yes Yes Yes Yes
Reduce time wastage Yes Yes Yes Yes

Conclusion and Recommendation


The benefits of digital detoxification were analyzed separately on two matrixes, which concluded that every advantage of digital detoxification is linked to each other, and therefore, striving for one benefit will eventually improve all other areas. It can be concluded that digital detoxification is crucial for every high school student since the benefits met all the criteria that have been set forward by the high school administration and the students themselves. Moreover, the required resource to incorporate the digital detox activity in the school plan is minimalistic, so as the cost to introduce the strategy among the high school students.


Based on the conclusion resolute by the feasibility analysis, it is recommended that high school administration should incorporate digital detoxification in their policies and strategies. It is further recommended that a special curriculum should be designed for students that focus more on improving students’ cognitive skills rather than pushing them to be dependent upon the technology.

Bibliography Hale, L. &. (2015). Screen time and sleep among school-aged children and adolescents: a systematic literature review. Sleep medicine review. Lattie, E. G. (2019). Technology and college student mental health: Challenges and opportunities. Frontiers in psychiatry. Ogunleye, A. A. (2012). Prevalence of high screen time in English youth: association with deprivation and physical activity. Journal of public health. Syvertsen, T. (2020). Introduction: Do We Have a Problem? In Digital Detox: The Politics of Disconnecting. Emerald Publishing Limited. Wu, X. T. (2015). Low physical activity and high screen time can increase the risks of mental health problems and poor sleep quality among Chinese college students—ploS one.


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