New Focus Academy Announces Tech Success Program
New Focus Academy, a therapeutic residential program located in Heber City, Utah, is a specialized school for neurodiverse adolescents ages 12-18 (accepting girls starting November 1st, 2021), has developed a tech success program to prepare students for their lives in the online space. With the advancement in technology and the growth of social media platforms, research shows that adolescents spend more and more time on their personal devices — around ⅓ of their time. Spending a large portion of one’s day on various forms of digital media comes with a certain level of risk, therefore, it is crucial for the student’s success to work on these challenges while at New Focus Academy.
Through this program, New Focus Academy seeks to identify tech-related struggles including addiction, cyberbullying, predators, inappropriate media, legal concerns, gambling, and mental health connected to online use. These signs present themselves in various ways and therefore staff and clinicians encourage students enrolled to ask themselves these questions:
- Do you lie about the time you spend online?
- Do you feel that the internet provides what real-life fails to?
- Does the time you need to spend online keep increasing?
- Does your performance online degrade how you feel and/or function in real life?
- Do you have symptoms of withdrawal such as loss of self, anxiety, depression, or aggression?
These questions help students identify these behaviors in themselves and others to prevent the behaviors and stop the formation of an addiction.
New Focus Academy also educates students on the risks of spending so much time on the internet. Some of these risks include exposure to pornography, sexting, texting and driving, social networking sites, camera phones, cyber-bullying, and internet predators. A module that includes three levels of phone use –beginner, learner, and swimmer — are taught to students through different assignments. A beginner is a person with a “dumb phone,” a learner is someone with a smartphone that has parental controls, and a swimmer is a person who has access to social media. Phone etiquette is taught to both students and parents.
The Tech Success Program emphasizes that parent involvement is essential. Only a third of kids surveyed said their parents put limits on TV or computer use. When parents provide even minimal guidelines, the impact is enormous. Kids’ media consumption drops by nearly 3 hours a day. Research states that 32% of youth say that they don’t tell their parents what they do online, and at the age of 16, 56% hide their online activities from their parents. However, 31% say they would change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching.
With the ever-changing nature of the internet and social media platforms, and with the advent of being confined more at home due to the pandemic, it is more important than ever that New Focus Academy prepares youth for success outside the program and protects their safety as well as mental health.
About New Focus Academy
New Focus Academy is a therapeutic residential treatment program for adolescents ages 12-18 with neurodevelopmental challenges. Located in Heber City, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City, New Focus Academy prepares struggling teens for a purpose-filled, independent life. New Focus Academy creates an environment of success using a positive reinforcement approach and empowering students to take small steps leading to big changes and overall wellness.