Disconnecting to connect: Strategies for digital disconnection in the classroom

Disconnecting to connect: Strategies for digital disconnection in the classroom


Currently, technology has become an omnipresent tool in education. However, an excessive use of it can have negative repercussions on both learning and student well-being. In this blog, we will explore the importance of digital disconnection in the educational context and how it can positively impact attention, stress, and academic performance.

Digital disconnection, what does it mean? 

First, it’s about understanding what we mean by digital disconnection and grasping its impact. We’re referring to the practice of stepping away from digital devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers) and online platforms to take a mindful break. It also involves reducing the time spent on digital activities and devoting more time to activities that don’t involve screen usage, such as spending time outdoors, physical exercise, or face-to-face social interaction.


Consequences of technology overexposure

The positive consequences of using technology in the classroom are evident: democratization of access to educational resources, personalized learning, increased motivation, promotion of collaboration and participation, facilitation of assessment and progress measurement, among others. However, overexposure to technology can also lead to negative consequences.

Excessive screen time can affect students’ attention, decrease their ability to concentrate, and hinder executive functions such as information processing. Additionally, it can contribute to increased stress and anxiety, negatively impacting academic performance. Various authors (such as Alonso, 2017; Moncada Jiménez & Chacón Araya, 2012) have considered that the use of technological devices can be a risk for children. Thus, they assert that excessive use in childhood can lead to isolation, hinder the development of social skills, promote sedentary behavior, and even expose children to risks due to exposure to violent and/or inappropriate content for their age.

On the other hand, there are other risks inherent in the misuse and/or excessive use of digital devices, especially those with internet connectivity, among children and adolescents. These risks may involve problems in cognitive development, health and psychosocial development, or safety issues. Some main ones are:

  • Impact on the child’s cognitive development and mental health, such as defective development of the ability to sustain attention, inhibitory control, and self-control (creating, in extreme cases, a kind of digital withdrawal syndrome), lack of curiosity, greater difficulty in establishing healthy social relationships, depression and emotional stability, ability to finish tasks or optimal development of creative capacities.
  • Sleeping difficulties, increased likelihood of developing myopia, and the development of sedentary habits.
  •  Contact by a third party stranger that may endanger the child’s safety.

If proper control over the use of digital devices were implemented, the risks posed by them could be minimized. We already know that excessive use of technological devices can significantly interfere, affecting areas such as attention, task planning and sequencing, reasoning, processing, and generating issues in abstract reasoning. Hence, the importance of creating spaces and behaviors of responsible use. Especially within educational environments.

Benefits of digital disconnection in the classroom

Digital disconnection can enhance students’ attention span by reducing digital distractions. This allows them to better focus on school tasks and improve their academic performance. Additionally, time spent on screen-free activities such as physical exercise and creative exploration can stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


It can also help reduce stress and anxiety in students. By disconnecting from online pressures and expectations, students can experience relief from stress and an improvement in their emotional well-being. This enables them to tackle school challenges with a calmer and more resilient mindset.

Promoting Digital Disconnection in the Classroom

Educators play a crucial role in promoting digital disconnection in the classroom. They can incorporate practices such as tech-free periods during classes, encourage outdoor activities, and advocate for a balance between the use of digital devices and other forms of learning. Additionally, it’s important to educate students about the risks of excessive technology use and provide them with strategies to manage their digital work and leisure time healthy. The key lies in how we guide and structure their interaction with technology to make it an effective and motivating learning tool.

In fact, mobile devices come with tools that help monitor usage time, parental control features, and the ability to set timers for device and app usage, such as “Digital Wellbeing,” “Screen Time,” and “Microsoft Family Safety.”

Seeking balance between the digital and real world

In conclusion, digital disconnection in the educational context is essential for promoting a healthy balance between the digital world and the real world. Excessive dependence on technology can make individuals less capable of focusing on activities that do not involve electronic devices. This can affect concentration skills and increase anxiety and mood swings in situations that do not involve using technology. It is essential to analyze which situations generate the most dependence or hinder concentration (social media, video games, online news) in order to set limits on their use.

By reducing overexposure to technology, young people can improve their attention, reduce stress, and enhance their academic performance. Educators and families play a key role in fostering digital disconnection practices and teaching young people to use technology responsibly. Additionally, engaging in non-technological activities strengthens the ability to concentrate in a variety of different contexts. By doing so, we can create an educational environment that supports the holistic growth and well-being of young people.