Alpine Academy Utah

Managing Technology Misuse: From Gaming Addiction to Social Media Obsession

In an era where digital landscapes form an integral part of human interaction and entertainment, a growing concern is emerging with the misuse of technology, particularly among teenagers. While the rise of gaming and social media platforms has brought about revolutionary ways of connecting, learning, and playing, their addictive nature has also led to a host of issues, including decreased productivity, mental health problems, and strained relationships. The Alpine Academy of Utah explores the realms of gaming addiction and social media obsession, offering insights into setting healthy boundaries for fostering a more balanced relationship with technology.

Understanding the Problem

Gaming and social media platforms are designed to captivate and engage users for extended periods of time. Features such as endless scrolls, notifications, and rewards for engagement tap into the human brain’s reward system, often leading to excessive use. For teenagers, whose brains are still developing, this can result in a form of digital addiction, characterized by a compulsive use of digital devices, despite the negative repercussions this may have on their lives.

Gaming Addiction

Gaming addiction has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a disorder, indicating its severity and global impact. It is characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that it takes precedence over daily responsibilities and interests.

Social Media Obsession

Similarly, social media obsession manifests through an excessive concern with social media platforms and an overwhelming need to spend a lot of time on them. This obsession can lead to anxiety, depression, and loneliness, which is ironic because these platforms’ primary aim is to connect people.

The Impact on Teenagers

The impact of technology misuse among teenagers is multifaceted, affecting their physical health, mental well-being, and social skills. Physically, prolonged screen time can lead to eye strain, sleep disturbances, and reduced physical activity. Mentally, it can exacerbate or lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Socially, excessive technology use can impair a teenager’s ability to engage in face-to-face interactions, potentially leading to social withdrawal and isolation.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Addressing technology misuse requires a concerted effort from parents, educators, and the teenagers themselves. Here are some tips for setting healthy boundaries:

• Educate on the Risks
Start by educating teenagers about the potential risks associated with excessive gaming and social media use. Understanding the “why” behind these rules will help them internalize the need for boundaries.

• Create a Balanced Schedule
Encourage teenagers to create a balanced schedule that includes time for studies, hobbies, physical activity, and technology use. Prioritizing a diverse range of activities can help reduce the appeal of spending so much time online.

• Encourage Real-Life Connections
Promote activities that require face-to-face interaction, such as team sports, clubs, or family outings. Real-life connections provide a healthier form of social engagement and reduce the reliance on digital platforms for social satisfaction.

• Implement Technology-Free Zones
Designate certain areas of the home, such as the dining room or bedrooms, as technology-free zones. Similarly, set specific times when screens are off-limits, such as during meals or within an hour of bedtime, to help everyone disconnect and engage in other activities.

• Use Parental Controls Wisely
Parental controls can be a useful tool in managing technology use. However, they should be used judiciously and in discussion with your teenager rather than as a punitive measure. This approach can help teach self-regulation and responsible technology use.

• Model Healthy Technology Use
Parents and guardians should themselves serve as models of healthy technology use. Demonstrating a balanced approach to digital devices can set a powerful example for teenagers to follow.

• Seek Professional Help if Needed
If technology misuse is significantly impacting a teenager’s life, seeking professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist may be necessary. These professionals can provide strategies and interventions tailored to the individual’s needs.

As technology continues to evolve, so does the challenge of managing its misuse. By understanding the risks associated with gaming addiction and social media obsession, parents, educators, and teenagers can work together to set healthy boundaries. Encouraging a balanced lifestyle, fostering real-life connections, and modeling responsible technology use can empower teenagers to navigate the digital world more safely and mindfully on their own. Through doing so, we can harness the benefits of technology while working to mitigate its potential harms, ensuring a healthier future for the next generation.

Alpine Academy Utah

Empowering Adolescents Through Equine Therapy: Unleashing The Potential in Teenagers

Any time spent with animals is usually time well spent.

For teenagers in equine-assisted therapy, the time spent with horses can make a deep and immediate impact. Even a short ride on a horse can make a big difference in the long term — physically and mentally.

And for many at-risk youth, Alpine Academy Utah reviews that equine-assisted therapy used by residential therapy organizations opens up a path to a more productive, happier future.

An Intro of Equine-Assisted Therapy

A form of animal-assisted therapy, equine-assisted therapy eschews traditional talk therapy for collaborative therapy involving a horse professional, a therapist, and a client working toward a particular treatment goal.

Equine-assisted therapy is commonly found on otherwise traditional horse farms or other facilities run by nonprofits or government agencies. Equine-assisted therapy is adaptable for all ages but is typically used most frequently by children and young adults.

People participating in equine-assisted therapy do everything from cleaning stalls and grooming horses to learning how to ride individually or in groups. For those in need of physical therapy, equine-assisted approaches directly address such conditions as restricted mobility and neurological damage.

The Benefits

The teenage years are never easy. As a result, many teens may struggle with academics and may develop behavioral concerns. Developing good self-worth and habits fostering positive well-being is essential but often challenging for teens and their loved ones.

Both mental and physical health can be addressed — often both at the same time. Research has shown that the connection formed between an individual and a horse is powerful and valuable.

Relieving anxiety and depression are commonly employed through equine-assisted therapy, especially for those coping with trauma or with extremely low self-esteem. Clients are guided through various exercises, such as petting a horse or riding through a small course.

Commonly, there’s a sense of control and calm that comes with such exercises. Equine therapy has been used for teenagers experiencing everything from autism to sensory challenges.

Other benefits of equine-assisted therapy include increased confidence and trust, the development of vital problem-solving and leadership skills, patience, and self-control. Teenagers with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), drug and alcohol addiction, and eating disorders have all benefited from various forms of equine-assisted therapy.

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What to Expect

At professional treatment centers such as Alpine Academy, equine-assisted therapy is often paired with traditional individual and family talk therapy for teens in need.

Both group and individual equine therapy are regularly offered at Alpine Academy, typically led by a teen’s primary therapist and recreation specialists certified in equine-assisted therapy and psychology. The therapy is tailored to a teen’s unique situation and needs, often pinpointed by the primary therapist.

Therapy sessions are focused highly on teenagers developing a better sense of self, how to make better decisions, and how to change in a positive way. During therapy at Alpine Academy, teenagers learn not just more about themselves but about the world around them — as well as how to develop proper family and friend dynamics.

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Unveiling the Life of an Alpine Academy Student

Teenagers experiencing anxiety, depression, ADD, or low self-esteem may struggle to find success in traditional academic environments. However, there is hope. Alpine Academy is a residential therapeutic education facility based in Utah that helps teens overcome such issues and achieve success, within, and beyond, the classroom.

Below, a look inside what prospective students and families can expect at Alpine Academy Utah.

Prospective Students

Alpine Academy is a residential program that offers personalized education in a small classroom setting for teenagers in grades 7-12 (usually ages 12-18) with therapeutic needs. It boasts two campuses: the Mountain View Campus for female students in Erda, and the Lakeview Campus for male students in Tooele.

The school assists individuals with depression, anxiety, attention deficit, executive disfunction, Autism, low self-esteem, a history of trauma, relationship issues, technology misuse, identify exploration and other types of inward strife.

They are dedicated to improving the behaviors that can arise from these diagnoses, such as anger, substance use, risky sexual activity, suicidal ideation, self-harm, social withdrawal, dishonesty, and poor academic performance. Additionally, addiction, defiance, and discontinuation of enjoyable activities, among others are addressed.

Benefits of Attending

The program offers individualized therapy that can help treat these conditions mentioned above.

Teachers are dual certified in both their area of study and special education, and the residential staff is licensed in evidence-based modalities. Their therapists are highly rated, with positive student and parent feedback. Students benefit from the peaceful mountain atmosphere and top-notch education, in addition to the therapeutic activities and individualized treatment plans.

The school’s education model adheres to Utah’s Common Core Standards, with small class sizes maintained to support individual, specialized learning journeys. The school emphasizes both academic achievement and community connections, encouraging each student’s success, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency with an eye toward higher education as the natural next step.

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The Life of a Student

Students attend regular classes Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 2:40 PM. From 3 to 4:30 PM they participate in group therapy or events, such as intramural sports, relationship group, or study hour. 4:30 – 6 PM is free time to do check-ins, watch TV, read, exercise, play games, and prepare for dinner. From 6 – 7:30 PM, students eat dinner then complete their assigned household chores, such as vacuuming or washing dishes. 7:30 PM is a family meeting for residents, followed by more free time. There is an extended bedtime of 8:30 – 10 PM to allow for winddown activities and showering.

Fridays are more specialized, though still highly structured. From 9 AM to 12 PM are student rotations, five classes of interesting subjects not normally covered in class that might help them make more meaningful connections to the material. These sessions also help with college prep. Later in the day, students can participate in two-hour clubs that allow for a more “traditional” academic experience: yearbook, music, horsemanship, etc. The rest of the day continues as other weekdays.

Weekends have less structure (though still a schedule) and vary depending on which house the student lives in. Activities include exercise and day trips to special activities like festivals, craft shows, theater, painting, or the park. Larger chores will be tackled, and every house plans a privilege activity (ice cream, manicures, arcade outings) for students who have performed exceptionally well that week.

In Conclusion

In 2021, Alpine Academy received the prestigious Cognia School of Distinction Award in education, the only residential treatment facility to receive this honor ever. It is one of 80 out of 36,000 competing schools to be honored. With this best-in-class education and thoughtful treatment schedule, students are given a pathway to hope and success.

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Special Education Services Provided by Full-Time Teachers

With a plethora of special education services, Alpine Academy Utah ensures that each child receives a tailored education that will suit their individual learning techniques and capabilities.

A full-time special education teacher will be assigned to each student who needs assistance and education plans will be put in place to ensure the child receives maximum support.

All students are entitled to personal guidance and small class sizes, but Alpine Academy uses a testing system that will categorize students into two sections depending on their difficulties and additional needs. Students with minor learning difficulties or processing problems can receive Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and those with more serious issues will be subject to the 504 Program.

Individual Education Plans

The objective of an IEP is to offer an individualized education to each student and aims to accommodate each pupil’s unique needs. These are free services and are created under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IEPs are eligible for any student with the following:

  • The child has one (or multiple) of the 13 disabilities mentioned in the list provided by IDEA. ADHD, autism, and processing issues are just 3 of the many listed.
  • The disability must impact the child’s ability to learn and/or their educational performance.

Each IEP is created by a special team made up of parents, a psychologist, a special education teacher, and a district representative. Each member should bring something different to the plan and their combined expertise aims to provide the best services for the child.

The IEP is a written document that will draw out a plan that begins with an accurate depiction of the child’s present abilities and ends with a realistic objective. The plan will cover every stage of development in between and additionally includes smaller details such as changes to the learning environment.

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The 504 Program

Written according to the regulations set out in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the 504 plan aims to support children with disabilities and remove educational barriers for those who need specific environments or needs.

504 Plans are eligible for students with the following:

  • A child with any disability. This program encompasses more disabilities than the list provided by IDEA.
  • The disability must influence the way the child learns in typical classroom environments.

These key differences mean that children who cannot receive help under the IEPs may have a better chance of receiving support under the 504 program.

The team that makes decisions about the child’s 504 plan or adjustments to their support network includes the same people as the IEP but the 504 program requires the additional involvement of the principal.

Final Thoughts

Alpine Academy has a range of services and support systems available to all students but is particularly accommodating for children who struggle with disabilities or learning difficulties. In addition to providing thorough support through the IEP and 504 plan systems, the academy ensures that full-time special education teachers are accessible at all times, providing continuous assistance for all pupils.

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A Student-Centered Approach to Scheduling

For more than a decade, researchers and child psychologists have stressed that high school schedules are set not in favor of teens’ developing brains but in favor of their parents’ work schedules. For this reason, many teenagers are chronically fatigued, overly stressed, and unable to concentrate in class. At Alpine Academy Utah, student schedules are planned with their needs in mind.

Rather than forcing students into classrooms five days a week from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, students are given a more stable schedule that works their daily needs into the equation. This includes time for chores, homework, social activities, and guided therapy. Taken together, this schedule is ideal for teens overcoming mental illness.

Approach to Student Success

The organization’s program coordinators understand that teens have specific needs, especially when their working to overcome mental illness. Most of the students who come to stay and study with the program are well behind their peers in academic achievement and score above the cutoff point for clinical intervention.

Yet, rather than pathologizing teens, they work to improve their outcomes through a structured family-learning model. According to this approach, kids and teens learn best in a social setting that blends both socio-familial living with academic performance. In other words, students live with their peers and advisors in a small house of 8-10 students.

In the morning, they’re given time to do chores and take care of daily household activities before they begin school. This creates a sense of shared living and community, which directly helps students overcome the challenges of integrating into and finding their place within a social role.

What Students Can Expect During Study Hours

From 9:00 on, students can expect a typical school day of 5 periods where they’ll learn English, mathematics, science, and other mandatory subjects. Thanks to the relatively small size of the classrooms, though, students are given more individualized and hands-on attention that helps increase their performance within just a few months.

After class, students spend their evenings studying, doing group activities, and completing guided therapy with their advisors. However, school ends on Thursday, rather than Friday. They may then spend their weekends socializing with peers, going to the movies, enjoying planned events, and doing their household shopping.

This freedom allows the students time to develop outside of the classroom while also affording them a safer, healthier space where they can express their true selves. Within a single year of following this schedule, most students experience a 20-point drop in depression, a 0.3-point rise in their GPA, and an 88% mastery of core academic concepts.

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Final Thoughts

The counselors and teachers at Alpine understand that school and life are not separate for high school students, especially when they are overcoming depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, and other mental health issues. Rather than adding to their burden, the program works to incorporate healing interventions into all aspects of life. Their schedule is designed to improve outcomes both in and out of the classroom and their results speak for themselves.

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How The ASPIRE Model Prepares Students for College Life

The ASPIRE model applied by Alpine Academy Utah is unique – they offer treatment to female students using a family-based approach using licensed residential treatment facilities in Utah. This organization provides a nurturing environment to those that attend which focus on strength building within each student.

Alpine Academy Utah Reviews Why They are Different

Alpine Therapeutic Schools doesn’t just offer a therapeutic environment-they also provide comprehensive academic services tailored to help improve your student’s confidence in the realm of academics and get them back on track not only in their home lives but for preparing for college as well.

The ASPIRE Model Explained

The ASPIRE model led by this organization is trauma-educated and uses individualized approaches to help ensure your child not only receives the best opportunities and outcomes possible, but also to provide your child a set of healthy behaviors to coexist in society as a successfully functioning young adult to be.

The Alpine Academy is a nationally certified Teaching-Family Model treatment program which replicates family, school, and community life to build the most well-rounded, self-sufficient students possible. The Teaching-Family Model has been scientifically proven and empirically tested, proving the program’s effectiveness and viability.

ASPIRE stands for Alpine Student Preparation for Independence, Responsibility, and Education. Those enrolled in this program are still supervised as other students and are guided to focus on independent skill-building which has been highlighted within their personalized treatment plan.

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How The ASPIRE Model Helps Students

However, ASPIRE differs from what other homes have to offer students. Students enrolled in the ASPIRE program reside within a mock home which helps to prep students for adulthood. This program comes with a variety of focus areas and includes:

  • Initial and discharge life skills assessment
  • A comprehensive independent living curriculum
  • Weekly life skills group
  • Living space designed to replicate dormitory-style living
  • Increased focus on leadership, interpersonal relationships, and problem-solving skills
  • Education and career counseling
  • Self-directed and youth-driven daily schedule
  • Community resource education (when available)

In this program, ten spaces will be filled by students already attending Alpine and are transitioning from successful experiences in a regular home. Not only parents but the whole treatment team is involved in decision-making processes, and it has also been scientifically proven that there are therapeutic benefits that can be reaped by students using this approach.

Lessons that revolve around money or budgeting can help students prepare to be in control of their finances when they reach young adulthood. Cooking and food skills classes can help aid students in not only making healthier food choices in the present but ingrain these habits into their lifestyle so that eating and cooking healthy is second nature.

ASPIRE focuses on emulating a real-life adult environment to do the best job at training students how to be successful and happy in their future, regardless of what they decide to pursue. By majorly focusing on developing independent living skills, the individual needs of your child will be catered to and they will also learn to live by themselves, for themselves.