Although devices like consoles, laptops, smartphones and tablets have improved all our lives in countless ways, they pose very real dangers to children and their education.
At school, they are more often than not now the source of conflict, turmoil and upset.
While unlimited screen time and unrestricted internet access are obviously damaging, unmonitored online communication, especially between pupils, is having an increasingly harmful and widespread impact in classrooms.
Almost every day at the moment, there are both pupils distracted from learning and staff distracted from teaching by the fallout from something inappropriately posted online via either TikTok, WhatsApp or another app primarily aimed at adults.
There are five relatively simple steps, however, parents can take to eliminate these dangers while leaving children free to enjoy their devices to the full.
Think twice before buying your child a smartphone –
a basic mobile phone is probably all they will ever need while at primary school.
Be aware many apps have age restrictions, and these should be observed.
For example, TikTok has a limit of 13, WhatsApp 16.
Set parental controls – this is considerably easier than you might think. Straightforward guides for specific devices, including different smartphones and gaming consoles, and most social media apps, like TikTok and WhatsApp,
can be found here:
Talk to your child about what they like to do online and why,
and create some online rules together.
Carefully monitor where your child goes and what they do online,
retrieving any devices from their room before they go to bed.
Did you know...?
The mere presence of a mobile phone can lead to a 20% reduction in attention, concentration and performance by students in tasks that are demanding and complex.
Being on your iPad for two hours before bed can result in around 20% less melatonin, ‘the sleep hormone’, being released.
Students who attend a school that bans mobile phones can receive, on average, a 6.4% increase in their exam results.
There is a strong link between more screen time and:
The likelihood of being obese