USE OF TECHNOLOGY
We received many compliments on our remote learning provision during lockdown and the other peak pandemic periods since then. During lockdown we worked extensively on our online learning programme especially for Grades 4-7 boys through the use of their iPads. Boys had to then spend much more time on devices, i.e. increase their screen time considerably as that was the primary conduit of education whether on the iPad, PC, mobile phone or laptop. Since then teachers quarantining or isolating at home taught their classes remotely. On top of this there have been many restrictions on so many activities, particularly sport which takes up a large part of a young boy’s life, plus the on and off closure of amenities as well as travel restrictions; truly an unprecedented curtailment of so many of the activities our boys enjoy and those that do not require a screen.
So, we know that boys have had more time for and on devices than ever before. Parents have reported this to us and we have seen it in a heightened interest in screen time, boys wanting screen time at school as much as possible and being more resourceful about getting it than previously. Spending time playing games, either downloaded or online, and chatting to friends via social meeting platforms or social media, was already there before lockdown, but there appears to have been an enormous increase in this over the last eighteen months.
We will be looking at the use of iPads in class. Are they over-used in certain areas, are our boys writing enough, choosing the iPad text over a written note, and so on? Our rules are very clear: boys may not be on their iPads without a teacher’s permission, no iPad usage before school and breaks and while waiting to be picked up.
Boys are also not allowed to email without permission and I am concerned that some are emailing their parents during the school day. Parents are also emailing their sons. Please do not do this during the school day. If there is a change to arrangements, please phone the office and we will get the message through.
I know that it is It is not necessarily easy to manage screen time at home. Life is busy and it is difficult to watch your children every minute of their time at home, but we advise the following:
- No games on devices during the week. If you allow games over the weekends, set specific time
- Only allow your son to play games that you approve of. We have reports of boys on very violent games that include very crude and abusive language.
- No open chat rooms. No games with “people” your son does not know.
- Do not let your son keep any device in his room overnight.
- If he says he needs his iPad for homework, 30 minutes is the absolute maximum he might require it.
Boys need to be playing outside, doing homework, relaxing, chatting with their families and even experiencing a little boredom (not such a bad thing) rather than being glued to a screen that can be so all-absorbing. There is also a lot of peer pressure, so if all parents adopt a similar strategy, implementation will have a much greater chance of success.
We have included a very useful document by Emma Sadleir, the well known social media lawyer entitled “Parenting the Screenager – Tips for Parents” on MyBishopsLife Parents Information Page under Parent Support. This gives more advice on how to navigate our children’s screen world and implement my points above.
Enjoy the weekend.