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20 March 2020

posted 19 Mar 2020, 18:34 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 19 Mar 2020, 18:34 by Stephanie Williams ]
“Online World Preferred over work, rest and play”

I came across this article in the paper over the summer break and, although it mainly focused on teenagers, I felt aspects of it were relevant to us as well.

Netsafe commented that ⅓ of NZ teenagers are going without eating or sleeping in order to spend more time online and internet usage is a huge cause of conflict in families. The Netsafe director of Education and engagement, Sean Lyons, suggested that the whole family should commit to no technology at set times with parents/caregivers leading the way. He discusses helping children measure their online use.

Massey University Clinical Psychologist, Kirsty Ross, says it’s important to set predictable boundaries around devices “keep the technology out of bedrooms... get them to hand it in at particular times". She stresses that, despite children not being happy with limits, it is important to have confidence that this is the best parenting decision. I couldn’t agree more! 

Over 30 years ago when I started teaching, technology was one thing we didn’t have to worry about…... and a cost schools/whānau didn’t need to front! I’m not against technology but am certainly all for well managed use of technology to support learning, to enhance learning not just replace a pencil and paper! AND it makes it very difficult for the staff when we have children come to school completely attached to devices. (Bring back the cuddly blanket and soft toys instead!)

At school, teachers do their best to balance the amount of time spent on devices and, whilst it increases as the children move through the school, we are not wishing it to be excessive. Whilst senior children can bring their own laptop, phones are not a learning tool and are required to be handed in to the office at the start of the day and picked up at the end of the day if they are brought to school. We have policies, procedures, agreements and layers of firewalls and, and, and……. And, the best thing we can do as adults is be tough, consistent and model a balanced world. We need to encourage children to sniff the flowers, look up at the sky, get physical, talk, talk, talk......, take them for a bike ride, talk some more….. and not allow them to be shut in their bedroom on devices. I’m sure there will be a shortage of physiotherapists any minute now……

Right - well, I've pledged to turn everything off for a dedicated period of time on weekends and I’m sure I’ll feel much better for it in every which way!

Netsafe has good information for parents.