The recommended time for school age children to use a screen is two hours per day. This figure has been used for a very long time. It varies slightly depending on use, but not significantly enough to support kids using them all day at school.
There are tools to help parents manage media time, but these don’t account for teacher time. One of the risks is exposure to media which glamourises risky behaviours, which we also know is something teenagers find thrilling and pay attention to. So it isn’ just the sedentariness of watching streaming video, playing games or swiping through Instragram that is the issue. We also know parents believe screen media has both positive and negative uses, as we also know that technology brands downplay the negative and enlist teachers to help them promote the positives – even though there is often thin evidence to suggest specific technologies and brands do this, but as usual, hide the benefits in cleverly worded homogenous statements. They also tend to use ex-teachers as reps, and if those reps have a wide social media influence … happy days for brands.
We know that managing screen time also means managing the quality. In addition, having entire family screen time is important, as is a child observing parents reading books over binge watching TV shows. We know that co-playing video games is better for their development than being left to play for eight hours or more in their bedroom. We know, we know, we know.
My point is this. In school, teachers insist kids use computers in just about every classroom. Computer time is not something schools are required to report on, as NESA doesn’t have any policy around this – and doesn’t appear to have thought about yet. A teaching program or unit must include the mandatory outcome numbers and statements, but I don’t see anyone including ‘screen time’ allowances for these activities.
Parents cannot effectively manage or regulate ‘screen time’ at home if teachers are using it all day. Brands know that a teacher is a great envoy for a lifetime of consumer loyalty. That’s why they love ‘delegates’ to visit their offices and hand out show bags.
I am sure I am not the only one who insists on screen-time being measured and planned into children’s units of work and tells parents how much time we (the body of teachers) allow in school. But then we work in holistic projects with four teachers on a session, so we know what each other is doing. In a school where kids more from class to class – who is measuring screen time? Does anyone care? Do teachers have any social responsibility towards children’s screen health?
In a school where kids more from class to class – who is measuring screen time? Does anyone care? Do teachers have any social responsibility towards children’s screen health? And I’m gonna provacatively suggest many teachers are locking into an endless ‘give me your phone’ war with teens in and out of class. Every wonder if it just the media to blame?
Teachers have always been quick to reject video games (addictive) based largely on their existing belief and conceptions of content in them – as they carry on with their online documents and Googling for six hours a day as though these things are better or devoid of effects on children.
Brands make good software. The reps tend to know their stuff – but if you’re a teacher and your students are using 1:1 machines in every classroom day in day out … why? How do you justify not following the recommendations of numerous health organisations.
Brands know exactly what they are doing. They know how to get children to be loyal and how to get parents to buy into their ecosystems. All it takes is a bit of attention and muffin at a conference it seems.
Wake up and stay frosty when it comes to brands and res pushing screen time.