Over the last year we have continued these discussions, both among teachers, with parents and with students, especially with some of those students who are continuing to find it difficult to keep to our Appropriate Uses of Technology guidelines. As you can see from the graphic above, we define the Appropriate Use of Technology to be “an appropriate app/website, in an appropriate place, at an appropriate time”.
Discussions have also continued in the world beyond St Andrews International School Bangkok, with, for example, the French Government banning mobile phones in school for students since the start of this school year. At St Andrews, we agree with Pasi Sahlberg, former Director General at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and now a Professor of Education Policy at the Gonski Institute for Education at Australia’s University of New South Wales in Sydney, that
“Blanket bans are rarely the most effective ways to fix human behavioral problems. Today’s children were born in a world where technology and digital gadgets were already a normal part of life. From an educational perspective, banning smartphones in schools would be an easy solution but not necessarily the smartest one.
Instead, we should teach children to live safe, responsible and healthful lives with and without their smartphones and other mobile devices.”
Pasi Sahlberg continues by arguing that “Education can be a powerful tool to teach children to exercise self-control and to live better lives. But schools can’t do this alone”, giving five suggestions for parents to share with their children, which I thought I would share with you before next week’s half-term:
Play more outside
Spend less time with digital media
Read more books
Write letters to ones you love
Only last week, the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officer (CMO) published a commentary on screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. The full commentary is available online here, but I have highlighted an infographic showing her advice for parents and carers on children and young people’s screen and social media use below.