The Impact of Screen Time on Education
"...Oh you used to call me on my cellphone.." (Hotline Bling Ft. Drake)
"..Here's my number, so call me maybe.." (Call Me Maybe Ft. Carly Rae)
"...Trying to call home, all of my change I spent.." (Payphone Ft. Maroon 5)
"...Call me, call me, anytime.." (Call Me Ft. Blondie)
Ah, the cellphone. A useful and ever developing piece of technology, once reserved for adults has now found its way into younger and younger hands. Walk through a shopping mall and glance around. It seems like everyone; children, young adults, businessmen and women, customers and shopkeepers; have a device at hand.
Talking, texting, scrolling through Facebook, hash-tagging pictures of everyday events for Instagram, posing for selfies covered in filters, or creating random videos in the hopes of becoming the next TikTok star.
It used to be funny pop culture that the old, bored married couple with nothing to talk about might spend an entire meal on their selected devices instead of talking with one another. Sadly, the rise in online communication and studies combined with the lasting effects distance learning has had on the education industry has left us with a culture addicted to devices, living life through lenses instead of, well, LIVING.
Society has come to the point where the very idea of living without a cellphone seems ludicrous.
Think about it. When was the longest time you’ve gone without needing to check your phone?
Most people hold on to their devices and use them like muscle memory, an extra limb. The chirp, blip, blinking sounds and lights of phones & tablets are everywhere. Yes, cellphones are a required and often necessary sidekick to our everyday lives, but have you ever stopped and thought about the lasting effect it has on young children?
'The constant exposure to cellphones and/or other blue light devices has been proven to leave a devastating impact on young children and their early education."
Quotes Gaby Badre (M.D. Ph.D) of the Swedish Academic Society.
The constant sound of ringers, alarms and tinned audio coming through cellphone speakers has been proven to have a serious impact on children’s sleep patterns, concentration and ability to focus.
In one study Badre conducted, she found that excessive cellphone usage from an early age cause young adults to exhibit chronic restlessness, disrupted sleep, difficulty falling asleep at night and, an inclination towards fatigue and stress.
It’s no wonder that children, still trying to cope with the return to school post-Pandemic and the common difficulties faced when separating from their primary caregiver, are struggling more than ever.
DK Schoolhouse, established in 2012 as a holistic Scandinavian based Preschool & Kindergarten, remained staunch in it’s policy of limited to no screen time at school despite the prolonged period of distance learning, developing various home-school programs and activities to balance excessive screen time with practical life, hands on activities whenever possible.
Proud to be a “No- Phone Zone”, DK Schoolhouse continues to advocate the benefits of reducing screen time, limiting the use of devices to closely monitored, academic class activities for its Primary and Secondary programs. In the Preschool & Kindergarten classrooms, teachers uphold a no-device policy and work closely with parents to help swap out excessive phone usage with constructive activities for home.
THE LONG TERM SOLUTION?
While it may very well be impossible for parents & or educators to ditch the cellphone completely at the door, there are many ways you can safe-guard your children from excessive exposure to LCD lights and cellphone usage, such as:
1. Phone Free Zone
Start at home. Establish certain times of the day for the whole family where cellphones are muted or left in another room. Remember, children learn by example, so if you’re busy tapping away at your device at mealtimes, don’t expect a ready response from your Little One. We suggest making the dining table a No-Phone Zone. If your family has been accustomed to using devices at mealtimes, try making a game of seeing who can last the longest without checking their device.
2. Audio over Visual
Just because your child may be used to watching cartoons while eating breakfast, or your middle schooler can’t cope without watching a YouTube Video before bed, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Swap out watching for listening. A quick Google search will point you in the direction of a wealth of audio books, songs and educational resources that can be used while conducting a hands-on activity. Is your child used to watching a story-time video before bed? Listen to an audio book instead or even better, READ TO your child!
Choose coloring pages over coloring apps. Sketch pads over E-pens. Talking instead of Child Proof Tablet; storybooks rather than YouTube for Kids; a clock instead of the phones alarm. Socializing instead of Selfies.
3. See For Yourself.
The human brain is wired to instinctively reject contrary advice related to socially accepted routines, so don’t just take our word for it! Do the research yourself and see how many researchers, academics and educational institutions around the world are taking a stand against excessive media usage at school or at home.
4. Give us Your Feedback
As always, DK Schoolhouse is committed to working closely with it’s parent body to provide a free-speech forum for parents to express their concerns or suggestions on how our academic facilities can be improved. Have you got comments, feedback or suggestions on ways to reduce media usage at school? Leave your comments below, or drop by school in person and let us know how we can improve.
Let’s work together to ditch the life through lenses and live in the moment instead.
After all, we’ve only got now.
-- Leah Soldner