Warren-Walker School had the 4th largest attendance at the WeCare event on September 12th, behind only The Bishop’s School, the public schools, and Pacific Ridge School, all with much larger populations from which to draw. That’s remarkable, and a sign that our parents care greatly about the health and well-being of their children. The Screenagers movie was packed with eye-opening information, like kids spend an average of 6.5 hours a day on screens, not including classroom or homework screen time, according to a 2015 Common Sense Media report. It also found that nearly 2⁄3 of teens do not think watching television, texting, or using social media while doing homework affects their learning. Meanwhile research has shown that when people “taskshift” — tackle multiple tasks simultaneously — they are less effective than when they do one task at a time. The brain is not capable of focusing on two mental activities at once, and thus the idea that multitasking boosts performance is a myth.
The film also featured a study in which baby mice exposed to screen time developed fewer cells in the areas of learning and memory than non-exposed mice. Could this prove true for humans too? Even more concerning, first-person shooter games were first developed by the military to decrease sensitivity to shooting people. Millions of children play these games.
There were many important take-aways from Screenagers, like:
Parents need to set a good example by limiting screen time, too. Children imitate what they see.
The best way to establish household rules for using technology is through family discussion.
Parents need to be firm and consistent with consequences once the rules are established.
Self-control is necessary to limit and maintain an appropriate amount of screen time.
Don’t say or do anything online that you wouldn’t say or do face-to-face.
To reduce screen time, try activities that are valuable and fun like playing outside, sports, music, reading, hobbies, community service, family time, and chores.
At school, we absolutely support these standards. Our new Digital Citizenship; Acceptable Use Policy is aligned with these expectations across the board, and states our academic standards for technology use, as well.