It appears the initiative of parents and students in Blennerville National School, in Co Kerry, to ban the use of Smartphones was a trail blazing move. This has paved the way for other Irish National Schools to consider outright ban on Smartphones from September 2018. The substantial feedback we are receiving from Parents and School Principals, who also support this decision to implement a ban, has been incredible.

It is acknowledged, digital devices are harmful in many ways to , impacting their Self Esteem, Sleep Hygiene, it can be a source for Cyberbullying, and much more. We all need to be mindful of the harmful impact the devices also have on the attention span of a child. When children are consistently being distracted by a digital device, it reduces their span of attention. This makes it very difficult for the child to concentrate fully on a task, thereby reducing their ability to absorb or complete the content being delivered in the class room environment.

It is not an exaggeration to say we have seen children who struggling a little school, yet are almost experts themselves on games and other online platforms, activities or content. If children are devoting their time and focus to a screen, it will be difficult for them to complete the tasks required and progress well in school. If children have access to technology in the bedroom, sleeping patterns can become disrupted and this will directly impact on their ability to remain focused in a class room setting.

France's Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanqur, was quotes as saying “Mobile Phones are a technological advance but they cannot monopolise our lives”.  Students will now be banned from using mobile phones anywhere on school grounds from September, following a “Detox” law for a generation of young students who are increasingly becoming addicted to their screens. The Education Minister also stated that students have a “right to disconnect” from the pressure of being online constantly.

This week also saw the UK Culture Secretary Matt Hancock being quoted as saying “Studies have shown that mobile phones can have a real impact on working memory and fluid intelligence, even if the phone is on a table or in a bag.” The Torey MP went on to say, “While it is up to individual schools to decide rather than government, I admire head teachers who do not allow mobiles to be used during the school day. I encourage more schools to follow their lead.” As the UK Government no considers a possible ban we should ask what of our own government.

We state quite often and without any reservation that no child should be provided with a Smartphone in National School. If the child needs to be able to contact a parent, then the child needs a traditional “Brick Phone”, which has that great game called Snake to keep them entertained. We would like to ask all Parent's Committees consider the removal of Smart phones from their children for the September 2018 – 2019 school term. Rest assured removing the device will not have a long term negative impact on your child, however permitting your child to have a Smartphone certainly will. If you would like further assistance or advice on how your school should consider implementing this in school Digital Detox, please contact us.

Team @COTDAge

Children of the Digital Age
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