It may just be that the National party have been watching StraightTalk – our live current affairs show on Monday night. That’s because we stated a very obvious solution to a problem – and nek minnit, it was National party policy. National’s policy is well overdue. It will force schools to comply with what many parents were already wanting. We need to see iphone use and screen time as a personal health and well-being issue – and make some tough calls like this – for the sake of our children.
It may just be that the National party have been watching StraightTalk – our live current affairs show on Monday night. That’s because we stated a very obvious solution to a problem – and nek minnit, it was National party policy
So at the beginning of last week, we made this comment on StraightTalk:
The lead story in the NZ Herald on Sunday was that the number of students stood down or suspended for physically assaulting staff or students has increased 66 per cent in the past decade. Teachers are reporting dealing with more instances of violence than in the past.
And the excuses from education leaders were rolling out.
The Ministry of Education said it was important to note the data was not a measure of student behaviour but a measure of a school’s reaction to such behaviours.
Rubbish. In fact, schools are under enormous pressure NOT to take action such as stand downs or suspensions against students. Some schools have lowered the behaviour standard so far that it’s almost as hard to be suspended as it is for an adult to commit a serious crime and end up in prison.
The PPTA president said Social media also had a significant part to play because it encouraged violent behaviour and incentivised young people to share violent content.
Ah – here’s a really really simple solution, team. Ban phones during school time. It’s not rocket science – but of course, that kind of decision takes bravery from adults.
Interestingly, around the same time as my comments, Unesco called for a global ban on smartphones in schools. It’s not often that the UN and I agree.
Smartphones should be banned from schools to tackle classroom disruption, improve learning and help protect children from cyberbullying, a UN report has recommended.
Unesco, the UN’s education, science and culture agency, said there was evidence that excessive mobile phone use was linked to reduced educational performance and that high levels of screen time had a negative effect on children’s emotional stability.
It said its call for a smartphone ban sent a clear message that digital technology as a whole, including artificial intelligence, should always be subservient to a “human-centred vision” of education, and never supplant face-to-face interaction with teachers.
Excessive or inappropriate student use of technology in the classroom and at home, whether smartphones, tablets or laptops, could be distracting, disruptive and result in a detrimental impact on learning, it said. It cited large-scale international assessment data that indicated a “negative link” between excessive use of digital technology and student performance.
Based on its analysis of 200 education systems around the world, Unesco estimated one in four countries had banned smartphones in school, either through law or guidance. Including France , Netherlands, parts of Australia. And even some NZ schools have already taken this action.
It seems National has been watching StraightTalk.
Today, National has confirmed its plans to ban cell phone use at all schools to help fix the declining rate of achievement in New Zealand if elected in October.
Party leader Christopher Luxon made the announcement today saying many schools overseas have implemented a similar ban and seen positive results from the initiative.
If elected, National said the ban would apply to all schools – primary, intermediate and secondary – and the presumption is cell phones are off and away all day, including during breaks between classes. However, schools can decide how to practically enforce the ban.
It’s a good decision not only for academic reasons, but also other important reasons.
It helps young people to realise that they don’t have to be on social media all day. It frees their mind to think of other things
Secondly, it stops the incentive to create fights and drama at schools and film them and put them on social media for notoriety or for the clicks – and that’s a real problem in schools. Something that has been driving some of the violent episodes we see – the fame that you can get by posting it online.
But thirdly, it means less screentime – and team, I’ve gotta say, we’ve raised this issue 8 years ago!
Here’s our report – from 2015!
“WE NEED TO TALK – Screen time in NZ, Media Use: An Emerging factor in child and adolescent health” by biologist / psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says that although screen technology may be a beneficial aspect of modern life, there is growing concern from health and development experts about the disproportionate use in many families’ lives, particularly the young in New Zealand.
Dr Sigman the author said “Parents, children and teachers remain unaware of the medical and developmental risks and the position of medical bodies on discretionary screen time. And the majority of children and adolescents in New Zealand, including toddlers, continue to significantly exceed medical guidelines,”
“Yet the ages at which children start viewing screens and the number of hours watched per day is increasingly linked to negative physiological changes, medical conditions and development outcomes including significant sleep disturbances, attention problems and impulsiveness, and children are more susceptible to developing a long-term problematic dependency on technology.”
So National’s policy is well overdue. It will force schools to comply with what I think many parents were already wanting.
We need to see iphone use and screen time as a personal health and well-being issue – and make some tough calls like this – for the sake of our children.