Screen Time Audit
What were the results of this school-wide survey?
Late in Term 2, Blake Affleck, Tafaitoa Tyrell, Ben Williamson, Olivia Hartvigsen, Ella Senior and (later in the project), Yui Nakajima joined forces to audit screen time across the school. Although our students need to engage with digital technologies and benefit from the digital technologies curriculum, we continue to recognise that there must be a balance between screen time and other learning opportunities.
I asked the Year 7 and 8 ‘Integrated’ class to investigate a few different projects last term, this being amongst them.
The findings of the cross-sectional survey are shown below:
You may note that Room 19 is missing - this is because Mrs Bopp was in South Africa when the survey took place. Her students will have the opportunity to participate when there is an appropriate break in the Year 5-8 programme.
The students have discussed with their teacher the findings of the survey. In general, your screen time increases as you progress through the school. This is no surprise, considering the commitment to typed reports for NCEA purposes.
Although there are no researched set timeframes for children’s screen time, early indications suggest that for children under 2 there should be no screen time, for 2-6 year olds this should be limited to 1 hour per day, for children older than 6 there should be parent-controlled timeframes around screen time. Early research suggests that children exposed to more than 6 hours of screen time (digital devices, TV etc) each day experience negative side effects such as poor sleep, lack of ability to concentrate and a greater frequency of behavioural problems. I believe it is essential for us, as a school, to be clear about our contribution to the overall screen time for each individual.
The Mayo Clinic has provided researched advice for parents:
- Prioritize unplugged, unstructured playtime.
- Create tech-free zones or times, such as during mealtime or one night a week.
- Discourage use of media entertainment during homework.
- Set and enforce daily or weekly screen time limits and curfews, such as no exposure to devices or screens one hour before bedtime.
- Consider using apps that control the length of time a child can use a device.
- Require your children to charge their devices outside of their bedrooms at night.
- Keep screens out of your child's bedroom.
- Limit your own screen time.
- Eliminate background TV.