With news stories about “screen time” in the media and potential effects on children it can be a cause for concern for parents and teachers. The screen time media buzzword has come from Apple’s recent technology that shows a user how long their device has been used for that week/day/month and allows parents to put blocks on amount of time their child uses particular applications. This technology isn’t new, for example, Netsupport has been doing it for years… but it is in the media’s eye who are now quoting studies into child safety and how screen time can directly affect development.
As a technology company we work with our customers to make IT available in the classroom whenever it is needed, but that doesn’t mean we think IT should encompass every element of a student’s development. There is no direct link between attainment and technology, but there are some really compelling uses of technology that show it can really help students learn new subjects or help with learning difficulties where traditional methods have failed. These are great uses of technology – we should be learning from and sharing these successes to our counterparts across education.
The typical external view of working with technology and children seems to be asking technology for all the solutions to e-safety and usage. Anyone working with or in a School/Academy will tell you there is no “silver bullet” technology that will make it all safe all of the time. Instead we look at technology and behavior. We employ systems to make the safest possible environment, whilst allowing teaching and learning to happen in a free-flowing pedagogical fashion. Meanwhile, we work with the teaching staff to educate students into making the right decisions with technology. In this way if they are in School, at home… now or in the future it doesn’t matter if their technology allows them to look at a screen for too long, they will hopefully make the right choice.
Ultimately when we, as humans, use technology we should look for both technological and behavioral solutions. Our advice; take time to benefit from technology but then take time to benefit from the outside world.