Last week, the Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt released new national guidelines for children. Within these guidelines, the amount of screen time and sleep featured prominently. It is timely publication as we start our 1-1 Device program and a wake-up call to us all in our ‘screen happy’ society at large. Recent studies have shown that Australian kids are spending 20% of their time using screens during the week and 30% on weekends.
Excessive screen time has been shown to lead to structural and functional changes to the brain’s emotional, processing, executive attention, decision making and cognitive control. The decision to include sleep recognised its importance in optimising health, development and learning and is connected to screen time in the period for bed-time.
At last week’s e-learning evening, I recommended to parents that they quarantine 30 minutes before bed time as screen free time while report recommends a full 1 hour. Our restrictions on mobile phone use between 8:20am and 2:52pm is a key part of limiting non-essential use and has been welcomed by parents.
Finally, last week I also gave 8 tips to help parents ensure that the benefits of having internet connected device outweigh their potential threats. Here they are.
Ensure that your child understands that
- its your machine not theirs
- you have the right to the passwords.
- it should be used in shared space if possible.
- if it is to be used in your child’s room, they understand that you expect them to always have the door open with the screen facing the door.
- you reserve the right to view screens and history whenever you want to.
- laptops & devices need to be out of the bedroom at night.
- the wi-fi will be turned off at night.
- there should be at least 30 mins of screen free time before bed.
At Charlton we look to work together to ensure that students screen time has appropriate limits and boundaries with researchers suggesting that we all have no more than two hours in front of screens per day.
Mr Mark Ash / Principal