• Joanne Jacobs

Screen time all the time


"Screen time here to stay," writes Cari Spencer on The 74. Teachers are trying to use the technology to engage students, even as they worry about its impact.

John Arthur, a teacher in Utah, uses Minecraft simulations to teach about ancient civilizations, she writes. But all math instruction is on paper, so "children can have a tactile learning experience, as well as a break from screens."


Children's screen time soared when schools were closed, reaching more than eight hours a day for teenagers, more than five hours for children eight to 12 years old, reports Common Sense.

Managing screen time should be guided by whether technology is displacing time that should be spent in other areas, such as exercising, play dates with friends or sleeping, said Dr. Dave Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City.
“Making technology into some sort of boogeyman” should be left in 2018, Anderson said. The focus now should be on helping children and adolescents healthily engage with technology.

Students relax when they're talking on their phones, says Arthur. It seems to free them for in-person conversations. He also thinks they develop social skills communicating online.

Students have shorter attention spans, especially if they spend a lot of time on screens, he said. They're used to vibrant, fast-paced stimuli. The real world seems slow.

Ban cellphones in school and rebuild students' ability to pay attention and socialize with each other, writes Doug Lemov in Education Next.


"It won’t be easy, but it can be done," he writes. "France has done it. The state of Victoria in Australia has done it. Some American public schools and districts have done it, in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Maine, and New York."


The argument that “schools should teach young people the skill of managing technology” is patently unrealistic. Schools are not designed to address, much less unravel, psychological dependence on portable supercomputers designed to disrupt and hold our attention. . . .
It’s magical thinking to propose that an epidemic that has doubled rates of mental health issues and changed every aspect of social interaction among millions of people is going to go away when a teacher says, “Guys, always use good judgment with your phones.”

These devices, he writes, have "addicted a generation into submission."


86 views1 comment