I recently heard on the radio and read in an education newsletter, that the use of Teen Social Media is skyrocketing. That part didn't surprise me, what did, was that they advised us not to panic. This was the part I thought may have been fake news, but it wasn't. Although the stats given were American, from what I've seen as a parent, and as someone who works in an environment with teens, Canadian teen use of technology is pretty comparable. 25% of teens say using social media makes them feel less lonely, compared to 3% who say it makes them feel more lonely. Nearly 75% of teens believe tech companies manipulate them to spend more time on their phones and platforms. Although positioned as a good news story - and I appreciate that teens are aware of how they are being manipulated - these stats brought me little comfort. What stat did, was although 35% of teens prefer text over in-person communication 49% still enjoyed face to face. Let's go 49%!
As many schools wrestle with tech policies, Armbrae stands by theirs. Armbrae's policy has been guided by the belief that it is a school's responsibility to ensure that the students learn how to communicate with one another, socialize and solve problems or conflicts that may arise.
So, in the Junior School, electronic devices are not permitted. (Some allowances may apply under special circumstances.)
In the Senior School students are allowed to use their cell phones at recess, between 12:00 - 12:20 pm, and after 3:15 pm. Cell phone use is limited to classrooms in the main building. If an event regarding a change to a game/schedule, etc. occurs outside any of these times, and students need to contact their parents, they can use the school phone, or speak with someone in the office. Students can also use their cell phones in class with the teacher's permission. For example, teachers may ask students to take pictures of their experiment to include in their lab report, or to record homework and assignment due dates. Students are also allowed to use their cell phones to listen to music at the end of class to start their homework – with teacher permission.
Researchers are still debating over how much screen time and what activities children do during the screen time - can cause problems. At Armbrae, we will stick to our current policy as we navigate technology and education in the future.