Last week was Heritage’s third annual Screen Free Week. Families were strongly encouraged to take part by saying ‘no’ to TV and video’s, gaming, social media and internet use – for recreational purposes, for seven days.
To quote Jane Rumble, Director of Market Intelligence at Ofcom ‘Millions of us are taking a fresh look at the role of technology in our lives, and going on a digital detox to get a better tech-life balance.”
Heritage’s concern is that our extent of dependence upon digital technologies is imbalanced and unhealthy, particularly for children during years of rapid development; neural pathways are established that become hard to change. A great many activities which have a clear positive impact upon childhood development are being displaced – such as playing outdoors, reading books, playing music, sport, board games, and so on.
At Heritage we prize the habit of attention as the single most important learning habit a pupil can possess. Hours of digital stimulation undermines a pupil’s ability to concentrate for extended periods of time, thus hampering intellectual development and academic performance.
The purpose of Screen Free Week is to encourage healthy and balanced living, and to take seriously the risks of excessive screen time. Many families reported spending quality time doing new craft projects, building dens in the garden, and baking. Family dogs were given more walks and Y4 spent Friday night away on camp which was perfect. One Mother posted: ‘The screen fast gets more difficult every year, which is exactly why it is interesting and important to do it.’
In their French lesson, pupils in Y9 were asked their opinions about Screen Free Week and these were some of their responses:
‘A mon avis les nouvelles technologies ont des désavantages: les enfants sont vulnérables s’ils postent des renseignement sur eux-mêmes sans penser aux dangers. En plus, on se laisse facilement distraire.’ Zachary
‘J’ai beaucoup apprécié la semaine parce qu’il faisait très beau at je suis allé à la campagne avec ma famille pour faire du sport.’ Alexander
‘J’ai décidé de participer dans la semaine san écrans parce que je crois que je passe trop de temps devant la télé, sur les reséaux sociaux at sur mon portable.’ Léah