The new school season has just started. This time it is a bit depressing for the parents due to recent incidents of school shootings. Though schools have come up with heightened security measures and some even went as far as conducting active shooting drills, it still feels surreal that it has come to this.
Other than the security concerns, cell phones can be a problem for your kids in a variety of ways in the new class. As kids head back-to-school, controlling their smartphone use is key both at school and at home.
Smartphones at school
Smartphones have been linked with the security of the kids. A recent poll finds that a third of the parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school. Besides introducing security measures, some schools have introduced new rules where students have to lock up their smartphones in pouches. While this idea may provoke an outcry from parents as the cell phone can be used during the emergency, the school fact sheets have a better answer to these concerns. School administrations contend that in case of emergency, the phones can distract students from following safety directions. During any unfortunate event, if the phone bell rings, it can tip off the assailants.
Some students claim to use their cell phone for around 12 hours a day. If they are attending an hour-long class, they would pull out the phone many times in their pocket or play games on their phone to kill the time. Schools are devising different ways to get a handle on cell phone use in the classrooms.
Teachers have come up with “Technology Usage Stoplight” plans. These will be displayed in each classroom and prominent locations in the school. This will make sure that a uniform code-of-conduct and a consistent message is delivered from classroom-to-classroom. By following these rules, teachers can exercise their choice as to how they want students to use their phone.
Technology is at the base of the learning experience and helps enhance learning in different ways. But researchers at Rutgers University say that smartphones can reduce the ability to think to a person’s full potential and constant use of cell phone can cause problems with the memory retention.
Psychologists say that while students think they are good at multi-tasking, that they can pay attention to the teacher as well as their game, the research reveals the contrary. According to them, controlling tech use starts at home.
Smartphones at home
Cutting down the use of smartphones at home must not be achieved with negative tactics. Kids should be engaged in tech-free activities where they feel they have the opportunity to do other things. Here is a four-pronged approach that can help limit the tech use in kids at home:
- Be the model: According to the latest Pew research, 36% of the parents say they spend too much time on their cell phones. As a result, teens find it easier to engage with their devices. Parents need to set an example for their kids in cell phone use. If parents cannot hold themselves from using their cell phones during the dinner, it is futile to think of the opposite from the kid.
- No devices during homework: If you want your kids to focus on their homework, set a rule that all the smartphones or other devices will be turned off during that time. The constant notifications and sounds from these devices can be a source of regular distraction and can constantly draw your child’s attention away from the studies.
- Set appropriate time limit: Though this may sound the easiest one, it is the most crucial one. The time your child spends on a device determines their affiliation or addiction with it. At the start of the new class, set some limits to the device use after discussing with your child.
- Use teacher-recommended apps: Your kid may insist on using apps for homework that are not recommended by the teacher. App stores have hundreds of applications that can be more of a distraction than a helpful teaching aid. It is better to stick to those resources that are approved by the teacher
Banning phones is not the solution like they did in France. Smartphones are crucial to your kid’s learning. The solution lies in the balanced use. Limiting smartphones at school will spare your kids from the nonstop barrage of bad news alerts, cyberbullying, and foulmouthed tweet storm. At the same time, it will provide them with invaluable time to relax and connect with their class fellows in the new school season.