Teachers Warn Excessive Phone Use Leaving Children Too Tired to Learn, Call for Action

Featured & Cover Teachers Warn Excessive Phone Use Leaving Children Too Tired to Learn Call for Action

Teachers in Yorkshire are raising concerns about children’s excessive phone use, which they believe is leaving students too tired to focus in class. The government recently issued advice to schools to curb mobile phone use during lessons, but educators argue that the real issue lies in the amount of screen time children have at home. Hannah Feerick, an assistant head at Wales High School in Rotherham, noted that many students appear fatigued and disengaged during school hours, attributing this to their extensive online activities. She highlighted the impact of online conflicts on the development of friendship groups, emphasizing that these issues often unfold in digital spaces.

Data from No Phones At Home, an initiative promoting offline interactions, reveals the widespread ownership of phones among children, with 55% having phones by age 11, increasing to 77% by age 12. Moreover, 86% of these children have social media accounts, spending an average of 2.5 hours daily on their phones. Primary school teachers, gathered at a recent meeting in Leeds, shared observations of how excessive screen time affects children’s social skills and patience. They noted a tendency towards solitary behavior, impatience, and a lack of delayed gratification, with some expressing concern that parents underestimate the impact of digital consumption on their children.

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage from Leeds emphasized the importance of setting firm boundaries on device usage, advocating for a balanced approach. She highlighted the link between excessive screen time and mental health issues, stressing the need for parental intervention to mitigate these risks. Meanwhile, the government’s guidance on mobile phone use in schools aims to reduce disruptions and enhance classroom behavior. However, Pepe Di’lasio, head teacher of Wales High School and incoming general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, believes the focus should be on regulating online platforms rather than solely restricting phone use in schools. Di’lasio urged for greater efforts to address harmful content accessible to children online, suggesting a shift in focus from devices to the content children encounter.

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