Screen time at schools: A real issue or fake news

Time spent on screens is becoming a greater issue in schools.

Julia Stuard and Kaitlyn Armstrong

Does screen time affect students academic progress? In the past months, concerned parents have been blowing up social media about the schools overuse in technology. Is this a real issue or are parents taking this too far?

Technology has no doubt changed and developed drastically over the years. In our parents and grandparents age, technology was scarce.  Most of what we use today, didn’t even exist 10 years ago.

The first iPhone came out in 2007. Instagram started being used in 2010. Snapchat was created in 2011. A lot of what we do today online is very new and never studied before.  This creates a problem- no one really knows what will happen in the future. 

On article called “The Backlash Against Screen Time at School.” shared some information on the topic. Researchers have found many short term effects of screen time on students, but at this point, we have little information on long term effects. 

 Short term effects include vision problems, academic performance, and comprehension in school.  Smaller studies have shown a growth of vision problems including nearsightedness in children who spent a good chunk of time in front of screens. 

 Others have found that when students are instructed to do an assignment or reading on a device, they are easily distracted and do not understand what they are reading. 

We asked freshman success and social studies teacher, Mr. Martinson, what he thought about screen time during and after school. 

He exclaimed, “Screen time is relative to what you do with it. If you’re using it to be successful, using it as a tool appropriately, then you’re helping you leverage you into being more successful.  Then you’re not on it too much.” 

What he’s saying is, it depends on what you use screen time for. He believes that if you use technology  for academic purposes and helping you learn, then it’s not too much. 

Access to computers has definitely changed the way our students learn for the better. Tools such as google classroom, remind, google drive and many more have made learning easier and more enjoyable. 

Mr. Martinson continues, “It really depends more on what you are doing with it then rather how much you are on your screens.” 

A common problem with using screens in schools is distractions. Students are more easily distracted on computers and this is a problem. Games, google and so many more sites easily distract students from schoolwork. Constant phone use is another distraction that our students face.

How can we limit screen use in a healthy way? Schools have no control over what students do outside of school. Kids on their own need to take action. 

 Many apps like “screen time” have been created for the purpose of seeing and controlling the amount of time spent on devices. These helpful apps could be a potential tool for students to learn to monitor their screen time. 

Bre Horton, a 9th-grade student at Tahoma explained, “sometimes I go to the screen time app and I am very surprised with the results.” 

Of course, students use technology at home as well and social media plays a big factor in students’ desperate need to always have their device near them at all times. 

Social media is very different now than it was when social media first came out. When they invented these social media apps, we didn’t realize the impact it would have on our lives. 

Now, about 10 years into the future, people can’t seem to know how to stop using the apps. Screen addiction is a real problem in schools and students can’t seem to be able to put their phones down.

Some teachers and parents believe that students are on screens too much during the day. It was proven that too much screen time can negatively affect a student’s health. Most parents are worried about this issue. 

But do students actually spend a lot of time on device at school? Or should parents set their own guidelines and rules for their child’s screen time at home? 

Shanthi Hall, a freshman at Tahoma, explained that her mom sets rules for her screen time: “I can’t be on my phone for more than an hour and I can’t watch TV for more than an hour per day.” she stated.   

Among all of the negative feedback, some schools are addressing the problems. In an article for teachers titled, “How Schools Are Bringing Common Sense, Mindfulness to Screen Time”, they gave an interesting approach to this problem.

 They called it teaching “mindful screen time”.  Their idea was that if they spread awareness to students, they might understand and want to change. They gave several ways to potentially solve this issue. These included teaching digital citizenship, tracking screen time, “phone-free Fridays” and several other potential solutions. 

Some of these options, obviously have flaws. The idea for phone-free Fridays for instance may sound like a successful solution, but in reality, it could never actually work. Getting thousands of students to go without their devices for a day is not reasonable. 

But other options do seem more ideal. Teaching kids at a young age to control screen time and act appropriately online, could bring up a strong generation. 

There are ways to improve this issue, we just have to be open to ideas and solutions to help our generations knowledge grow.  Going into the future, we need to be aware of the possible effects that excessive screen time can bring. 

With the world’s growing technology, each generation is starting to spend more and more time on devices.  We are starting to learn of some of the negative effects and we need to inform others so that we can raise a technologically smart generation. Solutions will help us begin to reduce our screen time. 

Going into the future we need to be aware of our screen time. We need to stay informed of the effects it can have on our students. As time goes on and more studies are conducted, we should stay informed about this topic.

But without a doubt, technology has changed the world. Just think what the future will bring.