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Screens and well-being: Martin Hughes



Here is an article recently released by Martin Hughes from 3ML. Martin is an educator who works to make the use of ICT in schools 'a seamless, creative and motivating' experience, and believes that technology should be working for learners, not the other way around.


"The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too broken to be heavy." - Warren Buffet -

The physical, mental, social and educational development of our children has traditionally been led by adults - parents, teachers, family/whanau members, sports coaches and community leaders - and supplemented by rich, real-life experiences. There is more and more evidence to support the idea that many of these critical and complex developmental processes can be undermined by the ubiquitous and poorly regulated presence of screens and technology.


If education is about nothing else, it is about preparing our young people for their future, not our past. It is also about equipping our young people to make smarter choices so that in turn, they can develop better habits for life in an uncertain world. The poorly regulated influence of technology on the educational experiences of our children (at home and school) is of increasing concern to many of the parents and teachers I regularly meet and work with. Because schools work very hard to create and implement visions, policies and strategies to simultaneously enhance student wellbeing and learning outcomes, the advantages of using technology should be immediately visible in all student learning.


Technology continues to disrupt the world at ever-increasing speeds and we have quickly become used to and dependant upon the many incredible advantages it has to offer.

Many adults, however, may need to recalibrate their expectations of our young people and their learning outcomes, in light of the huge potential that is offered by technology, when it is used wisely, creatively and effectively. In schools, this can often originate from Professional Learning opportunities for teachers that may lower student screentime, whilst also increasing expectations around learning outcomes and implementing even better ways of teaching. In this way, everybody wins.


Teachers often talk about children arriving at school in the morning 'wired and tired' - emotionally exhausted from too much screentime.

4 Questions to ask your school:

  • How much device time does my child typically have at school and what if any should they have at home?

  • What enhanced teaching methods are made possible at our school, by using technology?

  • How are less able students being supported and how are more able students being extended by using technology? How is this measured?

  • Are students being taught about screentime and how it can be managed better? What is the school's position around student cellphones?

3 Apps you could use

to moderate screentime (preceded by discussion and negotiation) - there are many more, of course - these are just a few:


  • Screentime (iOS)

  • Qustodio (iOS and Android)

  • Family Link (Android and Chromebook)


2 Websites you could learn from:


1 Join a group to further the conversation:


Here at PEPTALK we are thinking about creating opportunities for people who would like to find out more about screentime, learning and parenting. Sign up to find out more at www.peptalkmedia.com/screentime


For a link to the original article go to The chains of habit: Screens and wellbeing

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