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No Screen Day: Pupils ditch devices in school challenge

A large amount of screen time can have an effect on young people's development.

https://youtu.be/BkDsSn3m5BU | default

Ignoring all screens for a full day for many would be quite a challenge.

From mobile phones to tablets, computers or laptops and of course television, most people will spend time on at least one of these each day.

But for children and teenagers, a large amount of screen time can have an effect on their development.

Studies have found it impacts on attention, speech and listening skills; children's weight, movement and cognitive abilities; as well as behavioural, social and emotional issues.

In a move by East Ayrshire Speech and Language Therapy Team and East Ayrshire Council, all schools in the area took part in a 'No Screen Time Day' to raise awareness of the positives of reducing screen time.

Alison Gooding, a speech and language therapist with NHS Ayrshire & Arran, came up with the idea for the initiative.

She said: "We're trying to raise awareness of the importance of not having too much screen time.

"What we're not saying is that there is anything wrong with screens, they have a place and can be very, very useful.

"But actually, if young children are spending huge amounts of time on screens, that's a very passive activity and as a result of that then they're missing out on these face-to-face interactions and on these opportunities to develop communication skills that they get from that person-to-person interaction."

Time with tech

Schoolchildren: A large amount of screen time can have an effect on their development.
Schoolchildren: A large amount of screen time can have an effect on their development. STV

The statistics on young people's technology use is stark:

  • Children aged five to 15 spend an average of two hours and 11 minutes a day online.
  • 82% of children aged five to seven go online for around nine-and-a-half hours a week.
  • 99% of teens spends almost a full day (24 hours) online a week.
  • 71% of teens who have a mobile take it to bed with them.
  • 69% of teens also have a social media profile.

'My phone is not as vital as I thought it was'

Challenge: Lucie Smith went a day without her mobile.
Challenge: Lucie Smith went a day without her mobile. STV

Sixth year student Lucie Smith attends Loudon Academy and spent a full day without screens.

Following her experience she said: "Like most teenagers my phone goes everywhere with me.

"I use it to study at school, chat with friends and to let my parents know where I am.

"However, I'm ashamed to admit I am guilty of overusing my phone by spending way too much time watching Netflix and reality TV shows when I should really be studying.

"That being said, I severely underestimated how much of a challenge being without my phone would be. I was shocked and a bit disappointed to discover myself constantly reaching for my phone for the most mundane things like simply checking the time.

"Today did make me realise the advantages of technology like having the information you need instantly; but it has also shown me the amount of time I waste on a screen when I could be doing more important things.

"I was taken aback when I was researching that an average teen will spend approximately 24 hours on their phone a week. A whole day.

"Even though it was a pain at the start of the day I did become a bit more relaxed as the day went on, but I was wondering whether I'd missed something on the group chat.

"By the end, I found I was actually concentrating a bit more on work because I could catch up in a face-to-face conversation with my friends, which actually is better.

"This day has shown me that my phone is not as vital as I thought it was.

"It is a choice to have it but it shouldn't consume your whole day because you will gain far more by being present instead of stuck in a screen all the time.

"We can take back control if we want to: because we all know that Terminator did not end well..."

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