Since the late 1990s, we have not had to live without access to the World Wide Web. As such, Generation Z (the first true digital natives) have relied more on technology, and less on books than previous generations did. Having never experienced a world without the internet, the tech industry has naturally been hard at work convincing our youth that they need and should desire all of the latest and greatest apps by driving a generational culture that encourages them to always be ‘connected’.
However, the sobering reality is that long-term studies are finally being released on the effects of electronic devices on the brains of children and teens. Without going into detail here, most of these point to the fact that, like any addictive behaviour, the spiked use of electronic devices in young people needs to be regulated so as to control the rising rates of anxiety and depression that are being seen.
I still recall reading an article in the New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/silicon-valley-nannies.html
which discusses the approach of Silicon Valley parents requesting contracts with nannies be written with ‘no electronic device’ clauses to guarantee zero unauthorised screen time for their children. These are the same Silicon Valley executives who successfully convinced consumers that smartphones, tablets and all numbers of electronic devices were the only way to educate children. Rationally, their reasoning behind restricting screen time is valid and straightforward – medical studies are now showing that too much screen time is bad for our youth.
Here at HAIS, we use a variety of tools to best educate our students. We believe in an ‘idea rich’ classroom balanced by the use of books and technology, especially where it leads to a more meaningful learning experience for our students.
During March, we celebrated World Book Week, and during the week, I was personally heartened to see a genuine appreciation and love of books and reading right across the HAIS campus. From Early Years through to Year 11, the celebration of all things books was on display for all to see. Apart from improving literacy skills, enhancing vocabulary and cognitive skills, and improving confidence, reading books allows all our children to ‘Dream Big’ so they may ‘find their passion and realise their dream.’
Mr Brett Macdouall
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