The op-ed this blog draws from, linked below, comes from a 6-8th grade middle school assistant principal, about what he encounters everyday with his students and the significant lack of accountability from the parents of those students. The main point you will find emphasized is quite simple: middle school students are not adults. Therefore, middle school-aged students should not be given the life-altering ability to handle a cellphone at any level under the 8th grade. There’s a myriad of scientific evidence to prove that a person’s brain is not equipped to make logical complex decisions until well after the 8th grade.
With that said, there are many reasons students are provided a cell phone at a middle-school age that have much more to do with safety and easing a parent’s mind, then intentionally arming students with knowledge and access they may use irresponsibly. However, the same cannot be said for every single student that is provided a cell phone. As a parent, who has taken on the vast responsibility it takes to be a parent in the first place, it is always your responsibility to get in your child’s way. The linked article provides three easy ways to “get in your child’s way.”
- Eat dinner as a family every night possible and actually talk.
- Check their devices RANDOMLY AND OFTEN.
- Create opportunities for them to have experiences.
Using these strategies to counter the sedentary lifestyle that runs fairly common for more recent generations is a bold and necessary move. Excess phone time is rampant with students who have full access to these devices at all times, with little to know physical activity. GIA urges our parents to create and find opportunities for your children to be physically active, inside and outside, whether in the form of sports, hobbies, or both! On top of the physical necessities to avoiding long periods of screen time, there are many mental and psychological necessities as well. These include your child being easily influenced by something that may only appear to be reliable online, but is in fact not accurate. There are quite limited forms of fact-checking available online, so when your child is on their phone for hours at a time, they could be heavily influenced by false information. We want every student to exercise their critical thinking – this is hindered when information is essentially being handed to them.
In light of this information, GIA invites all parents and scholars to participate in National Day of Unplugging, next week on March 4th. Please read more about this initiative here. This day is an awareness campaign that promotes a 24-hour respite from technology for the entire family. We recommend playing a board or card game, going out to dinner at your family’s favorite restaurant, or anything that can be done without a device. Good luck!
To read more: “Assistant Principal’s Rant Calls On Parents to Step Up” https://www.boredteachers.com/post/assistant-principals-rant-calls-on-parents-to-step-up