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 Getting control on social media
Sixth formers at Derby High School took on a challenge to give up their mobile phones and take part in a digital detox.
Students were encouraged to put their phones in a box for a day and not engage on social media during lunchtimes and break periods.
The move followed a Positive Social session in school by Mark Saxby, director at Status Social, during which he talked about the positive and negative sides of social media.
Sally Goodman, Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Derby High School, also took part in the challenge which she is planning on continuing.
She said: “The girls heard about the positives of social media
and about how they could use LinkedIn. They were also told how the negatives can catch you out, in terms of something you
Dr. Richard Graham, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and founder of the UK’s  rst dedicated technology addiction service for young people in London, has seen  rst-hand how young people are struggling with their use of technology.
He has witnessed incidence of depression and anxiety grow exponentially in young people. He can compare the brain of
a teenager addicted to social media to that of a drug addict’s as he described the smartphone as “a dopamine pump in every adolescent pocket”.
Dr Graham found in his extensive research of the subject that in schools where mobile phones
are banned there is an overall improvement in attainment, but that the improvements are far greater for those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is no bene t to those who enjoy greater advantage but no negative impact either.
Dr Graham concluded “teenagers are supposed to be rebels” and “parental use is where the ban should start.”
Many different views were
post online may never be fully erased and how lots of young people are focusing on how many likes they get on their social media posts. I think it de nitely made a difference and I was going to try to do it for a week.”
Yasmin Croxson, 17, gave up her phone following the talk.
She said: “It was great actually because in the Sixth Form common room we were actually engaged in conversation rather than looking at our phones. Some of us swapped phones rather than giving them up entirely so we still had a phone but wouldn’t be tempted to go on social media. When I got
my phone back I didn’t want to check it.”
Mr Saxby said he hoped the students would continue with the challenge.
He said: “During our Positive Social session we asked the Sixth
expressed over the course of the one-day conference, and from these came many parental tips:
• Create an open dialogue at home between parents and children as it stimulates a growth mindset
• Know what your child is doing online and include safe maintenance – technology tools, monitoring and non- coercive time setting
• Engage with technology in the family environment
• Self regulation is key
• Parents must mirror the habits they want for their children
• Promote activities that enhance well-being – managed use or restriction is only going to be of value if something replaces what was previously used
• Introduce digital sundown to reduce sleep debt
• Create family media plan
In his conclusion Robert Lobatto, Head at King Alfred School concluded that one of the key messages of the conference
is that there is a place for technology at school. He said “it is a subject that raises the
Form whether they had control over social media, or social media control over them.
“I challenged them to give up social media to prove they were able to do so, and within seconds they agreed to give up their phones to stop them being tempted.
“They’ve done one day, I’m hoping that next week that will become two days, the following week, three days, and so on. When they get to a week without social media, then I’ll be satis ed they de nitely are in control of social media!”
 passions” and re ected that
in the past felt con icted in
his views as a parent and as a Head Teacher. “We are keen to develop our teaching practices to involve technology but in
a way that is in the student’s best interests”. With re ection on the debate he heard in the KAS one-day conference, he
had reached the conclusion that the correct way forward for KAS was to teach young people to engage responsibly with the incredibly powerful resource that technology offers.
On leaving the conference delegates were asked again to make a vote, whether (a) they agreed that phones should
be banned in school, (b) phones should not be banned in schools or (c) they were undecided. It was found the majority of attendees changed their preference and voted not banning phones in school as their preferred option.
The subject of agency was raised many times by many of our speakers, i.e. the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free
choices and in this case taking responsibility for their phone use, and deciding on their self-regulation. Teachers at
King Alfred School said they were in favor of the child
having agency. A Lower School teacher said” The conference as a whole has been fascinating and eye opening and I enjoyed the balanced discussion. When voting initially I was undecided as to whether phones should be banned in school but at the end of the conference I voted for not banning phones in schools”.
The King Alfred School Society founded the school over a hundred years ago. They called for a curriculum “geared to what was known about child development and not to the requirements of examination bodies”, an aim that is as relevant today as ever. Since the school began, it has continually researched what teaching practices are best for the children, both for their experience at school and their preparation for life.
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