The Netherlands recently announced that smartphones, tablets, and smart watches will be banned from classrooms from 1 January 2024 as these disrupt learning.
This country is the latest to join a spade of other countries, including France, Australia, and Finland, to ban devices in schools.
“We fully support these initiatives and want to appeal to our government to follow suit,” says Dr Marlena Kruger, digital wellness expert and director at the TechnoLife Wise Foundation.
“We should, however, not wait only for government to make a law against the use of smart devices in classrooms. Teachers, parents and caregivers should take responsibility for our children’s learning and holistic development, which are currently at great risk.”
Late last year, the Technolife Wise Foundation, that raises awareness about the dangers of overexposure to screens, partnered with Roosevelt High School in Johannesburg and spearheaded the Wait Until Grade 8 campaign. We extended this campaign with the drive to get as many parents to sign to ban smartphones from schools.
“This campaign aims to get 100 000 parents to support the banning of smartphones from schools by December 2023.”
It is, however, not only in classrooms that the overuse of screens wreak havoc. “A recent study shows that the earlier a child gets a phone, the greater the chance of them developing mental health problems as a young adult,” says Dr Kruger.
When children are overexposed to screens and social media, they don’t develop the necessary social and emotional regulation skills, thereby leading to more bullying, stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
“We want to plea with parents to make their children’s future a priority and take a stand against the overuse of smart devices. Please sign the petition now (www.technolifewise.org) and let’s together protect our children,” Dr Kruger concludes.
If you want to interview Dr Kruger, please write to Marlena@mindunique.co.za