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Finding a Balance

Finding a Balance

Thursday, 16 November, 2017

Dear Parents,

“This phone is a God-given miracle” – a quote from today’s Washington Post (in an opinion article, and with a bit of irony) shows to some extent where humankind has arrived in year 10 of the iPhone age: adults who struggle to spend a day in town without smartphone seem to earn a lot of understanding from their peers – how do we expect young people to handle tech devices if we grownups can’t?

Take the beginning change in sleeping patterns. The recommendation for teenagers is 8-10 hours (which should be until 10am, according to our Secondary students...), but the number of those who only sleep seven hours has increased by 15% and keeps rising, says this research.

One main reason: The FOMO effect (“Fear of Missing Out”). Kids place their smartphone or similar devices at or even in bed to get their dose of dopamine whenever a message is delivered to them, feeling important and on top of things. Parents of adolescents know what studies have shown already a few years ago: the teenage brain is mainly busy with identification issues with the group of peers, from cliques to bullying. Smartphones have just added a new dimension to what was already challenging enough.

How can we prevent overdosing on WhatsApp, Instagram & Co? The abundance of food may be the best analogy – too much leads to overweight and health problems, so detox, diet and a good nutrition plan are necessary. Same for our life with internet features: use within limits and according to plan or schedule. You don’t eat in bed… so don’t allow any devices in the bedroom, It will be a battle with your children first, but it is worth fighting.

Schools try to find their role in this new game. Here is just one example.

We at BBIS accept that teaching kids the use of technology including smartphones is to some extent a pedagogical duty. We cannot pretend that there is a world out there happening but not between eight and three on the Seeberg please! This is why we allow mobile phones to be brought in, used for emergency communication with the family during breaks or for specific research or learning activities (only) in Secondary classes. For discussions with your offspring, be reminded that we do not require students to have a smartphone! The BYOD (bring your own device) expectation refers to laptops and to grades 9-12 only.

All further and connected questions will be a topic at the next director’s platform evening on 5 December – looking forward to meet many of you then.

Peter Kotrc
Director & CEO