No Screen Day: Pupils ditch devices in school challenge

A large amount of screen time can have an effect on young people's development.

Schoolchildren: A large amount of screen time can have an effect on their development. <strong>STV</strong>
Schoolchildren: A large amount of screen time can have an effect on their development. STV

Ignoring all screens for a full day for many would be quite a challenge.

From mobile phones to tablets, computers or laptops and of course television, most people will spend time on at least one of these each day.

But for children and teenagers, a large amount of screen time can have an effect on their development.

Studies have found it impacts on attention, speech and listening skills; children’s weight, movement and cognitive abilities; as well as behavioural, social and emotional issues.

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In a move by East Ayrshire Speech and Language Therapy Team and East Ayrshire Council, all schools in the area took part in a ‘No Screen Time Day’ to raise awareness of the positives of reducing screen time.

Alison Gooding, a speech and language therapist with NHS Ayrshire & Arran, came up with the idea for the initiative.

She said: “We’re trying to raise awareness of the importance of not having too much screen time.

“What we’re not saying is that there is anything wrong with screens, they have a place and can be very, very useful.

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“But actually, if young children are spending huge amounts of time on screens, that’s a very passive activity and as a result of that then they’re missing out on these face-to-face interactions and on these opportunities to develop communication skills that they get from that person-to-person interaction.”

The statistics on young people’s technology use is stark:

Challenge: Lucie Smith went a day without her mobile. STV

Sixth year student Lucie Smith attends Loudon Academy and spent a full day without screens.

Following her experience she said: “Like most teenagers my phone goes everywhere with me.

“I use it to study at school, chat with friends and to let my parents know where I am.

“However, I’m ashamed to admit I am guilty of overusing my phone by spending way too much time watching Netflix and reality TV shows when I should really be studying.

“That being said, I severely underestimated how much of a challenge being without my phone would be. I was shocked and a bit disappointed to discover myself constantly reaching for my phone for the most mundane things like simply checking the time.

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“Today did make me realise the advantages of technology like having the information you need instantly; but it has also shown me the amount of time I waste on a screen when I could be doing more important things.

“I was taken aback when I was researching that an average teen will spend approximately 24 hours on their phone a week. A whole day.

“Even though it was a pain at the start of the day I did become a bit more relaxed as the day went on, but I was wondering whether I’d missed something on the group chat.

“By the end, I found I was actually concentrating a bit more on work because I could catch up in a face-to-face conversation with my friends, which actually is better.

“This day has shown me that my phone is not as vital as I thought it was.

“It is a choice to have it but it shouldn’t consume your whole day because you will gain far more by being present instead of stuck in a screen all the time.

“We can take back control if we want to: because we all know that Terminator did not end well…”


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