It’s almost impossible to prise technology away from teens, but year nine students at Loreto College have a new appreciation of how much time they spend on technology after a week-long digital detox.
Students (mostly) switched off their phones and social media for the past week and learned about life without a mobile phone.
They were allowed 20 minutes a day of social media – far less than the hours many of them typically spend – and to make calls if necessary to parents about travel to and from school.
“I found it okay. I think sometimes you are oblivious as to how much time you actually have when you’re not using the phone,” said Freya Valpied.
Classmate Charlotte Waight said she didn’t really miss the “mindless scrolling” of social media.
“Once I got over that I got outside at home, kicked the footy with my brother, walked the dog and cooked dinner for my family.”
Brooke O’Brien found she was better able to concentrate on her homework without the distraction of her phone ringing and buzzing.
A survey completed before the digital detox week found most students admitted to spending 11 to 30 hours a week on their phones.
Student leaders arranged activities to keep girls busy and off their phones during lunchtime and other breaks, with a dodgeball competition proving popular alongside music, puzzles, board games, yoga and spin cycle classes.
“Over the last five years, in particular the last couple of years, we’ve seen phones creep in to the school environment and no doubt we think girls are probably a bit more distracted, a bit less able to concentrate on the task at hand, receive instant gratification and constant stimulation from the phone and are not prepared to be bored any more,” said teacher Shane Nankervis.
“These girls haven’t known a world without phones, and we want them to experience life without them and the mindless scrolling, to have some self-awareness of how much time they spend on it and how much time is taken up that they could be doing other things.”
Mr Nankervis said teachers had noticed girls were more active at lunchtime, more focussed in class and staff had not had to deal with any social media issues among students.
The digital detox was held as part of the school-wide Healthy Mind and Body Week.
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