How Does Your School Limit Screen Time?

Does, or how does, a school monitor, control, limit screen time? This question has been bouncing around my head for a couple of weeks now.

Photographer: Mary F. Calvert/Zuma Press/MCT via Getty Images

Photographer: Mary F. Calvert/Zuma Press/MCT via Getty Images

Nick Bilton’s New York Times piece, Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent prompts some more thinking on the topic and the question:

How does your school limit or police screen time?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say “we let our students handle it” and know it’s true.

That’s just too much to ask of most teenagers.

I recently visited a campus where as a matter of practice, and adult guidance, many websites – including unnamed social media giants – are blocked.

The school wants to minimize distraction, wasted time and energy, along with walling off inappropriate content. This forthright, more blunt approach is more than I am used to seeing; it helps students focus on school, the school community and their tasks at hand.

I get it. We have two kids who require external controls when it comes to screen time.

Bilton’s piece shines some light on how and why “technology chief executives and venture capitalists…strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends… …these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.”(NYT)

Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, and his wife limit screen time “…because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”(NYT)

“Evan Williams, a founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium, and his wife, Sara Williams, said that in lieu of iPads, their two young boys have hundreds of books (yes, physical ones) that they can pick up and read anytime.”(NYT)

Ali Partovi draws the distinction between time creating and consuming.

“…a founder of iLike and adviser to Facebook, Dropbox and Zappos, [Partovi] said there should be a strong distinction between time spent ‘consuming,’ like watching YouTube or playing video games, and time spent ‘creating’ on screens.

‘Just as I wouldn’t dream of limiting how much time a kid can spend with her paintbrushes, or playing her piano, or writing, I think it’s absurd to limit her time spent creating computer art, editing video, or computer programming,'”Partovi said.(NYT)

How does your school limit technology and teach technology citizenship in the age of technology driven classrooms – iPads and laptops open and in-hand, high speed wireless everywhere, and student downtime?

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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