Phones seem to be becoming an increasingly essential piece of kit in this digital world, and so for the stereotypical teenager (who spends NINE hours on the internet on average every day), the thought of being temporarily separated from their most prized piece of social anchoring is almost too much to bear. However, it is this mindset, along with the alarming stories and statistics about sleep deprivation, addiction and aggression that have led Charterhouse to propose and implement an “MED (Mobile Electronic Device) Policy”. However, is this the best course of action to convince teenagers to do without the constant flicking through social media?
Once the policy was announced, two important questions needed addressing and clarifying, as follows:
- What would these new regulations entail exactly and who would they affect?
- What is the school trying to achieve by implementing them?
Mr. Wilson, the Assistant Headmaster (Wellbeing), replied the following when asked the same questions:
- From the start of CQ all mobile computing devices (phones, laptops and tablets etc) will be taken in at bedtime from the 4ths and accessible in the morning.
From the start of OQ18 this will be extended to all the Under-School (4ths-5ths). At the moment Specialists will continue as before.
- There’s overwhelming evidence that excessive screen time has negative effects upon physical health, mental health, sleep deprivation, as well as the obvious distraction from productive tasks or ambitions in the real: the average 16-24 year old in the UK now spends, according to an Ofcom national survey, more time on-screen than sleeping on a daily average basis! Particularly, the medical evidence is that there should be a buffer of half-an-hour at least between screen use and going to sleep as quality as well as quantity of sleep is affected by “blue screen” use.
However, there are two sides to the argument. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many pupils have expressed dissatisfaction at the new proposals. As such, when making a judgement on this policy, we must evaluate all points made by both sides. Here is a summary.
The Argument For the Policy
The school is trying to drag its pupils away from a dependence on mobile devices. It does not see any reason why pupils should be on their phones after bedtime, when they should be sleeping after a long day’s work. The Carthusian Day can be rather intense, and those precious hours between lights out and breakfast should be used to rest. Furthermore, pupils use their phones to check social media, and considering that the school Wi-Fi switches off for each year at their specific bedtime, what use will they find their phones after this time? The devices will be returned to their owners after breakfast, so they will still be allowed them for the vast majority of the day.
The Argument Against the Policy
The devices are the property of the pupils; they should be in possession of their devices when they want. How can they be certain that their potentially expensive property is safe when it is not in their own hands? Phones and computers are in most cases the only source of music for pupils, which can help them relax after a long day. In addition, in the Fifth form, the idea of having your phone taken away at night when you are at the age where you can drive a moped and drink alcohol at a meal (while supervised) seems a little extreme.
To conclude, this policy is divisive, but does have its merits and scientific evidence to support the school’s decision. Only time will tell after its implementation whether it will be a success or not.