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Shepparton VIC Australia 3632
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Personal Computers and Time Management

While the use of mobile and networked devices is becoming increasingly ingrained in both education and life outside schools, we cannot assume that young people will always use these devices in the most effective way. Just as some students (and adults!) will spend more time in front of video games or the television than they know they should, similar issues arise with the use of computers and other networked devices.

A number of the previously referenced websites will provide guidelines regarding total ‘screen time per day – whether computer, television, video games or a combination of these. There is certainly some dispute about these figures but there is a common thread that indicates clearly that excessive screen time is not healthy for an individual. When also considering that currently almost all examinations in schools and much of our other assessments are taken using pens, pencils and paper, there is a compelling case to spend time with these machines turned off or unavailable.

Again, parenting experts will recommend the establishing of a clear set of expectations in the family home, with an associated expectation that the spirit of these be followed outside the home also. This is more easily done when there is research and objective good sense supporting the expectations. It is important to be and feel, informed when entering the discussions around expectations of use.

Both at school and at home, some students will be quick to say that they cannot do their work without their computer and on some occasions they will be correct. However, there will be times (often lengthy periods) when a device will be no assistance in completing a task and will be a distraction if music, video, Facebook or YouTube are being viewed "while I work". Research clearly indicates that multi- tasking impedes the effectiveness of Learning. Current evidence supports the premise that deep understanding of concepts and the production of complex and sophisticated pieces of work requires directed and consistent concentration on the concept or task. This is not achieved when students are ‘toggling’ from one stimulus to another, although they will frequently argue that this is incorrect!

The ability of young people to use balance the use of multi-media devices, television and networked devices is very individual and parents will know your child better than anybody. But perhaps some ‘rules of thumb’ might be as follows:

• If you think they are getting too much screen time, they probably are!

• If they don’t appear to be using their device to assist their homework during designated homework time, they probably aren’t!

• If they are arguing back about this, it is possible they know you are right!

• The development of self-discipline and distraction avoidance comes to each of us at different stages and you will best know where your child is with this and act accordingly.


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