Posted 26 days ago

The culture secretary Matt Hancock has called on schools to ban mobile phones.

Playing an integral part of the ongoing drive to increase awareness around online safety and digital literacy, Hancock states that not only are mobiles having a detrimental effect on academic achievement, but also expose pupils to a higher risk of cyber bullying.

In a world where the smart phone is an integral part of daily lives, the average age of the smart phone user is getting younger and younger.

As parents, we want our children to be contactable and feel a sense of comfort knowing they have their phones on them. As children become more independent that sense of freedom is made easier to swallow knowing that they have a way of staying in touch.

However, with smart phones now being pocket sized computers, how can we ensure they are kept safe from the other external risks having access to such technologies poses.

So the bottom line is - should schools ban mobile phones or should they be focusing on the bigger picture and teaching pupils how to stay safe online?

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018  puts an emphasis on teaching about rather than blocking the Internet. 

Use of mobile phones needs to be taught in an holistic way that recognises the importance of minimising screen time, appropriate use and healthy lifestyles. Children who understand these things should be able to have mobile devices without the negative impacts outlined by Hancock.

Here at New Era, we believe that the focus should be on preventing the problem from happening in the first place. Sheltering children from something that will play a huge part in their later lives does not help prepare them in dealing with the issues which will no doubt occur at some point in the future.

Earlier this year, The Children's Commissioner called for compulsory digital literacy to be taught in primary schools

In Anne Longfield's report, it states that 'some research has suggested 3/4 of 10-12 year olds have a social media account'. The most popular accounts seem to be Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Musical.ly. Yet, according to the app companies, these apps are 'blocked for under-13s'. 

How can New Era help prepare the next generation?

Our online learning cloud, DB Primary, not only teaches digital literacy in a safe and secure environment, it also introduces the key concepts in social media.

DB Primary pupils not only learn how to operate safely online, but with the help of profanity filtering and a 'golden whistle' to report items which cause offence or distress, it demonstrates what is acceptable and not acceptable online behaviour.

Children can share their work online and other children can comment on it. It also empowers the pupils to add their own friends and provides an email tool suitable for children. All of this is delivered in an environment which is secured heavily by profanity filters, alerts, and blocks to account login in attempts.