SAPS 155 – Mobile phones are “demonised” but can they be a force for good?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

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In This Week’s Episode :

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Mobile Phones in the Classroom

Sue’s Tuppence Worth

Listen to the discussion HERE on BBC. (54:20)

Mobile phones are “demonised” but can be a force for good in the classroom, according to a leading headteacher Jane Prescott, headmistress of Portsmouth High School GDST

She believes that it is the responsibility of schools to show the positive aspects of the devices.

She argued that mobile phones are “here to stay” and parents and schools cannot “stick their heads in the sand”.

Banning youngsters from using their phones simply means they use them in places where they cannot be monitored, said Mrs Prescott, who is the incoming president of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA).

She also suggested that teenagers should take a research-style project alongside their GCSEs to give them a chance to investigate something that interests them.

In her first comments as she took up her post, Mrs Prescott said: “We demonise mobile phones. And there is certainly an aspect of mobile phones that is destructive – excessive social media use, being able to promote the celebrity culture, gaming on mobile phones.

But there’s also a huge positive with them, in that communication has never been easier, or better.

It’s our responsibility in schools to show the positive aspect of having a mobile phone, what it can be used for in a good way.

And helping them overcome those negative aspects of having a mobile phone.”

My thoughts: It was a heated debate as some teachers & parents believe mobile phones are enormously distracting both at home and in the classroom but age-appropriately and with firm, fair and consistent rules and consequences, we can ‘Talk & Teach’ kids to MANAGE what they do with their devices, and how long they spend on them.

We also need to be mindful of what we are modeling regarding our own mobile phone use too – don’t we?

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Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A

Q. Dear Sue, I find myself in full-on homework battle mode most nights of the week! Both of my children dig in their heels when it comes to doing schoolwork & create merry hell. They would prefer to be playing video games, riding their bikes or hanging around with friends. But the school gives regular homework and I want my kids to do well at school but how do I break the deadlock – it’s exhausting. – Rosie Kemp from Billericay
A.

Answer

As long as you believe you are accountable (or to blame) for your child’s outcome, you are under their control.

The underlying truth here is that not many kids actually enjoy doing homework, chores or going to bed!

It sounds like that you are already caught in a power struggle over this. Like most parents, you probably want your children to do well and be responsible, but you need to guide them not sledgehammer them as it just becomes a battle of wills and turns kids off studying and learning.

Nagging, Lecturing and Yelling Doesn’t Work😊

If you’re in the habit of threatening, lecturing, questioning your child, nagging or even screaming at them to “do the work!” (and trust me, we’ve all been there), you probably feel like you’re doing whatever it takes to keep your kids on track. But when you’re in your child’s head, there’s no room for them to think for themselves & they are not taking responsibility for getting into trouble at school.

The more you push – the more they resist by pushing back. That’s when the power struggle happens. Your child, in essence, is saying, “I own my own life—stay out!” Now the battle for autonomy is getting played out around homework and exactly what you feared and hoped to avoid gets created.

When kids are not taking on their responsibilities, it can easily trigger a number of feelings in parents. Remember that your child didn’t cause these feelings, but rather triggered feelings that already belong to you. You might be triggered by a feeling of anger because you feel ineffective or fear that your child will never amount to anything. Or you might feel guilty about not doing a good enough job as a parent.

Here’s the truth:  You have to be careful not to let these triggered feelings cause you to push your kids harder so that you can feel better! One of the toughest things parents have to do is learn how to soothe their own difficult feelings rather than ask their children to do that for them. This is the first step in avoiding power struggles.

  1. You are not responsible for your child’s choices

Understand that you are not responsible for the choices your child makes in their life. It’s impossible to take on that burden without a battle for control over another human being. Measure your success as a parent by how you behave—not by what your child chooses to do or not do. Doing a good job as a parent means that you have done all that you can do as a responsible person. It does not mean that you have raised a perfect person who has made all the right choices. Once you really get this, you won’t be so anxious about your child’s behaviors, actions, and decisions. You will be able to see your child from objective, not subjective, lenses and therefore be able to guide their behaviour because you’ll have seen what they actually need.

  1. You cannot make someone care—but you can influence them

You cannot get a person to do or care about what they don’t want to do or care about. Our kids have their own genetics, roles, and ultimately their own free will. So focusing on getting your child to change will not work long-term and will most often turn into a power struggle. What you can do is try to influence your child using only what is in your own hands. For example, when it comes to homework, you can structure the environment to create the greatest probability that the work will get done.

Here are my practical tips

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Whether your child is heading for their SATs, GCSEs or A levels, exam preparation can be stressful, overwhelming and just plain boring. With most exams occurring just as your child gains a little freedom, they can easily feel frustrated and unmotivated, preferring to be out with their friends or on their Xbox.

But with the right tools, strategies and techniques your child can learn how to balance their work and play, study effectively and get the best grades they can without all the battles, stress or worry.

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