Success in experiment to cut pupils’ use of mobile phones

Figures from a Freedom of Information request have revealed how a total of 736 phones were seized at HMP Doncaster during 2015.
Figures from a Freedom of Information request have revealed how a total of 736 phones were seized at HMP Doncaster during 2015.

Staff and students say they are feeling the benefits after taking part in a project to cut down on their phone usage.

Pupils and teachers at Minsthorpe Community College pledged to reduce the amount of time they spent on digital devices including tablets, mobile phones, computers and game consoles, when they began the programme in March.

Minsthorpe community college students starting project involving living without their phones.
Hannah and Athan with Helena Fallon

Minsthorpe community college students starting project involving living without their phones. Hannah and Athan with Helena Fallon

They stepped up to the challenge, cutting their usage to a minimum week-by-week.

And two months on, they say the project has helped them switch off 
their screens in favour of more sleep and more face-to-face interaction with friends.

Helena Fallon, computing and digital media teacher, led on the project. She said: “We educate our students to use technology responsibly and encourage them to get the balance right between humanity and technology.

“We said we would 
reduce the time we all looked at our screens - and we 
have.

“Students say they have been socialising more with friends and are going to continue this for their health and wellbeing.”

The technology programme, called the Reconnect Project, aimed to 
get pupils thinking about their relationship with phones, social media, tablets and other digital technologies.

Year 8 students took part in the scheme, exploring today’s digital culture.

They looked at how technology can enhance lives as well as some of the issues including sleep deprivation and anxiety which can surround it.

Principal Ray Henshaw said: “It wasn’t a ‘tut tut’ or ‘this is harmful’. It was about trying to get them to realise there is a lot of other positive and productive things that they could do but are missing out on.”

The project encouraged staff and students not to always rely on technology and to remember they can switch off.