Screentime or Screenuse?

It has been difficult to miss the current discussions around the apparent invasive nature of technology on our lives and general-well-being, culminating in the publication by the UK Chief Medical Officer of “Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing: a systematic map of reviews”

And if you have followed the social media discussions on this for the last 18 months there has been pragmatic, research-led commentary from champions like Sonia Livingstone; Alicia Blum-Ross; Cath Knibbs, to name a few, that have helped massively in shaping our thinking around this subject.

But Screentime? Is this what we really mean?

Professor Livingstone has long evidenced that “context” is everything so how do we shift the conversation from setting guidelines to changing attitudes. How do we flip the focus from parents’ policing to parental modelling and placing the child at the centre to determine the best strategies for themselves?

We were seminal partners with UKCIS in shaping the framework “Education for a Connected World” which is heavily referenced in the #CMO report and are now resourcing every single one of the 339 statements in the framework to make available via a new web platform.

This new free platform (currently code-named EVOLVE) is for any adult who wants to shape and support children and young people’s online lives.

Let’s choose a relevant “screentime” statement and how we tackle it in EVOLVE

The impact of technology on sleep is a big discussion right now. One of the Education For a Connected World statements for 10-12 year olds in the Health Wellbeing and Lifestyle strand reads:

"I can describe ways technology can affect healthy sleep and can describe some of the issues"

Evolve then provides:

  • Context
  • Research evidence
  • Questions to facilitate the right environment for discussion on the topic
  • Expected outcomes
  • An activity
  • Resource to support the activity
  • Links to other UK curricula
  • Supporting resources
  • Professional development further reading

Here’s a sneak preview of how that looks in the EVOLVE tool

We feel this approach:

  • Prepares professionals to discuss the issues through research-led information
  • Sets the right environment for children to explore the issues through open and closed questioning
  • Uses activities that allow young people to form strategies based on their own experiences
  • Provides opportunities to explore issues further for both young people and professionals
  • All in a mechanism that allows the user to select information and resource based on their own experience and role

EVOLVE will be released for all professionals to use this Autumn 2019.

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