Healthy mind in healthy body

We all know that the mobile phone has become an indispensable accessory for most of us, and one which can exercise significant and invasive control over our lives, unless we limit our own and our children’s use.

A recent survey by Childwise found that 57% of children aged between 7 and 16 always had their phone beside their bed and 44% felt "uncomfortable" if they were ever without a phone signal. There were 42% who said they kept their phone on them at all times and never turned it off. The average time spent on mobiles is three hours and 20 minutes per day, and the step up to secondary school at the age of 11 is still the point at which many children acquire a phone and ownership becomes "almost universal".

The concern is not only the amount of time spent on phones, YouTube and social media; it is the unfettered and unfiltered access to all sorts of potentially unsuitable and unsafe sites. The mobile phone is such a private form of technology that it is a real challenge for us as parents to monitor use. The following may be helpful, as you engage your child in discussion of healthy use:

‘OurPact’ Parental Control and Family Locator is highly recommended, for it allows you to discuss screen-time with your child and to agree access: https://ourpact.com/

This link to PCMag takes you to an article entitled ‘The Best Parental Control Software for 2020’: https://uk.pcmag.com/parental-control-monitoring/67305/the-best-parental-control-software

Linked to excessive screen-time are sleep-deprivation and a sedentary lifestyle. So please ensure that your child keeps their phone and any other wifi-enabled device downstairs at night, lest they come into school bleary-eyed and disengaged from their learning.

I was delighted to see all of our Year 7 girls playing in a netball tournament at school yesterday – in glorious sunshine at last! For ample exercise, team-games and sport are a great antidote to too much time spent staring at a phone or tablet. So, please encourage your child to get involved in the many activities at lunchtime or after lessons and to carry a love of sport beyond school.

As spring is on the way, it’s a perfect time to emphasise the many enjoyable benefits of healthy eating and nutrition, of sound, uninterrupted sleep and of outdoor exercise!

Best wishes

John Watson
Headmaster and Principal