Can teens go a week without technology?

Teacher Helena Fallon with pupils Hannah and Athan.
Teacher Helena Fallon with pupils Hannah and Athan.

High school pupils will challenge themselves to go without technology for a week.

Year 8 students at Minsthorpe Community College are taking part in a schools Reconnect project, which aims to get them thinking about their relationship with phones, social media, tablets and other technologies.

School principal Ray Henshaw said: “The programme of work gets students to reflect on how much of their time they spent online.

“It isn’t a ‘tut tut’ or ‘this is harmful’ but it is 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.”

During the next five weeks they will explore today’s digital culture, looking at how technology can enhance lives as well as the issues, such as sleep deprivation and anxiety, associated with it.

The scheme will finish with pupils, and staff, being encouraged to switch off their screens for a week and use the time to get involved in various offline activities.

Mr Henshaw said: “I think it will be difficult, for both staff and students, but I also think it will be illuminating.

“The idea is to get children to use and embrace technology but not to rely on it, and to highlight that it doesn’t have to be 24/7 and they can switch off.”

He added: “Everybody on social media is portraying their happy lives.

“And people can feel like they are missing out or can’t live up to that.

“Enjoy the moment itself instead of showing others.

“We don’t want technology to become detrimental.”

The Reconnect project explores questions including whether the internet, gaming and social media have changed the way people behave, how sleep, friendships and emotions can be affected by technology, and what is a good balanced between online and offline.

To find out more about the scheme, visit reconnect-me.org