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Recharging our batteries? -Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 24th August 2016

August 24, 2016
Ballard School Headmaster's Blog batteries

Recharging our batteries?

Assuming you are having something of a holiday over the summer, how much time are you spending on your mobile device / computer? According to research published last week in the ‘I’ newspaper, we spend on average 9 hours a day looking at a screen (no wonder I am back to see the optician more frequently than ever before) and we check our ‘phones 200 times a day on average! Moreover, it seems that it is easier than ever to keep in touch and to be online as we have on average 7.4 internet devices per UK household.

I have to say that I find these figures extraordinary, albeit sobering. One figure with which I did feel empathy was the 80% of 18-24 year olds who feel anxious about not replying to emails, messages and calls quickly. Whilst I don’t quite fall into this age bracket (!), I do belong to a generation which feels that it is only polite to respond quickly to a query, enquiry, complaint or request. I am also holding onto another generational quirk (even though I know I am old-fashioned to do so – but it’s for my own good) and that is whenever I go abroad on holiday I turn off the mobile data. I argue to myself (despite the ready availability of Wi-Fi in the hotel and restaurant overseas) that it’s expensive to have the data roaming turned on. What I do know, however, is that it is healthy to turn off the email for a couple of weeks a year – and I’m trying not to access them after 9.00pm each evening for the rest of the year – and so I am trying to buck the trend in the research and reduce the hours in front of the screen.

A slightly more optimistic piece of research was in the Press recently (the Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph amongst many others) which indicated that whilst children who spend too much time on social media were doing less well academically, those who played online games might actually be boosting some academic skills.

A study by Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology suggests children who often use online social networks tend to perform less well in school than pupils who rarely use such sites. Researchers say youngsters regularly using sites such as Twitter and Facebook were more likely to fall behind in maths, reading and science – with these pupils likely to score 4% lower on average. The study also found that pupils who play online video games tended to perform better in school. Students who played online games almost every day scored 15 points above average in maths and reading tests and 17 points above average in science.

So, my suggestion is that you ‘recharge the batteries’ in your body by reading a book, contemplating the horizon, sleeping a little more and eating a better balanced diet whilst on holiday and that you don’t shout too much at the children for playing online games – although they, too, will also benefit from your health regime. In fact, don’t shout at all – be cool!

Ballard School sunshine New Milton Summer

Enjoy the Sunshine – Ballard School, August 2016

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here


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