A study by a company called JCA, which runs school trips and outdoor adventure centres (i.e. has a vested interest in keeping kids away from computers and mobile devices) says that the use of social networking sites is leading to shorter attention spans in class and is making it harder for kids to concentrate or get good grades. The report also claims that parents are finding it harder to get kids to spend time at home alone studying because they would prefer to be interacting with friends on Facebook or Twitter.
The study, based on a poll of 500 teachers, also says that “rather than relying on life experiences, educational travel and face-to-face interaction with others, children are becoming obsessed with social networking sites.” Really? I would never have imagined this was happening? Do we really need another study to spell this out?
Moreover, where are the parents? Where are the boundaries? Yes, you can blame technology for this but ultimately it’s parents that are responsible. They could restrict access. They could insist on homework being done. They could stop trying to be “best friends” with their kids and start being parents.
Equally, schools could take stronger measures to ensure that mobiles aren’t sneaked into school or used on school premises. They could also impose stronger penalties for kids that don’t do as they are told at school.
What I would agree with is that these things aren’t as easy as they sound. The peer pressure to be on such sites is immense. As Kairen Cullen, as educational psychologist says: “non-participation (on social networks) can result in feeling excluded or even socially excluded.” Then again, we probably shouldn’t listen to any adult, especially psychologists, called “Kairen.”