Screens, Smartphones and Social Media: Tools, Not Tyrants
The science about what screens and social media do to us and our daughters and strategies for healthy use.
Earlier this month, Nicola Morgan, award-winning author of Blame My Brain, The Teenage Guide to Life Online and The Teenage Guide to Stress spoke to the girls and parents at St George’s School, Edinburgh, about how we can balance our use of smartphones and other screens to live our lives well online.
She was keen to tell the girls that she was not going to lecture them and tell them that their phones are bad for them, and indeed recognised the value in much that we might be doing when we are ‘on our phones’. She did ask us, however, to reflect on the things that we might not be doing if we were checking our social media every few minutes: the face to face contact with friends that is so essential to human well-being; time spent out of doors; physical activity; reading for pleasure and other hobbies; time when we just let our minds wander and allow ourselves to be creative.
She did speak too of the effect that the presence of a phone or other screen can have on concentration and of the potential for addiction that is embedded in the way that much software is designed.
There was also a strong message for adults about the way in which we should model the behaviour we would like to see in young people.
We are all aware of the impact on well-being and the effect on mental health that over-dependence on phones and social media can have. This year St George’s is running a whole school initiative focused on the use and effects of technology in this area. Over the past few weeks, we have been working with pupils, staff and parents, surveying them about habits and attitudes towards social media and phones. We are looking at ways in which we can work with our pupils and their families to help manage their relationship with social media healthily.
Further resources written by Nicola Morgan on this topic can be found at