Wellbeing: Mobile Phones and Alcohol

Many of you may have read the article that appeared in the Examiner yesterday announcing the banning of mobile phones in Government Schools from the start of Term 2, 2020 – a portion of which is below.

“As of Term two next year the use of mobile phones by students will be banned in all state government schools. Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff announced the ban, which will apply to all students from primary school until Year 12.”

As you are aware this has been in place at Scotch Oakburn for quite some time, as was reported in the Examiner in June this year http://www.examiner.com.au/story/6245361/students-share-the-impact-of-losing-a-mobile-phone/.

Ultimately we want our students to be independent learners who can self-regulate and make good choices about how they use technology, realising that at times it can be a hindrance to their learning, to social interactions and their personal development. The addictive physical responses via hormones released by the brain as a consequence of some uses of technology are the same addictive responses as those from the use of tobacco and alcohol. It is therefore appropriate, as we learn more about these effects on developing brains, that we monitor and restrict the use of technology where we know that it has a detrimental effect on wellbeing.

Another wellbeing topic that appeared in the media recently is the consumption of alcohol by teenagers. In recent years the College has engaged the services of Paul Dillon to speak to our students, staff and parents about drugs and alcohol. Paul’s presentations are factual and non-judgemental and his manner and style ensure that our students eagerly look forward to his presentations. One message he has been pushing for some time is that the earlier young people are introduced to alcohol, the greater the risk of negative impacts on their health and wellbeing, regardless of whether that is in an adult-supervised environment or not. Recently research has emerged to support his experience-based position: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871619302881.

Learning, wellbeing, a sense of belonging and involvement in the broader life of the College, are inter-dependent and support each other in the holistic education of our students. Therefore, sound research findings are important in determining decisions and actions the College takes, especially in matters relating to student wellbeing.

Andy Müller