20 August, 2021


My message to students over the years has repeatedly been that without them we have no school; their welfare is our responsibility – they are our raison d’etre.

That overarching responsibility and care is born out in many ways, for example: the quality programs that the College provides; the focus on developing the whole person; the pastoral care structures we put in place to support students; the variety of co-curricular activities so that each student can find their niche; our focus on inclusivity and respecting diversity; and the list goes on.

On occasion, the responsibility we have for the care of our students, the decisions we make and the expectations we have are at odds with what our students think or want to hear. For example, TCE students having to sign in and out and letting us know their whereabouts, not allowing students to use their mobile phones during the school day and the ceasing of listening to music during class time.

As a parent myself, I empathise with all parents in the many things we deal with in raising our child(ren). The wise words, “choose your battles”, resonate strongly with me, as I am sure they do with you. With that in mind, the findings from a recent study by the University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and recently published in The Lancet, https://apple.news/ArLW_-2hmSHWbbXrb1ipGxg found the following adverse effects of recreational screen time on our young people:

• The study found girls began to have mental health impacts after two hours of recreational screen time per day.
• The effects took twice that time to become noticeable in boys.
• Balancing screens with physical activity is the best solution.

I am not preaching here or telling you how to raise your child(ren); however, surely for the health and wellbeing of our young people, recreational screen time is one of those battles that we must apply our joint efforts and energies to and the earlier the parameters around screen time are applied the easier it is. Many of our students won’t like the message, and many will have already heard similar findings from other studies and chosen to disregard them. However, there is nothing more important than the health and wellbeing of our children/students and that is an element that the College holds paramount in our myriad responsibilities.

Andy Müller

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