Guernsey Press

Screentime debate is a healthy one

THE ‘screentime’ debate goes on. As the island’s data protection commissioner, Brent Homan, argues on page 18 today, it’s not an easy matter to resolve.


The principal of The Ladies’ College, Daniele Harford-Fox, says that raising the concept of a smartphone ban for under-16s has seen her receive ‘nothing but support’.

The Education Committee president is unhappy at overuse of mobiles, has educational concerns and wants all to work harder to find a ‘balance’.

Now a US study has come up with some useful strategies to combat over-use of devices, and revealed a previously-hidden problem – the example set by parents. Limiting your own screen use, especially in front of children, can be quite effective.

Our example matters. People who would read books while they walked used to be, probably still are, considered most odd. Yet nobody looks twice at someone walking and scrolling, even while pushing a pram or buggy.

Mr Homan indicates how there is little to no chance of a ‘ban’ succeeding, but that continuing these discussions, considering the pros and cons, and seeking to manage smartphone usage in a positive and open way, can have both immediate and long-term benefits.

One day we might be horrified about what we’ve unthinkingly allowed to happen, when we should have been, as Mr Homan says, protecting our most precious resource – our children.