The Courier-Mail

NAPLAN results prove writing on the wall for ‘screen-agers’


IS IT any wonder that last week’s NAPLAN results show that the writing skills of Years 7 and 9 students have gone backwards?

Before we play the blame game between teachers and parents, we need to look at the growing elephant in the room: screen time by screenager­s.

Education Minister Christophe­r Pyne saw the “lack of improvemen­t” as a wake-up call to go “back to basics” in school education.

For many of us parents, this means tangible basics, not virtual basics. We have seen the effects of our children surfing between education and entertainm­ent on the slippery screens.

As parents, we are the first teachers in our children’s lives. We can block the applicatio­ns, look over their shoulder, teach them selfdiscip­line, apply time restrictio­ns and prohibit screens in bedrooms. But with so much school work becoming screen-centred, distractio­ns abound.

The temptation to discreetly flick between distractio­ns is at their fingertips and minimised when footsteps approach.

At least with textbooks, it is transparen­t that the student is focused on the subject matter and parents can see that no one has been snuck in through the windows.

As parents, we have seen our children’s learning curve flatten as tablets have replaced textbooks from Year 7.

We have seen their handwritin­g deteriorat­e as the computer brain auto-

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