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Junior School News: Week 7, Term 3, 2020

This Friday our new students will join in our buddy program with our current Year 12 students. This includes all of our Year 4 students and any new students in Years 5 and 6. It will be a great opportunity for our youngest students to mix with the leaders of our school and interact in an informal and pastoral way with some fun activities. On Friday 18 September, some our Junior School students are opting to take part in our annual social justice activity – the College Stayover (more of a stay late this year though). Students will be raising awareness and money for the Junior School charity of choice – Karinya House. It is wonderful for our Junior boys to support Mothers and babies in crisis. It also highlights the College’s commitment to the EREA Touchstone of Justice and Solidarity. Congratulations to Ms Cusack and Mr Monagle for the organisation of this event. If your son is interested in this after school event, please ask him to see Ms Cusack for more information.

On the same day as the College Stayover, Friday 18 September, we will have a mufti day as a fundraiser for the Home in Queanbeyan. The Home provides shelter and accommodation for people living with mental illness. Students are encouraged to bring in a gold coin and may wear non-offensive, neat casual clothes for the day.

Video Games and Phone Use – Just a quick note about video games and mobile phones. Quite regularly I send out a reminder to parents/carers about the dangers of students spending too much time on video games. Whilst video games can be beneficial in a lot of ways (friendship, resilience-building, self-esteem, etc.) they can also prove harmful. Some of the major drawbacks to too much video game time include students finding school boring compared to the thrill of video games, which can lead to non-engagement or even school refusal. We also see relationships between boys can be damaged, as the way they treat each other online and through headsets can be very different to how they treat each other face-to-face at school. This can then mean students come to school harbouring grudges caused by time online the night prior. These situations make our teachers’ jobs more difficult as they then need to spend part of their day ironing out issues between students when they really should be teaching.

Many of our Junior School students use mobile phones after school to assist with their travel or for emergencies. We have a strict rule in Junior School that once students are at school, phones are out of sight. We know that once students are on buses or at interchanges we do not have oversight over what they are accessing. We encourage parents to have an awareness of what your son/s are viewing or playing. Below are some tips for parents taken from the Australian Parents Council website.

Tips

Striking a balance, having a set of expectations and even a family plan for screen use are positive ways to start to navigate screen time use for kids. Screen time and usage will be different from family to family and again different for the ages of your children.

  • Install parental controls so what they are accessing is appropriate
  • Only use age-appropriate sites
  • Always have the device in an area where you are so you are able to see what they are doing
  • Put a time limit on your sessions, instilling the idea of developing a balance to tech use early
  • Avoid just-before-bed computer time as it can be stimulating and interrupt sleep

How much is too much? It’s sometimes hard to know whether your child’s increased online time and changes in behaviour are just developmental or whether there is a problem. Usually if you are observing that online time is interfering with other aspects of your or your child’s life, then it’s time for a discussion about expectations and time limits. Some behaviour changes to look out for:

  • general health and wellbeing neglected or reduced personal hygiene
  • isolated or withdrawn for long periods of time
  • appearing anxious or irritable when away from the computer
  • ongoing headaches, eye strain, sleep disturbance, excessive tiredness
  • obsession with particular websites or games
  • anger when being asked to take a break from online activity, negative changes in behaviour and declined interest in social activities like meeting friends or playing sport
  • a decline in academic performance and failing to complete schoolwork

David Kelly
Assistant Princiapl – Junior School

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