Head’s Blog – To Ban or not to Ban (mobile phones….)

Oct 17

To Ban or not to Ban (mobile phones….)

The only batteries that need charging at the end of the day at Hanford, an independent prep school in Dorset, are the girls’ own internal batteries.  No need to plug in mobiles here as they simply haven’t been used.   We believe that childhood is gone in a flash, and who wants to spend that precious time with their nose in their phone when they could be running around with their friends, climbing trees, making dens and riding ponies.   Or perhaps playing board games, watching a film on a chilly winter’s night around the library fire, picking apples and pressing them to make juice, making a dress in Handwork or a witches hat for Halloween in the Art Barn.   All of these activities have taken place in the last week at Hanford, and many more besides.   No one has missed mobiles since they were quietly put aside in 2017 – not the girls and certainly not the staff who no longer have to deal with the arguments and upsets that go hand in hand with social media when in the hands of those too young to use it correctly.

So whilst the debate about whether mobiles have a place in schools, and boarding schools in particular, continues –  you may have seen one Head calling for ban in a letter to The Times recently and Childwise reports ‘The moment a child owns a mobile phone, it can be a challenge to monitor what (they are) accessing online because it’s such a private technology that most keep, literally, close to their chest’ – at Hanford we know a good thing when we see it.    Staff too, find they are using their phones far less. No frantic checking at breaktime but rather a decent conversation in the staff room.

 However no mobiles certainly doesn’t mean no contact.  Girls can call home whenever they have free time; they also write letters home at weekends, elaborately decorated with stickers and glitter pens, which will no doubt be cherished for years to come.  Emails are sent from laptops in the ICT suite and any parents wanting to speak to their daughter need only call the School Office.   Sometimes at Hanford we feel that looking backwards, towards aspects of a more traditional childhood and the benefits that brings in terms of happiness and mental health, we are actually a fair step ahead.   I like to think so anyway!

 

 

Hanford School-Hilary Phillips 2

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