Home » Resolutions » CREATION OF A POLICY RELATED TO SCREEN USE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS ON PEI

CREATION OF A POLICY RELATED TO SCREEN USE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS ON PEI

Resolution Number: 2024-4
Submitted by: Spring Park Home and School Association; West Kent Home and School Association

RECOGNIZING the incredible efforts of our dedicated teachers, both parents and educators agree on the monumental work teachers undertake for the betterment of our children’s education. Despite the challenges presented by the rapidly evolving technological landscape, teachers strive to provide the best possible learning environment, and

RECOGNIZING the evolving landscape of educational technology through the permeation of screen-based entertainment and education options alongside the introduction of smartboards and WiFi enabled classrooms, technology has outpaced policy, creating a need for updated and consistent guidelines across Island primary schools that address the current realities of screen use in education. See Appendix A for examples of policy catching up to technology.

WHEREAS      PEI youth currently accumulate roughly 8 hours/day of recreational screen time1, which
is 4 times higher than Canadian public health recommendations, and which negatively impacts their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to learn2; although much of this screen use takes place outside of school hours, it highlights the need to ensure that school-related screen use is maximally effective while minimizing the likelihood of harms, and

WHEREAS      three-quarters of Canadian parents and one-third of students are concerned about students’ social media use and time spent online7, and

WHEREAS      reports from the Quebec National Institute of Public Health3, the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network4, and Departments of Education5-6 in other jurisdictions have highlighted the impacts of school-related screen use, as well as offering guidance on ways to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of school-related screen use (See examples in Appendices), and

WHEREAS      the Canadian Pediatric Society7, Canada’s Food Guide8, and the Sedentary Behaviour Research4 recommend avoiding the use of screen-based devices while eating, and the Canadian Pediatric Society encourages parents to “Advocate for schools, child care centres and after-school programs to consider developing their own plan for digital literacy and screen use” 7, and

WHEREAS      other jurisdictions in Canada9 and abroad10 have begun to institute policies to limit the harms and maximize the benefits of school-related screen use, including Quebec and

WHEREAS      Prince Edward Island does not currently have policies to limit the harms and maximize the benefits of school-related screen use;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEI Home and School Federation requests the Public Schools Branch Board of Trustees and Minister of Education and Early Years to implement specific policies regarding the appropriate use of screens in Island primary schools with consideration of the historical shift toward interactive technology usage in classrooms and acknowledging the dedication of teachers and their commitment to adapting instructional methods to the ever-changing technological landscape.

 

 

APPENDIX 1 – Examples of technology moving faster than policy

For reference when considering the value of creating policy around screen use in primary schools:

Social Media and Online Privacy:

  • Technological Advancement: The rapid rise of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the mid-2000s allowed individuals to share personal information, photos, and updates instantly with a global audience.
  • Policy Lag: Privacy policies and regulations struggled to keep pace with the evolving landscape, leading to concerns about data breaches, unauthorized use of personal information, and the misuse of social media for cyberbullying.

Autonomous Vehicles:

  • Technological Advancement: The development of autonomous or self-driving vehicles has advanced significantly in recent years, with companies like Tesla, Google’s Waymo, and others conducting extensive testing and deploying semi-autonomous features in consumer vehicles.
  • Policy Lag: Regulations and policies governing the use of autonomous vehicles on public roads have not kept up with the pace of technological innovation. Questions about liability, safety standards, and ethical considerations remain largely unaddressed, leading to challenges in widespread adoption.

ChatGPT:

  • Models like ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, leverage advanced natural language processing and machine learning techniques to generate human-like text responses based on input prompts. These models have shown significant improvements in understanding context, generating coherent responses, and performing a wide range of language-related tasks.
  • Policy Lag: Ethical Use and Bias: The rapid progress in AI language models has raised concerns about ethical use, potential biases in generated content, and the need for responsible deployment. Policymakers face challenges in developing comprehensive guidelines to address issues such as misinformation, biased language, and the potential for malicious use of AI-generated content.
  • Legal and Accountability Frameworks: As AI systems become more sophisticated, the lack of clear legal frameworks and accountability mechanisms poses challenges. Questions about liability for AI-generated content, accountability for unintended consequences, and ensuring transparency in AI decision-making remain areas where policies are still evolving.

 

APPENDIX 2 – Sedentary Behaviour Research Network Recommendations

A healthy school-day includes:

  • Breaking up periods of extended sedentary behaviour with both scheduled and unscheduled movement breaks
    • At least once every 30 minutes for ages 5-11 years.
    • At least once every hour for ages 12-18 years.
    • Consider a variety of intensities and durations (e.g., standing, stretching breaks, moving to another classroom, active lessons, active breaks).
  • Incorporating different types of movement (e.g. light activities that require movement of any body parts, and moderate to vigorous activities that require greater physical effort) into homework whenever possible, and limiting sedentary homework to no more than 10 minutes per day, per grade level. For example, in Canada this means typically no more than 10 minutes per day in grade 1, or 60 minutes per day in grade 6)1.
  • Regardless of the location, school-related screen time should be meaningful, mentally or physically active, and serve a specific pedagogical purpose that enhances learning compared to alternative methods. When school-related screen time is warranted:
  • Discourage media-multitasking in the classroom and while doing homework.
  • Avoid screen-based homework within an hour of bedtime.
  • Replacing sedentary learning activities with movement-based learning activities (including standing) and replacing screen-based learning activities with non-screen-based learning activities (e.g., outdoor lessons), can further support students’ health and wellbeing.

How to Implement These Recommendations2:

Educators, school administrators, policy makers, parents/guardians, caregivers, physicians and healthcare providers can implement these recommendations using the Four M’s approach:

  • Manage sedentary behaviour.
    • See recommendations above.
  • Encourage Meaningful screen use.
    • Prioritize face-to-face interactions over screen use.
    • Use screens when they are the best pedagogical tool for the job and likely to enhance learning.
    • Prioritize screens for mental and physical engagement, rather than for passive viewing.
    • Turn screens off when not in use, including background TV or videos while doing school or homework.
    • Avoid screen use during meal and snack times.
    • Avoid using screens as the default method for content delivery or classroom management.
    • Encourage students to review and self-regulate their screen use, and plan time for outdoor play and physical activity.
  • Educators, healthcare providers, parents and caregivers should Model healthy and meaningful screen use.
  • Monitor for signs of problematic screen use and follow-up with a physician or healthcare provider if concerns arise. Signs of problematic screen use can include:
    • Complaints about being bored or unhappy without access to technology.
    • Difficulty accepting screen time limits.
    • Screen use that interferes with school, family activities, sleep, physical activity, offline play, or face-to-face interactions.
    • Negative emotions following time spent playing video games, texting or using social media.

2Adapted with permission from the Canadian Paediatric Society (Canadian Paediatric Society, 2019).

Source: https://www.sedentarybehaviour.org/school-related-sedentary-behaviour-recommendations/

 

 

APPENDIX 3 – Recommendations from the Quebec National Institute of Public Health (translated via Google Scholar)

“It is generally recommended to limit screen time in class and in services offered before or after school, to take frequent breaks when using them and to incorporate movement during breaks in order to limit sedentary behaviors to school.

Screens should not be the default method of teaching and classroom management. Rather, they should be used when they improve teaching and learning. More specifically, their use should be meaningful, active and serve an educational objective.

Particular attention should be paid to lighting, ergonomics and posture when using screens in the classroom.

The analysis of the recommendations suggests ways to improve consideration of the risks linked to the use of screens in schools: define and consider all the different types of uses carried out in schools, adapt the recommendations according to the types of screens, devices and the age of the students, consider the question of cumulative screen time at school among others.

The recommendations identified in the literature are consistent with the approach to health promotion in schools that currently prevails in Quebec, namely the ÉKIP reference. In this context, this referent represents a supporting conceptual anchor for the development of an approach to reducing health risks associated with the use of screens in a school context and the development of a reference framework integrating a public health perspective.”

Source: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/en/node/658031

 

 

APPENDIX 4 – References

  1. Government of PEI. “COMPASS PEI Survey 2022-2023”. https://www.livewellpei.ca/node/377
  2. Tremblay, Mark S., et al. “Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines for children and youth: an integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep.” Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism41.6 (2016): S311-S327.
  3. Institut National de Sante Publique du Quebec. Analyse des recommandations en matière de réduction des risques sur la santé associés à l’utilisation des écrans en contexte scolaire. (2023). https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/3425
  4. Saunders, Travis J., et al. “International school-related sedentary behaviour recommendations for children and youth.” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity19.1 (2022): 39. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12966-022-01259-3
  5. Virginia Department of Education. Digital Devices in the Classroom: Health and Safety Guidelines. [cited 2021 Oct 25]. Available from: https://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/virtual_learning/digital-devices-infographic.pdf
  6. Maryland Department of Health. Health and Safety Best Practice Guidelines: Digital Devices; 2019. p. 1.
  7. Canadian Pediatric Society Digital Health Task Force. “Digital media: Promoting healthy screen use in school-aged children and adolescents”. (2019): https://cps.ca/en/documents/position/digital-media.
  8. Government of Canada. “Canada’s Food Guide; Take Time To Eat”.[cited 2025 Jan 17]. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/be-mindful-of-your-eating-habits/take-time-to-eat/
  9. Sidhartha Banerjee. Quebec students forbidden from using cellphones in classrooms after winter break. The Canadian Press. (2023) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/cellphone-ban-quebec-new-year-1.7069440.
  10. Felicity Caldwell. What students will and won’t be allowed to do with phones at school next year. Brisbane Times. (2023). https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/what-students-will-and-won-t-be-allowed-to-do-with-phones-at-school-next-year-20231121-p5elm6.html

 

 

Destination:Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Public Schools Branch


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