One of Australia’s leading child psychologists Michael Carr-Gregg wants to see all smartphones banned from our primary schools, warning that social media and the internet means teachers are caring for “the most vulnerable generation in the history of Australia”.
Speaking at the Positive Schools conference this week, Dr Carr-Gregg said despite the widespread acknowledgement of the importance of mental health issues, youth anxiety and depression are now worse than at any other time in our history.
“The general consensus is that one in seven primary school kids have mild to moderate anxiety or depression and one in four in secondary school kids,”
“We have these (smartphones) that weigh 155g and run through the lives of virtually every single young person.”
“I don’t think kids under 13 should be on social media and I don’t think kids under 13 need a smartphone. And I would love a school… to stand up and say no — if you are in a primary school, the only phone you are allowed to bring are in fact dumb phones (one that can’t connect to the internet).”
Dr Carr-Gregg said new technology offers a range of benefits, but children need to be taught how to use it in safely to avoid cyber- bullying and online pornography.
“There is a tendency for parents to outsource the responsibility for the bringing up of their children to teachers and I think that has got to stop,” he said.
“They need to recognise they had all the fun of procreation, now is the time to step up to the plate.”