Children and technology use

Posted on 8th Nov 2019 in School News, Online learning, Technology, Which School?

Dina Mallett, Headmistress of Cameron House School in London, advocates safe and effective screen time...

There are many schools of thought about children and technology use but at the centre of the Venn diagram of all of the contradictory and controversial dos and don’ts is the fact that technology exists: it is present and it will play a huge part in our children’s future.

We have been made very aware of the negative impact of screen time on children and of the correlation between social media and poor mental health. With this in mind, it would be very easy to keep children as far away from this danger but we cannot hide our children away from the online world, as advised by some, because it poses a threat. The thing is, so does climbing trees and crossing roads; and just as I would not leave a small child unattended with a pair of sharp scissors, neither would I leave them alone with unlimited access to the internet. What we must do is teach children to use technology safely to give them access to today’s and tomorrow’s world, and accept that technology is a wonderful tool for learning.

It is the responsibility of schools to ensure that this ‘tool’ is used safely. As a preparatory school, our modus operandi is to prepare our children for life beyond their primary phase of education; and this includes ensuring that they are up to date and ready for the technological world with the knowledge of how to navigate their way safely. It has been said again and again that the jobs that some of our children will have as adults do not even exist right now! The world moves at a rapid pace and our children must not be left behind. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, stated, “The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”

At Cameron House School our children are well versed in both the skills of computing and online safety. The impressive projects and creations developed in our fantastic ‘Robotics Club’ are testament to the benefits of teaching and learning programming. Alongside reference books, our pupils from as young as Year 2 use the internet in school for independent research once they have been given the guidance of how to do so successfully. Our PSHE programme ensures that our children are taught how to use the internet safely and wisely, that they are aware of the existence of CEOP and, as they should with any worry, the importance of ‘telling an adult’ should they ever be faced with a technology issue.

It is important to consider how and why your children are using technology at home and for how long. Useful tips for parents include:

  • Setting time limits for technology use.
  • Having a family computer/tablet rather than children having their own – it is easier for a child to accept it being taken away if it is not their personal possession.
  • Monitor and encourage usage in a communal space rather than bedrooms.
  • Ask your child what they know about keeping safe online.

Further information about staying safe online can be found at:

This article first appeared in the 2020 edition of Which School. You can read the e-guide here: