As many around the globe took note of World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 10th October, Felsted School championed a Digital Detox Day, in recognition of the rising level of adolescent mental health issues, and the apparent link with social media and digital addiction. As a school educating pupils from 4 to 18, Felsted has become more and more aware of the stresses and anxieties caused by children and staff being expected to be ‘on-line’ all the time, and has held similar in house trials over the past few years. Feedback on these trials has shown that many children find it ‘a relief’ for their phones to be restricted so they are clear of distractions and can get on with having real conversations.
So on Tuesday, all phones were switched off and there were no internal emails from 9am to 5.45pm. A group of Year 9s interviewed students later on in the day with an almost unanimous positive response; ‘it gave us a chance to breathe’, ‘we didn’t sit around at break scrolling through our social media feed, but took time to enjoy chatting with friends’, ‘it made us realise how much we use our electronics on a daily basis’. One teacher commented; ‘everyone seemed generally happier’ and another; ‘we managed to get out of our classrooms more than usual as we were not stuck sending and replying to emails’.