Upper Primary, Secondary & JC Level – Bukit Panjang

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Can Games Like Pokemon Go Become A Major Distraction for Students?

Times have changed. Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days. Students have more reasons to be distracted, and research has shown that many students do, in fact, get distracted by their smart devices.

Although most local schools ban the use of mobile phones during lessons, students do still bring them to school. And whenever possible, they try to use their smart phones to text their friends, play games, or check emails. For most students, texting is the main activity. They do so to stay ‘connected’ or to ‘beat boredom’. They may be physically present in the classroom, but their minds are far far away. Once the bell rings, out comes the hand phone and the texting begins.

Needless to say, the use of mobile phones is even more rampant after school. With the launch of social games such as Pokemon Go, students have a strong reason to come together after school to ‘catch’ monsters and level up. Pokemon Go is heavily covered by the press, and it’s one of the most popular (not to mention profitable) apps ever produced. Instead of spending time on constructive activities such as revising or doing homework, students (especially those without adult supervision) are more likely to spend time on their mobile phones, trying to locate and catch Monsters.

Due to the growing popularity of games and other entertainment apps, there is a growing need for control over the use of mobile phones. Control can come in two forms – self-control and parental control.

Self-control seems to be the way to go, as we want students to bear more responsibility of their own actions. However, for younger students, this is almost always an uphill battle. Parents may have to intervene at first, and then gradually recede control to the students. How can this be achieved? Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Use of parental control software. – There is a kid’s mode in every smart device. Once enabled, the student can only access the apps that are available in this mode. To exit the mode, a PIN number is required.
  2. Limit access to the devices. – Pass the device to the student only during a specific time: e.g. 8 p.m to 9 p.m. If the student misbehaves during lessons, this privilege is revoked.
  3. Adult supervision. – Allow access to games like Pokemon Go only under adult supervision. Better still, play the game with the child and score some Parenting points!
  4. Set a good example. – If you play the game yourself and show that you lack self-control, then the child may just follow your footsteps.
  5. Have an agreement with the student. – Agree on a usage time frame with the child. If he violates the agreement, he’ll have to face the music. If he makes good on his promise, he will have access to the mobile device with less supervision.

So can games like Pokemon Go become MAJOR distractions for students.

Only if we allow it to.