Teacher Proposes A 12-Hour School Day To Break Children’s Smartphone Addictions

Andrew O’Neill, head teacher of All Saints Catholic College in West London, aims to combat “100 percent phone addiction” among students by extending the school day to 12 hours, from 7 am to 7 pm. Concerned about smartphones’ negative effects on students’ well-being, he’s uncovered incidents like cyberbullying and catfishing during phone confiscations.

Despite an existing ban on phones since 2016, O’Neill believes it hasn’t effectively addressed addiction. He’s particularly concerned about declining social skills and emotional intelligence among students, who prioritize online interactions over face-to-face communication. He advocates for parental involvement in monitoring online activities and promoting a healthy screen-time balance.

Inspired by his childhood, O’Neill envisions a return to simpler times where outdoor play trumped screen time. He hopes to recreate this environment at All Saints Catholic College, fostering a childhood free from digital distractions.

Beyond addressing phone addiction, O’Neill emphasizes instilling values of responsibility and accountability in students. He calls for collaboration between schools, parents, and social services to ensure students’ safety and well-being in a digital world.

The initiative reflects a shift in education paradigms, prioritizing student welfare and holistic development. O’Neill hopes this approach will equip the next generation with the resilience needed to thrive in an ever-changing world.