Digital device usage on students’ health

Published Date: 11 May 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Wan Rizal, Jalan Besar GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education what is the Ministry’s plan in balancing the benefits of digital device usage in schools as part of a national digital literacy programme and its effects on students’ health in light of a KKH-led study that finds new links between child screen time and emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Response

1.As part of a well-balanced school experience, the meaningful use of Personal Learning Devices (PLDs) can bring about positive educational outcomes, including deepened subject mastery and increased student engagement.

2.The KKH-led study looked into the effect of excessive screen-time on children 2-5 years. MOE is similarly concerned that device use should be age-appropriate. As part of National Digital Literacy Programme, Personal Learning Devices (PLDs) are only being rolled-out to secondary level students this year. We are currently studying the use of PLDs at the primary school level and how this might impact younger students.

3.For secondary students being equipped with PLDs, MOE has provided schools with guidance to ensure that the use of PLDs as part of the school’s instructional programme is balanced in relation to other activities and modes of learning. In addition, parents will able to set screen-time limits to ensure that their children do not spend excessive amounts of time using the device. These measures complement school’s efforts to empower students to utilise technology safely. MOE also provides students with a “Student Kit for Cyber Wellness and Learning with a PLD” to reinforce the Cyber Wellness knowledge and skills.

4. Parents play an important role in helping their child manage their screen time at home. MOE has developed Cyber Wellness resources in the MOE Parent Kit Website and two Parent Handbooks on Learning with PLDs to equip parents with strategies and resources for digital parenting.

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