Teenage mental health is one of the most critical social issues of our time.
One in four young Australians is currently experiencing mental health problems, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald. One in four Australian students also report being unhappy with their lives.
Suicide is now the biggest killer of young Australians - including teenagers - accounting for more deaths than road accidents.
Putting a focus on student wellbeing would be the best way to improve school results. Research shows that when students are unhappy they have trouble learning. Inversely, happy kids want to learn. With one quarter of young Australians unhappy, academically, we’re off to a terrible start.
There are people, such as the principal of the prestigious Sydney Grammar School, who claim that over-investment in technology in schools has been a scandalous waste of money and has had a negative impact upon discussion, debate and general learning.
There are other teachers who say screens have reinvigorated the classroom. One thing that doesn’t seem to be discussed is the effect of prioritising screen-focused learning over other modes of learning has on a child’s wellbeing.
Not that time spent on a screen is, in itself, a bad thing. But time on a screen, even for extra Maths homework, is time that that a child is not laughing, playing, drawing, cartwheeling, kicking the footy or doing things that we know are good for a young child’s mental health - things that will help build the resilience and social confidence needed to assist that child in navigating their teenage years ahead.