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This article was contributed by Priory Group

Priory is an independent provider of behavioural care in the UK. It is organised into three divisions – healthcare, education and children’s services, and adult care services – which together support the needs of more than 30,000 people every year.

 

 

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When should technology be used during exam season?

Exam season can be a stressful time. The Priory Group, a provider of mental health treatment and therapy for young people, looks at ways in which technology could be used during revision

Parents often wonder how technology is helping or hindering their child as they prepare for and take their exams. Being mindful of your child’s technology use during exam season can help ensure that it doesn’t have a negative impact on them. It is possible to make the most of certain aspects of technology where it can be helpful, but to do this, it is important to think carefully and plan how it is used during the exam period.

What do parents need to know?

Technology can provide useful revision tools.

Young people often use educational apps, websites and videos when revising. Some young people may even have revision schedules set up on their smartphones. Decide with your child which revision sessions should involve technology and which should remain ‘tech free’.

Banning your child from technology may not be the answer.  

Revision can feel quite lonely. Technology allows your child the opportunity to stay in touch with friends and break a long day of revision. Encouraging your child to use their devices in short bursts, rather than constantly, allows them to stay connected to their friends whilst minimising the impact on their wellbeing.

Set clear boundaries… and stick to them

You may decide to avoid devices at the table during meal times and instead spend more time talking, which can be a great stress-reliever. Involve your child in the process of setting these kinds of boundaries to help avoid misunderstandings and arguments. Try to stay firm on any agreed boundaries.

Technology can provide your child with light relief at a stressful time.

It’s worth considering that technology can provide a well-needed distraction by offering young people a bit of amusement when they are overwhelmed with studying. You could look through old photos together or funny video clips to help them unwind.

Think about your own technology use.

Work at spending time as a family without checking notifications or reading messages. Book in time together during their revision breaks — spending time as a family can strengthen your relationship, giving your child a chance to lean on you for support.

How can you help regulate your child’s technology use?

  • Stop smartphones from affecting sleep - phones emit a blue light that can delay the release of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin by as much as three hours. This can leave your teen feeling like its 5am when it’s actually 8am – not good if they’ve got a morning exam. Make sure that they don’t sleep next to their phone and that they have a proper alarm clock, so there is no excuse for needing the device by their bed.
  • Keep TVs, tablets and laptops out of the bedroom - watching TV or streaming on a laptop or other device can stimulate the brain before bed, which can make it tough to get to sleep. Instead, encourage them to do a relaxing activity such as reading before bed.
  • Keep the phone outside of their revision space – as phones can be distracting, and encourage us to process information quickly, they can be detrimental to the learning process. Make sure that they are kept out of the room when your child is in a ‘tech free’ study session, where they can access them during their breaks instead.

Is social media a good idea on exam results day?

If your child doesn’t achieve what they expected, comparing themselves to others can leave them feeling disheartened. Even if they do well, such comparisons can leave them feeling that they aren’t as good as others. If your child posts on social media about their success, thriving off ‘likes’ offers short term happiness. Your child could become dependent on this validation and grow reliant on external approval. Encourage them to reflect on their own results and what they mean for them. Emphasise their expertise and skills and the purpose they have in their own life. Having a strong sense of wellbeing and worthiness can help mediate the potential effects of comparing one’s own results to others’ on social media

The likelihood is that your child will want to share exam results with their friends. Rather than telling them they must not use social media you could come up with a plan together.

Who will they want to contact and how?

How do they think they would feel finding out how others have done, if they are not happy with their own results?

Are there any social media platforms that are best avoiding on the day?

*The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

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