On the home straight.
So here we are three weeks or so from the end of term and already things are beginning to unravel. Now call me old school but when did a trip to Alton Towers constitute ‘an educational visit’? Yep, not sure I know either. Still seeing all our students had every single lesson taught online during the various lockdowns at least we can’t be accused of allowing pupils to ‘slip through the cracks’!
I read a very telling article today about pastoral care in education wherein a Headteacher was advocating the removal of smartphones during the school day for all year groups up to and including year 11. The reasons for this seemingly draconian point of view was their belief that these are portals to rampant misogyny, horrendous sexual politics, horrifying pornography as well as access to material beyond their emotional capability whilst creating a biological dependency nurtured by the constant need for affirmation propagated by social media rather than a positive tool for 21st-century interaction and furtherment.
Where do you stand, dear reader?
As someone dealing with ‘yoof’ everyday I constantly bemoan the fact that their faces are buried in their screens and that despite constant ‘education’ their sexual politics seem to be getting worse. The stories of slut-shaming and stealthing are seemingly unstoppable for a generation sexualised by their devices which have been used as stand-in babysitters or comforters for years by parents seemingly passive to the mental damage that is being inflicted in their children’s rooms most nights. We’ll look back in 40 years and hang our heads in shame for allowing this to happen.
The flip side to this is that some students have been liberated by their access to huge online resources and groups that help them celebrate the extraordinary world they live in and that also make them want to ensure it is a place for their children and their children’s children. But they tend to be the ones that know when to put the phone down…
If any of you are approached by your son or daughter looking for a new phone this week, say “Yes, of course, but the price is I look at your browsing history for the last month”. I would be interested in the responses you may receive.
Enough of this ranting onto the good stuff. Some great sounds this week. Firstly Josh Ritter having his Dylan/Velvets moment, then the most extraordinary cover of two extraordinary songs by the much-missed Richie Havens, one of the greatest artists I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live and finally a recently discovered joy courtesy of a good friend to this column Phil F – Amythyst Kiah, the new Yola – discuss?
New to me