The role of health educators in mitigating health risk from increasing screen time in schools and at home
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Contemporary health educators in schools are responsible for promoting the health of individual students, as well as a healthy school environment. The ongoing push for increasing device use in schools, which is underpinned by the information and communications technology (ICT) capability requirements of the new Australian Curriculum, can potentially lead to health risks for students that may not be well understood by students, schools and families. Widespread increasing implementation of ICT may outpace supporting research into risks. While schools tend to focus on cyber safety in relation to risks from ICT use, limited consideration is given to the other potential health risks of sustained screen time, despite the robust and growing body of research linking sustained screen time to a range of health issues. This paper outlines a crucial practical role for health educators in mitigating health risk to students from increasing screen time in schools and at home. Schools need to communicate the importance of balance in screen time, leading by example and fostering protective partnerships with students, their families and broader community support mechanisms.
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