The Benefits of Boarding School: Navigating Teen Social Media Use
Over consumption of social media or devices is not confined to teenagers, I know – believe me I’ve sat with friends and watched on in bewilderment as they scroll, message, engage with their ‘phone’ and all the while I’m sitting in front of them. It’s maddening…. But it’s also really sad.
So in an era dominated by the digital realm where adults have trouble putting their phones down, concerns about the impact of social media on teenagers continue to grow. The NSW Government has recently banned mobile phones completely during school hours (hooray!).
Boarding schools, with their structured environments and often stringent social media use policies, offer a much sought after solution to address these concerns and in doing so, provide a host of benefits for teenage development.
One of the primary advantages of boarding schools in relation to social media use is the establishment of healthy boundaries. Our young boarders are at a crucial stage of identity formation, and the constant barrage of social media can hinder the process. Boarding schools, by regulating and restricting access to social media, create an environment where students can focus on personal growth, building real-world relationships, and honing essential life skills.
One student I recently interviewed for our Summer Series of Destination Boarding (the podcast) told me that her and her ‘boarding sisters’ really love handing the phones in of an evening. Off they go to each other’s rooms, play around with makeup, style up hair do’s for their friends, give each other facials and the like… they talk. They laugh. They gather.
It is in gathering that boarding schools foster a sense of community and camaraderie among students. With limited access to social media, boarders are encouraged to engage in face-to-face interactions, forging deep and meaningful connections with their peers. These connections often extend beyond the school years, creating a network of relationships that prove invaluable in the students’ future personal and professional lives.
Another benefit is the promotion of a healthy work-life balance. Social media, with its addictive nature, can lead to a constant need for validation and comparison. Boarding schools provide a structured daily routine that includes academic studies, extracurricular activities, and designated downtime. This balance not only ensures the students’ academic success but also helps them develop time-management skills and the ability to enjoy leisure without the constant need for digital stimulation.
We know that boarding schools equip teenagers with essential life skills, such as effective communication, conflict resolution, and self-discipline. In an environment where social media is restricted, students learn to express themselves verbally, navigate conflicts without the shield of a screen, and manage their time responsibly. These skills are invaluable in the real world, where face-to-face interactions and effective communication are critical for personal and professional success.
While social media can be a powerful tool for communication and information sharing, its unregulated use can have detrimental effects on teenage development. Boarding schools, by implementing restrictions on social media use, provide a controlled environment where teenagers can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. The benefits extend far beyond the school years, shaping well-rounded individuals equipped to face the challenges of the ever-evolving digital landscape while valuing genuine human connections.