Dean of Students | Mr Damien Cuddihy

Recently, the College received feedback on a research project conducted on the “online lives of early adolescent boys”. We will provide a more detailed summary to the families that participated in the research at a later date but I would like to share some of the findings I found interesting with the wider community. 

  • 321 students from Years 7 to 10 were involved in the survey (on average, approximately 80 students per year level).
  • Most students spend an average of 3.5 hours online for school and an average of 3 hours per day for leisure. 
  • 34% of respondents lose sleep because of the internet.
  • 47% of respondents have caught themselves browsing when they are not really interested.
  • 36% of boys keep their phone next to their bed.
  • 40% of respondents have felt victimised by being called names online in the last month.
  • 30% of respondents admit to having victimised others by calling them names online in the last month. 
  • 67% of respondents say they have rules at home about how much time can be spent on the internet. 
  • 12% of respondents admit to ignoring parents when online.
  • 30% of respondents felt their parents ignore them when they are online.
  • 44% of respondents view online content that parents would not approve of.
  • 29% of respondents delete online viewing and search history.
  • 26% of respondents have set up secret social media profiles that parents don’t know about.

Various conclusions can be drawn from these statistics, which I will leave to the academics. However, I will draw your attention to a couple of quick items from the research. Our children notice and mimic our own online habits more than we think. Keeping phones next to beds and being distracted by devices during verbal conversations with our children are probably two areas, as the major role models for our children, we could have a greater awareness of. The research also found that time spent on the internet increases as the year level increases and internet use disturbing sleep also peaks in the Year 10 cohort. The group that spent the least amount of time with family and friends was Year 9.

Tomorrow is the final day of classes for Years 5 to 10. Students are required to attend school until 12.30pm in normal school uniform. It is important for all students to be present as much preparation has gone into bringing the school year to a close; it would be a shame if boys missed this and the Christmas Liturgy. I hope the boys take the opportunity to thank their teachers for their work and support during this year. Terrace is blessed with excellent teaching staff and I think it is important that the boys show their appreciation on the final day of classes.

As teachers we are truly blessed to spend so much special time with your boys at Terrace. Sharing this time of their lives, when they are both vulnerable and impressionable, gives us great responsibility but most importantly, great personal satisfaction that hopefully at the end of the day we can say we made a difference. I wish all our families a safe and enjoyable Christmas and I thank you for your ongoing support throughout 2019.