Unplug this Easter

Unplug this Easter

From the Leadership Team 

Recently the College hosted a Parent Information Evening with guest speaker, Brett Lee, former Queensland Police Officer, and detective in the field of Child Exploitation. Brett now works with schools and community groups to provide education on safe and responsible internet use. Encouraging our young people towards safe and responsible use of digital technology is such an important topic for us to be considering in this current age. You can access a recording of this must-see presentation here. 

We currently live in the technology age where more than 4.3 billion people across the globe use the internet and as a result, we have never been more widely connected. Social media connects families and friends across the world and COVID-19 certainly highlighted the wonderful opportunities that social media platforms offer each of us for connecting socially, educationally, and even professionally as we overcome the barrier of distance and separation. It is not all bad – we received extremely positive feedback from families with loved one’s inter-state or overseas last year on the ability to connect in via livestream to many of our end of year events.

However, despite the opportunities for connection that technology and social media provides, our society more widely has moved from a ‘we’ society – ‘we are all in this together’- to an ‘I’ society – ‘I am free to be myself’. One of the consequences of this ‘I society,’ has been the social isolation that many in our society feel (Sacks, 2020). I guess one of the weaknesses of digital connection is the fact that it does not involve face-to-face contact or the vulnerable intimacy of face-to-face connection. The immediacy of digital forms of communication has made it a default form of communication and a constant distraction for many young people today.

On average, teenagers in America spend between 7 and 9 hours a day watching a screen (Sacks, 2020).  Without doubt, this is having a profound impact on our young people as technology takes the place of face-to-face connection. Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook with his wife Priscilla, published an open letter written for their daughter August, explaining why they felt it was important for her to make time to go outside and play, because childhood is magical. This example is simply highlighting that even those who have created these digital platforms, have also identified the associated risks of their use.

Genesis staff are currently adopting a Staff Email Charter which is a set of guidelines that aims to help us actively reduce the number of emails sent and received. Therefore, providing more time for core business; reducing the distraction throughout the day; supporting work/home harmony and in certain instances, finding more effective methods of communication. I also recently read of a family that agreed to have one day per week without digital technology and social media. They called it their Shabbat … the Sabbath, the Hebrew word for cease and rest. They took this time to disconnect digitally but reconnect through face-to-face communication and quality time together.

As Easter approaches, we are reminded of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of Jesus Christ’s life was to offer himself as a sacrifice for our wrongdoing and in turn give us a fresh start and new beginning. But as we look at how Jesus lived life, it was all about connection and relationship with people and his father God. As we break across the Easter weekend to remember the life and sacrifice of Jesus, could I also encourage Genesis families to consider taking a break from digital technology and social media for a day or two, making an effort to do things that help us reconnect on a face-to-face level with those around us.

I wish our Genesis community a very special and refreshing Easter break and trust that you will find quality time to connect with family and friends, face-to-face.


Paul Sterling