Monthly Archives: February 2016

RETNS Proclamation for a New Generation

Proclamation Day 2016

In preparation for Proclamation Day 2016, when all schools will raise the National Flag, schools have been invited to draw up their own Proclamation for a New Generation. Using the original proclamation as a foundation, schools reflect, through their own unique Proclamation, their own values, ideals and aspirations of the present generation. In RETNS we highly value equality, religious freedom, care for the environment and animal rights, and these values, among others, are reflected in the RETNS Proclamation, which has been composed by sixth class with contributions from every child in the school.

To read our RETNS Proclamation click below.

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Excessive Internet Use – A Real Problem

Excessive Internet Use – A Real Problem.

While the internet is a powerful learning, recreational and social media tool, much has been written about the damaging effects to children (and adults!) of spending excessive amounts of time online. A psychologist working in this area, Dr Kimberly Young, has identified symptoms which could be indicative of excessive internet use, such as

  • Agitation and anger when interrupted online
  • Irritable if not allowed online
  • Loses track of time online
  • Sacrifices sleep to spend time online
  • Neglects fundamental parts of their daily lives to spend time online, such as homework, hobbies or chores
  • Prefers to spend time online instead of with family and friends

‘The Challenge of Excessive Internet Use’


When these symptoms appear it is time to take a good look at the child’s time spent online, and seek help if necessary, but much can be done to prevent a child reaching that stage. The authors of website have the following advice.


Preventing Excessive Internet Use – The 5:1 Rule

We have conducted extensive research into excessive internet use, the habits amongst children in Ireland and the optimum time spent online in order to come up with an appropriate guideline in this regard. As a result, we are pioneering the 5:1 Rule; 5 hours of real world activities to 1 hour of ‘screen time’.

In order to use the 5:1 Rule, it is important to understand what we are referring to when we say ‘screen time’; the time spent looking at a laptop, PC, TV, smart phone, tablet, iPod etc. All of these devices involve ‘blue light’ technology, to which children should not be overexposed. It causes suppression of the hormone, melatonin, which is also known as the ‘sleep hormone’. Excessive exposure to this ‘blue light’ will disturb your child’s sleep patterns. It is highly recommended that screens are turned off an hour before bedtime, and that there are no screens in the bedroom. Experts advise that ‘blue light’ exposure at or around bedtime impedes upon sleep quality, and can have a significant impact on the child’s learning capacity, by affecting memory consolidation (the process through which new information is committed to the brain). In other words, a good night’s sleep is fundamental in optimising memory consolidation and learning (The American Physiological Society, 2013).

In addition, we recommend downloading a piece of software called f.lux (also available as an app). The programme is free to avail of, and removes the blue light from your screen in line with the natural sunset, thus mimicking natural sunlight patterns. This minimises the impact of ‘screen time’ after sunset upon melatonin production, which in turn reduces the impact of ‘screen time’ upon sleep patterns, so it is a valuable tool for children and adults alike.

Extract from, ‘The Challenge of Excessive Internet Use’ is based in UCD, Belfield. The site offers parents and teachers the knowledge and tools to protect children online and to empower children to make smart decisions to protect themselves online.

Keeping Children Safe Online

Safer Internet.


A new Irish site,, has recently been launched, endorsed by Pat Courtney, Director of Anti Bullying Services, former National Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator SPHE, Dept of Education. The site aims to allow children to use social media in a controlled, supervised​ and safe environment.

“What children need is a basic building block; a skill set that will serve them in good stead for lifelong engagement with the internet, and will ensure that they can cope on the occasions when the cyber-wolf comes to the door. The skill set needs to include: discernment; critical thinking; empathy; and the ability to cope when presented with uncomfortable behaviour. is about developing these relevant and age appropriate attitudes and strategies in a supervised and controlled cyber environment.’s values relate comfortably to personal safety aspects of the SPHE Curriculum, and relate to strands such as ‘Myself and the wider world – media education’, and ‘Myself and others’.” will help:

  • Develop netiquette and good habits
  • Enjoyment of and confidence in communicating on social media
  • Perspective taking
  • Consideration and support for others.”

Pat Courtney (B.A,M.Ed, Director of Anti Bullying Services, former National Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator SPHE, Dept of Education) is Irish owned, based in Limerick. It is being launched for school and home use but children can only register through their school, eliminating the risk of predators accessing the site. The site does not post photos and has no public ‘like’ button. There is no advertising and there is an immediate response to any threat of cyber bullying. The site is endorsed by prominent figures working in the field of cyber safety and bullying prevention, it is safe for children and fun to use while at the same time educating children in the responsible use of social media. is a progressive, up to date social media site developed for children, with children’s internet safety and education in mind. At they have a keen understanding of what makes for safe and responsible use of social media as well as how to tackle the negative behaviours which can result in cyberbullying and other misuse. They do this through a clever form of positive reinforcement using video clips and daily messages which promote responsible use by children at an early age. I would highly recommend the use of to Parents and Teachers”

John Wills (School Cyber Safety Consultant, Psychologist) (BA Psych;MA; Dip CBT)