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appalachiablue

(41,625 posts)
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 01:23 PM Jan 2024

What Happens When A School Bans Smartphones - A Complete Transformation

- Teachers say mobile phones make their lives a living hell – so one Massachusetts school barred them, The Guardian, Jan. 17, 2024.

When the weather is nice, the Buxton boarding school moves lunch outside. Students, faculty and guests grab their food from the kitchen, and eat together under a white tent that overlooks western Massachusetts’ Berkshire mountains. As the close of the school year neared last June, talk turned to final assignments (the English class was finishing Moby-Dick) and end-of-year fun (there was a trip planned to a local lake). It was, in most ways, a typical teenage afternoon – except that no one was on their phones.

Buxton was wrapping up the first year of a simple yet novel experiment: banning cellphones on campus. Or, rather, smartphones.

Instead, the school gave everyone on campus – including staff – a Light Phone, that is, a “dumb” phone with limited functionality. The devices can make calls, send texts (slowly) and can’t load modern applications; instead coming with deliberately cumbersome versions of music and mapping apps. They are about the size of a deck of cards, with black and white screens. As one student put it: “It’s like the demon baby of an iPad and a Kindle.” Most everyone agrees, however, that the school is better off without these hell devices. (And yes, that includes students.)

There are fewer interruptions during class, more meaningful interactions around campus, and less time spent on screens. “It’s a problem we’ve found a pretty good way to address,” Scott Hunter, who teaches English and music, said of smartphones. Bea Sas, a senior at Buxton, added: “I think people are a lot more social.” For many teachers, their students’ phone use is exasperating. “It’s every class, every period,” said Mark McLaughlin, a math teacher at a high school in Oregon. “The worst part of my job is being the cellphone police.”

Educators across the country report waging a near-constant battle against phones.

A survey of a school district in Va. found that about a third of teachers were telling students to put away their cellphones five to 10 times a class, and 14.7% did so more than 20 times a class. When a middle school in Canada surveyed staff, 75% of respondents thought that cellphones were negatively affecting their students’ physical and mental health. Nearly 2/3rds believed the devices were adversely affecting academic performances as well. “It’s a big issue,” said Arnold Glass, prof. of psychology at Rutgers Univ., “They lose anywhere between a half and whole letter grade if they are allowed to consult their phones in class.”... - More,
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2024/jan/17/cellphone-smartphone-bans-schools

11 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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What Happens When A School Bans Smartphones - A Complete Transformation (Original Post) appalachiablue Jan 2024 OP
Kick & Recommend! Drum Jan 2024 #1
14.7% did so more than 20 times a class TwilightZone Jan 2024 #2
I can believe it's that frequent, compulsive. Bad for the kids, hard on teachers. appalachiablue Jan 2024 #4
Phones should stay in lockers, except for lunch break. eppur_se_muova Jan 2024 #3
Or have kids drop them off in a secured storage system in the morning. Sky Jewels Jan 2024 #5
Many Classrooms Have Pouches... ProfessorGAC Jan 2024 #11
Parents would be upset Warpy Jan 2024 #7
Agree about both, real issues for plenty. People do appalachiablue Jan 2024 #9
#6, 8. Some points about communication in emergencies, appalachiablue Jan 2024 #10
I dont discount the study in the OP, but I will offer another thought. MontanaMama Jan 2024 #6
Good rules at home about phone use at schools. I get appalachiablue Jan 2024 #8

TwilightZone

(25,842 posts)
2. 14.7% did so more than 20 times a class
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 02:28 PM
Jan 2024

That's a remarkable number. I would never have imagined it could be that high. Every couple of minutes, every class, every day? I wonder if it's repeat offenders or if a lot of kids are contributing to those numbers.

eppur_se_muova

(36,573 posts)
3. Phones should stay in lockers, except for lunch break.
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 02:58 PM
Jan 2024

I can't imagine my childhood schools doing it any other way.

Sky Jewels

(7,347 posts)
5. Or have kids drop them off in a secured storage system in the morning.
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 03:36 PM
Jan 2024

They can pick them up when they're about to go home. If there's an emergency, the parents can call the school directly, like they did in the old days.

ProfessorGAC

(66,659 posts)
11. Many Classrooms Have Pouches...
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 07:40 PM
Jan 2024

...that look like those things that hang over the closet door to store shoes.
Kids come in, drop their phone in their numbered spot, stays there until the bell rings.
I've seen that in several schools. Either thar or in their locker.
I haven't seen what you're suggesting, but I don't dislike it.

Warpy

(112,118 posts)
7. Parents would be upset
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 03:47 PM
Jan 2024

since they've had the luxury of having their kids available 24/7 with those things.

The problem is the compulsive scrolling through various apps, thinking they'll miss something vital from some "influencer," while missing something truly vital in school, like learning how to cope with boredom without that damned phone.

appalachiablue

(41,625 posts)
9. Agree about both, real issues for plenty. People do
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 04:51 PM
Jan 2024

become compulsive about phone use and being online, for sure. Not just kids, many adults are overly dependent on smartphones.

I noticed it in a couple of friends when smartphones became so popular years back.

One who had recently switched from a flip phone to a new smartphone really ticked me off. We were good friends and got together at his place. But from the start he kept staring at the smartphone, totally mesmerized.

More than an hour went by, and I finally asked if he was expecting some important call. No response, another half an hour. Finally I said, you asked me out, what's up? No reply again, so I took the phone and threw it out the window. No more problems after that, tg!

appalachiablue

(41,625 posts)
10. #6, 8. Some points about communication in emergencies,
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 05:06 PM
Jan 2024

we're living in crazy, dangerous times. I understand about kids and parents needing to be in touch in crisis situations..Tough choices..

MontanaMama

(23,530 posts)
6. I dont discount the study in the OP, but I will offer another thought.
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 03:37 PM
Jan 2024

After witnessing what happens at school when there is a live shooter threat, I will fight to keep my kiddo’s right to keep his phone on his person unless and until he is safe at school. The rule in our house is he MUST abide by each teacher’s rules about phones in class. If he does not, I won’t go to bat for him on it. He has always done that.

Last spring, during an active shooter threat, that phone in my son’s pocket was his lifeline to me. I was able to find out where he was in the school and could communicate to him what was happening outside the building. His exact text to me “Mama is this the day it happens here? Should I keep hiding or should I run for it? I don’t know what to do. Everyone is scared.” Those could have been his last words to me.

The trade off is something I’m willing to accept.

ETA: Has anyone here tried calling a school lately? You can’t get anyone on the phone during the day, let alone during an emergency

appalachiablue

(41,625 posts)
8. Good rules at home about phone use at schools. I get
Wed Jan 31, 2024, 04:30 PM
Jan 2024

the need to communicate with family and how phones are a lifeline in emergencies. Sorry you and your son went through that active shooter experience, what a scare.

I think school staff realize the importance of emergencies, and would provide kids with the SAME school phone and phone number, every day, for them and their parents to rely on. The article didn't go into this but it's common sense.

Having a 2nd, alternate phone number is somewhat a hassle, but maybe worth it in terms of reducing class disruption, stress and loss of learning from excessive smartphone use.

Parents unable to get through to schools by phone is really bad. Maybe it's due to staff shortages and overwork but it's critical and needs fixing. Thanks for replying.

- Excerpt
.. Instead, the school gave everyone on campus – including staff – a Light Phone, that is, a “dumb” phone with limited functionality.
The devices can make calls, send texts (slowly) and can’t load modern applications; instead coming with deliberately cumbersome versions of music and mapping apps..

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