The Push to Ban Phones in Schools Accelerates Cybertraps 133

  • News Item – The Boston Globe Publishes an Editorial Urging Schools to Prohibit Student Phone Use at School

  • Overarching Questions / Issues

  • This is a global issue

  • 2022/2023 freshman are the iGen – born after introduction of iPhone in 2007 (!)

  • Is this part of a move to de-emphasize screens in education generally?

  • Will strict private schools scare away tech-savvy students?

  • Justifications

  • Distraction / Loss of Focus
    • On average, kids unlock their phones 50 times each day
  • Impact on Grades
    • Many educators report improved performance when access to devices is restricted
  • Post-Pandemic Need for Non-Phone Socialization
    • Kids who engage more face-to-face are generally happier
  • Less spontaneity and real-world creativity

  • Teaching self-control should be part of school’s social-emotional curriculum

  • “I think great ideas come from boredom.” – John Kalapos, Buxton history teacher and tech committee chair

  • Methods

  • Complete on-campus bans – no smartphones at all

  • Partial bans – students allowed to use phones between classes and at lunch

  • Lockbags / Pouches
    • In some schools, teachers and administrators have a tool for unlocking containers
    • Other schools have unlocking magnets at each exit; kids tap the bag on the magnet as they leave
    • Partnership with Yondr [ ]
    • Originally founded in 2014 to limit use of phones in music venues
  • Cabinets (“Cellphone Hotels”) / Lockers / Hanging Shoe Organizers

  • Some schools permit “dumb” phones and the use of laptops to access the internet
  • Teachers encouraged to model good behavior by observing school bans

  • Objections and Concerns

  • Parents want to be able to contact their children
    • In 2015, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio abandoned a policy against phones in schools
  • Kids are NOT enthusiastic
    • Protests and fire alarms pulled at Torrington High School in Feb. 2022
  • Kids ignore school policies (as many as 2/3 disregard bans, according to a national survey)

  • Efforts to police bans may also be damaging to learning and student mental health

  • For some students, a phone may be their only technology

  • Concerns over security of devices during the day

  • Some teachers and school board members want to have schools incorporate phones (and especially social media) into curricula

  • Schools need to upgrade phone systems to make it possible for parents to reach children

  • Schools need a plan for digital withdrawal; phones, apps, and social media designed to be addictive

  • American Academy of Pediatrics dropped screen time limits for kids 5 and older because the impact of screen time varied based on the personality and circumstances of each kid

  • Resources

– #2022–08–22 Sorry, kids, no more phones in school
– #2022–08–21 Boston high school teacher wants city to implement smartphone ban
– #2022–08–18 “They don’t interact with each other.” The growing movement to ban phones in high schools.
– #2022–08–15 Utah middle school bans phones from entire school day
– #2022–08–14 High school phone ban ‘more urgent than ever’ amid pressure on teens
– #2022–08–13 Some Mass. high schools adopt strict cellphone-free policies this school year
” – #2022–07–16 A boarding school in the Berkshires is banning smartphones for students and teachers
” – #2022–05–09 Chicopee High principal says cell phone locking has resulted in better student performance
– #2022–02–25 Police respond as high school students protest phone policy
” – #2018–06–01 How one local high school teacher got his students to actually put away their phones

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