Recently, the Washington Post published an interesting article titled ‘This School Took Away Smartphones. The Kids Don’t Mind.’
It was about Buxton School, a small boarding school in Massachusetts which has banned smartphones from campus. Teachers have also agreed not to use theirs. Everyone has been given a Light Phone, a minimalist phone which is only used for essential communication. So far, teachers say that students are more engaged in class and students say the ban hasn’t been as bad as expected.
When Deborah Carter, our Founder and Managing Director, published the article on LinkedIn, she received an enormous response from parents and educators. Most admired Buxton’s ban, with only a few defending smartphones in the classroom and as a social outlet. Some of the most memorable responses she received came from a parent whose child attends Buxton.
The parent wrote, “We are very thankful to the leadership and vision of the educators at Buxton to prioritize community and student health.” She explained how the school got buy-in from parents. “The administration informed the students and parents of the decision in early February, and the policy was not enacted until September. By announcing it when they did, it gave families who didn’t want to opt in, time to apply to another school.”
We anticipate that we’ll start seeing more of these initiatives as parents, caregivers and teachers start addressing the negative outcomes associated with persuasive design (“influencing human behavior through a product’s or service’s characteristics“), technology addiction and social media.
NewTechKids has compiled some resources for parents, caregivers and educators who need help to manage both their own phone/tech usage and that of their kids and students:
Screen / Life Balance by Catherine Price
According to journalist and author Catherine Price, “The point is not to spend less time on your phone. It’s to spend more time on your life.” She wrote the book “How to Break Up with Your Phone” and offers courses and products to help manage phone usage. You can also sign up for her email newsletter.
News Article: How to Break a Phone Addiction, The New York Times
Tips includes taking a screen fast, setting rules for your daily usage, and being proactive about the apps you use, notifications, and phone settings.
The Data Detox Kit from the NGO Tactical Tech
“The Data Detox Kit is a simple, accessible toolkit that walks you through the steps you can take towards a more in-control online self. It takes a holistic approach, going through the different aspects of your digital life, from the amount of time you spend on your phone, to the apps that you use, to the passwords you set.”
Photo credit: Photo by Yan Krukow, Pexels