BL Spotlight

Taking Phones Away Hurts Students In the Long Run

Over the past several years at BL, teachers have become much more strict about their policies regarding cell phones in the classroom. When I was a freshman four years ago, there were never as many guidelines and restrictions as there are today. Sure, there were a few classes where teachers required us to put all our phones into a bin or onto a table, but it was never as widely enforced as it is today. This year, however, we have seen many teachers with the eyesore that is the shoe-holder-turned-phone-prison hung dreadfully inside classrooms. These plastic pockets can be found all over campus, from the Sheridan all the way to the Digital Media Center. The proposed purpose of these phone bins is to get distractions away from students so we can focus better in class. However, these bins may just represent something much more worrying about our future.

It is ignorant to disagree that technology is advancing at an alarming rate. According to a study from The Emerging Future, a group dedicated to studying the rapid growth of technology in our modern world, “Every twelve to eighteen months, computers double their capabilities, and so do the information technologies that use them.” Every year we get new technology that far surpasses last year’s model. With these advancements come new experiences that nobody has had to handle before. Both adults and youth are facing new  distractions in our day to day lives and we are all unsure of how to handle them. One of the most complicated distractions for BL and other high schools all over the world are cell phones.

We have become incredibly dependent on our phones for nearly everything. They provide a constant source of news and updates on everything happening in our modern world, as well as providing necessary  information that we use in our day to day lives, such as important emails or contact with loved ones. Without access to this information, many lives would be impacted by just the disruption of the flow of information. This  dependence has influenced the decision to separate students from our devices, removing the temptation to check for any news or updates we may receive during classes. The idea of removing our phones from our person before class is a good idea on paper. However, I believe when put into action, it is more destructive than helpful.

My fellow classmates and I are part of the first generation to have grown up alongside technology. I can recount a new operating system of iOS releasing alongside the grade I was in, as just this year iOS 12 was released. Having grown up with the technology that we use in our everyday lives, it is our responsibility to learn and develop healthy habits on our own for handling distractions. As students we need to learn when and how to put away our phones.

As we’ve grown up with technology, I believe we have developed the best relationship with our devices out of any demographic. We are desensitized from the flashing lights and constant source of news. We have never known a life without having access to endless information. We have been able to grow up and view these devices as just another ordinary object in our lives, and we see them as something we can put down whenever we’re done using them,just as another appliance or form of entertainment. Having this advantage, we may have a much easier time learning how to simply put down our phones, if we were given that opportunity.  

Forcing students to lock up their devices during important times where our full attention is needed only hinders that growth and learning process. In the real world, there is never going to be a shoe bin in the boardroom, or a pocket organizer on the door to a job interview. The ability to put our phones away  is a skill we need to develop now more than ever, so we are well-equipped to handle the blessing and curse that is modern technology. The concept behind the phone restrictions during class may be wise on paper, but is ultimately detrimental to our development as young men entering the real world in just a few short years.