Is it time for a no cell phone policy? As blasphemous as this statement may sound, there’s mounting evidence that cellphones are having a negative effect on our lives. The Upper School wouldn’t be the first to make such a decision either. The Middle School has already instituted a ban on cell phones during the school day, and some members of the Arts Department are introducing “No-phone November “ in their classes. Could the Upper School be the next to ban phones?
The Upper School is no stranger to controversial policies. The much-maligned no headphones policy was instituted to help stimulate conversation. Anytime students put on headphones, it shuts them off from the outside world. Phones have a surprisingly similar effect. Our lounges are filled with people engrossed in their cell phones and not talking to one another. Many people use phones as a social crutch and an excuse to not talk to other people.
Kids have also had an increased amount of access to cell phones, with potentially damaging effects. In the past, most kids received their first phones in middle school. But now, kids are often equipped with smart phones as early as Lower School. As a result, kids become unable to form independent thoughts, since staring into an iPad doesn’t exactly stimulate much mental and social development. Buses used to be filled with noise, with energetic lower schoolers yelling and bouncing off the walls. But now buses are devoid of such sounds, with most kids plugged into their respective devices.
Digital fun has become the new fun. Interacting face to face has been replaced by playing games on your phone or reading a funny tweet. This also signals a transition to digital social interaction. Countless social media sites like Instagram and Twitter have become increasingly popular, all at the expense of real life interaction. This creates a disturbing paradox: the more interconnected we become through social media, the less social we become face-to-face.
The signs are everywhere. People watching concerts through their phone. Couples on a date staring into their phones. Even Cassie’s speech illustrated the death of chivalry through social media. People often spend months confidently chatting with apps like Snapchat but become unable to sustain a conversation when they finally talk in person.
The increased proliferation of cell phones has raised an important question: do you need to grow up with a phone to socially fit? And as scary as that sounds, we’re heading down a path where the social interaction won’t take place in person. It may take a bold policy from the Upper School to set us straight on a better course for the future.