School is for Socializing

Savannah Burchfiel, Staffer

Everywhere you go, it’s there. It lurks behind the next door, stalks you down the hallway, and follows you into the bathroom. There’s no escaping it. Even if you tried, you could not outrun it. It is your biggest fear.

Nomophobia (noun): the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

 Heartbreak, panic attacks, and sudden light-headedness are just some of the side effects. Whether you are in denial or have accepted the condition, chances are, you are a victim of the crippling fear. Heaven forbid you end up at school while your cell phone rests silently on your bedside table.

Some teachers assume that cell phones are the silent killers. They kill brain cells, kill opportunities for relationships, and kill the drive to learn.

This provincial view of deadly cell phones has been widespread among educators since the early seventeenth century. Back in the un-air conditioned days, teachers swatted children with rulers in lieu of sending them to ISS. Everyone wore black gowns and braided their long, dirty hair. The entire student population gathered in the classroom for a lesson on cow milking.

Now the days have come when community service is punishment, dress code allows students to show the skin of their ankles, and pep rallies promote the entire student body to yell mindlessly at the top of their lungs.

With this new era, new thoughts on technology have arisen. The Age of Enlightenment has seen its modern-day counterpart. New thoughts, new ideas, new social media websites, oh my!

And how are our administrators struggling to stay hip and get jiggy with the changing times? School policy unexpectedly welcomes the use of cell phones for “instructional purposes.” Administrators hope that utilizing the phones that seem to be Guerrilla-glued to every student’s hip will create a more open learning environment.

There’s a catch, though. When you pull out your shiny new iPhone 5, it must be used for instructional purposes only.

The screen lights up. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are just a touch away. The teacher drones on in the background about how interesting and helpful her newly updated website is. An inner battle begins. As quickly as it started, the battle is won. Instagram: 1. Teacher: 0.

In capital letters, the signs around school announce that “the use of phones, tablets and laptops for learning is permitted and encouraged.” Are you wondering when your device is approved for use? The list tells all.

For the rule-followers, goodie-two-shoes, and future Harvard graduates, the school board’s request of strictly educational use of electronics is very realistic. This new policy has opened doors that were tightly locked while students sat outside and their phone sat silently in their backpack.

However, for the vast majority of the student population, this change in rules has created the perfect loophole in the system. As far as the teacher knows, Miss Jane Doe in the back of the classroom could be researching a new intellectual concept. On the other hand, she could be Tweeting to another distracted student in the room next door.

Students are not the only ones facing the changing school atmosphere. Teachers must contend with the rules and compete with the intriguing little toys.

Wherever you stand on the issue, you can stand confidently with your phone in hand without fear of an Assistant Principal walking by to confiscate it.

The lines are blurred, the population is split, and the cell phones are on.