I was trying to corral my kids out the door the other day and into the car for school when I called out to my tween, “leave your phone at home please, no need to bring it to school,” to which she cooly replied, “I need it for class, mom, the teacher lets us use them for research.”
True or not, it felt as though my hands were tied.
I didn’t like the idea of her bringing a device, but I didn’t want her to fall behind in the classroom as a result.
According to the Canadian Press, Ontario will be officially announcing a cellphone ban in all public school classrooms - starting in the 2019-2020 school year - making it the province the first in Canada to prohibit the use of cellphones during school time.
Many wonder if B.C. should follow suit.
Those for the new policy suggest the ban will have a positive impact on the classroom, stating that the time spent behind desks should be focused solely on learning important instructional subjects such as reading, math and writing.
Those opposed believe cellphone use should be incorporated into the classroom lessons, teaching students important life skills and responsible use, as opposed to enforcing an all-out ban.
In an opinion article recently shared in the Waterloo Region Record, the writer shares, “The issue is not the premier's goal but his solution. Schools exist to teach. Among their lessons are those that instruct young people to learn life skills and be prepared for the adult world. Proper cellphone use is a challenge that needs to be met by virtually everyone in Canada today, young or old. Why not help students discover how to do this?”
I agree that screen time has become an epidemic in today’s society, but I also believe that screens are not something that we can entirely avoid. As a self-employed writer, editor and marketing consultant, my work days are spent almost entirely relying on screen time. From spreadsheets to Google docs to messaging apps to photo editing programs, my job wouldn’t exist without the technology that happens to also put a thorn in my side when it comes to monitoring the time spent on the same devices by my tween.
Many schools spend the year raising funds to fill computer labs with much-needed screens so students can learn from technology, so a ban on bringing those same screens from home, which could potentially serve the same purpose, seems contradictory.
I believe there’s such thing as bad screen time (time-wasting video games and self-esteem-blowing social media platforms), but there’s also good screen time, which allows students to access an unlimited catalogue of research resources in the palm of their hands.
I say stop trying to take the devices away entirely and start teaching self-regulation and responsible use instead – in the real world, devices aren’t going away anytime soon.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @bitsofbee.