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Kids and smart phones

I had this book suggested to me by my friend Tony this last week. And then I saw the author interviewed on TV. Made me feel like I ought to check it out.

An epidemic of mental illness is not hyperbole in my opinion. Teenagers today had it tougher than I did, and being a teen in the 80s was no walk in the park for me. I went to five different schools in a five year span including three different middle schools. I was an easy target for bullies being a total introvert stranger year in and year out. I think a cell phone could have made it worse. Banning cell phones in schools has been on my radar for several years. My last year at Meridian I tried to get other teachers on board with the Yondr pouch.

It's a small pouch that uses a magnetic lock similar to the ones you see on clothing in a department store.

Reading this new book feels like the author is preaching to the choir as I read it. He's not telling me anything I didn't already know with regard to teens and cell phones. I certainly know now, but wished I had know when my daughter was a teen ten years ago. Cell phone addiction and what it does to kids is awful. Teens now live in a constant tidal wave of comparison and negative judgment. What it does to their psyche feels criminal, especially for young girls.

I vividly remember sitting in one of my last faculty meetings at Meridian before I came to China when this topic was broached as a group. Every teacher was on board with the idea, but there was one particular subsection in the group that actually spoke up advocating for an outright ban. It was the parents of teens in the school that also worked in the school.

Most schools will tell you they ban phones already, but that's a lie. They ban the use of phones during class, but the second class is over the kids have their face right back in front of their screens because the addictive call is too much to overcome. And most importantly, it's when class is over that kids need to NOT be on their phones. It's the few minutes in between class and during lunch that kids need to interact with each other. My school here in a China is exactly like Meridian back in the states. They're like zombies in the hallways looking at their screens.

A couple final notes on this topic. Kids aren't to blame for this problem. They don't create the society they live in. They try to survive in the society that's presented to them by the adults. 100% not their fault. Further, being a parent in the cell phone era isn't being helped by the electronic devices. Parents are being encouraged to engage in helicopter tactics more and more. It's all about protecting your kid. Nothing else matters. Kids need to find their way and explore with the possibility of making mistakes. That's how they learn. Consider the comedy that is Old Enough on Netflix. Our kids are capable. They need less structure. Fewer rules. Less monitoring. We're not helping them by trying to protect them from every imaginable failure in life. The cost of this sense of security for parents is the mental health of their children.

I seem to remember going on this rant in a previous blog post. Maybe early onset Alzheimer's? Given what's going on with my mom this past few months it's not a laughing matter. Did I write about this topic? Probably. Maybe a sign that I've been doing this for a long time. I've got a friend here in Hangzhou that's an avid follower of my blog. They suggested that there may be a book here. Doubtful. I've written a lot of stuff, but most of it isn't that relevant to the masses and probably not entertaining enough.

Off to a professional basketball game. Excited to see what's going there. Rowdy crowd? Well played hoops? We shall see.

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JP Singh
JP Singh
Apr 05

I got access to internet on the go when I started college. To date I dont regret that decisoin by my parents. The one thing i do regret is getting social media and games on my phone in the early months of 2023. Thewy caused a phone addiction worse than any addictions I've observed, or had. I agree with what you on how the kids arent to blame, certainly.

Also totally on board with your idea of Yondr Pouches, Think it would clear out the brains of the most addicted of high schoolers. looks furiously at the incoming freshman class for next year

If you do get this to pass (which i hope you do, it would be a boon…


Mar 31
Replying to

Thanks for sharing this. He's certainly making the rounds right now.


Preach it brother! Let's get it done!

Replying to

I feel committed to making a difference on this when I return and want to plan what I believe to be necessary steps ahead of time. I'm thinking about surveys of teachers, students, and parents before we go to the administration/school board.

Also, I will probably hit Doffing with an email before the end of the school year to see where he stands on the issue.

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