Recently, a Massachusetts boarding school did the unthinkable. Teachers from the Buxton School banned smartphones because, they told The Wall Street Journal, the devices stunt kids’ attention and make them more emotionally volatile.
The new policy was initially received with kicking and screaming, but now teachers and students alike report it is working. Not only are students more focused in class, they report using their phones less at home on the weekend. They are removing apps, and spending more time being present in the world.
Smartphones do not have to dominate our lives, even now in 2022. And, it’s important to know that what smartphones have robbed from us, like our ability to pay attention and be truly present, is recoverable.
Paraphrasing St. Augustine, we are what we love. We love what we give our time and attention to. Better habits—like diminishing smartphone use—can actually re-order our loves. More schools and families should experiment at banning smartphones.
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