Middle School 2008 vs. Middle School 2018

Cell Phone

Brian Conlan, a public school teacher, has written an important piece about social media in schools.  It is part of a larger campaign to limit smartphone use among kids.  Here is a taste:

Let’s imagine a seventh grader. He’s a quiet kid, polite, with a few friends. Just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill twelve-year-old. We’ll call him Brian. Brian’s halfway through seventh grade and for the first time, he’s starting to wonder where he falls in the social hierarchy at school. He’s thinking about his clothes a little bit, his shoes too. He’s conscious of how others perceive him, but he’s not that conscious of it. 

He goes home each day and from the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 a.m., he has a break from the social pressures of middle school. Most evenings, he doesn’t have a care in the world. The year is 2008. 

Brian has a cell phone, but it’s off most of the time. After all, it doesn’t do much. If friends want to get in touch, they call the house. The only time large groups of seventh graders come together is at school dances. If Brian feels uncomfortable with that, he can skip the dance. He can talk to teachers about day-to-day problems. Teachers have pretty good control over what happens at school.

Now, let’s imagine Brian on a typical weekday. He goes downstairs and has breakfast with his family. His mom is already at work, but his dad and sisters are there. They talk to each other over bowls of cereal. The kids head off to school soon after. Brian has a fine morning in his seventh grade classroom and walks down to the lunchroom at precisely 12 p.m.

Read the rest here.

One thought on “Middle School 2008 vs. Middle School 2018

  1. Yes! The dynamic of kids being bullied at school and being safe at home has totally been flipped on it’s head by social media. Now, when kids are home, and all their bullies are on the internet, is when kids are bullied the most. And since everyone is meaner on the internet being face to face with their bullies at school is where they are safest. Imagine growing up when being at school was the SAFEST place in your life. I don’t know how kids do it. I don’t know if I could have done it. But in my experience it’s caused kids to become kinder than when I was grew up. It might just be my sample bias, but the kids I know give me hope.

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