Dear parents, please tell your kids to actually put their phone away when they go to school, work, church, or wherever they are going where they are supposed to be paying attention to something besides their phone.  

 

Sincerely - A Volunteer that is tired of competing with Snapchat and text messages.

I've got my own teenagers - so I understand how many times kids ask for phones.  Being a parent is not an easy job! Between all of the asking, begging, or at my house, the persuasive speech and typed up letter, where exactly is that line between need and want...and how do we really know when our kids are ready for more independence?  I don't have all those answers and I know all kids are different...but I do know what I see.

I don't have tons of free time but the little that I've got, I volunteer with some middle schoolers and high schoolers.  So many great moments with these kiddos but there are also many moments that are just so frustrating...and many of those moments are tied to cell phones.  The lack of attention and respect to anything other than their Snapchat or text messages is beyond what I can explain here, but these two examples might give you a glimpse:

  • I watched the clock as one kid got over 40 text notifications in a 2 minute period.
  • I once watched this group of girls on their phones for over 20 minutes.  One was reading messages and crying after each ding on her phone...all while the friends kept staring at their own phones.  When I went over to check on them and ask them politely "can you put your phones away for 5 minutes?", they just rolled their eyes at me.

Just think of how many more useful conversations I would be able to have with the kids when I was volunteering if I didn't have to say this on repeat, "_________, can you please put your phone away?".

According to www.awayfortheday.org, 82% of parents want phones removed from schools.  Are you one of them? My hand is raised up so high right now!

As a parent, I am all for phones staying in lockers, in a basket in the room, or anywhere other than in the classroom.  As a volunteer, this would be so helpful and I'm not begging for it to happen, but I will talk loudly and say...it is really tough to be a volunteer.  I can't even imagine being a teacher.

If I can't convince you to rethink this whole phone thing for kids, check out the studies and stats over at www.awayfortheday.org.  I'd also encourage you to go sit in your kids' classroom, volunteer, or figure out a way to watch from a distance.  Talk with your teacher and those working with your kids in their extracurricular activities. Better yet...go look at the phones your kids are using and see if you can find an app to show you when, what, and how often your kids are using the devices.

Are there any schools in the area that are implementing policies to put phones away in middle schools and high schools?  Rochester Public Schools? Byron? Stewartville? If so, I’d love to hear how it is working, or if there are individual teachers making these changes for their classroom.  Send me a message on my Facebook page (click here) or DM me on Instagram.

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