By MICHELLE WRIGHT
CANTON, Ga. — Lyndon Academy, a private school for pre-school through 12th grade, will be banning student use of all personal mobile devices for the upcoming 2015 – 2016 school year. Lyndon’s Headmaster Linda Murdock made the announcement April 10 during the monthly Parent – Teacher meeting. The school will be prohibiting the use of all personal cell phones and tablets during school hours.
School staff supports the ban and openly commended Murdock for making the brave decision.
“We are raising awareness about the pitfalls of social media and how the future generation needs to learn how to interact on a personal level rather than through a text message,” said Linda Mullins one of the school’s Spanish teachers.
“We have computers and laptops in every classroom, and one is available to every student. We don’t want our kids to be distracted with a cell phone while learning,” said Murdock.
Some parents are not so convinced that the new rule is necessary and gave some push back during the meeting.
“I’m not sure that banning the use of cell phones or iPads is going to bring about the positive impact the school is hoping for. We do live in a society where technology is pervasive and I think we need to embrace that not ignore it,” said Beth Ashton, parent of a 6th grader.
School Administrator Shiloh Woods said, “We want to teach our students how to negotiate, compromise, engage with others through actual conversation and active collaboration rather than using a mobile device for results. Learning how to communicate one-on-one seems to be becoming a lost art.”
Social Media Promotes Social Awkwardness
“Rather than taking the time to invest in a relationship, the younger generation is opting to tweet, text, instagram, or Facebook post. Social media is creating a less sociable generation and fostering social awkwardness in a real time interaction,” said Dr. Lynn Allen, a child psychologist and member of the Lyndon staff. “It is extremely important that our students learn that along with privilege and access there comes responsibility and stewardship.”
The school did emphasize that social media does play a role in their curriculum.
“We are not advocating the elimination of social media access or denying the value of technology, we are simply trying to balance the traditional learning environment, the classroom, and incorporating how we use technology,” stated Murdock.
Tracy Ragantti, one of the school’s Language Arts teachers, confirmed that the curriculum does use social media as a learning tool.
“Obviously we use the Internet on a daily basis as a teaching tool. We also use social media in our publications classes and a variety of other lesson plans. Restricting the use of a personal mobile device helps us to guide our students toward using the Internet responsibly,” stated Ragantti.
Noah Fee, parent of a 10th grader, agreed with the school’s choice to prohibit the use of personal mobile devices during the school day.
“I see it every day, people bent over their cell phones totally ignoring the world around them. I am even guilty of that myself. If this new rule teaches or encourages my child how to navigate social situations or become more situationally aware, I am all for it,” said Fee.