Silicon Valley High School Bans Students from Using Smartphones

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Students at San Mateo High School — in the heart of Silicon Valley — must now lock up their phones at the start of every school day this year. The school is using a device, developed by a start-up company specifically for locking up phones so that students can be more engaged with their surroundings rather than with their phones.

San Mateo High School is now having its students lock up their smartphones at the start of each school day, using a device known as the “Yondr pouch,” according to a report by ABC News.

The Yondr pouch aims to create phone-free zones for schools, organizations, festivals, and anyone who is seeking to facilitate a more interpersonal and engaging environment.

Each student at San Mateo High School has reportedly received a Yondr pouch — along with their textbooks — at the start of the fall 2019 school year, and will be using the locking device every day for the rest of the year.

“I really think it’s about being present, and engaging in the adult that’s trying to teach you, [and] your peers that might be in your small group,” said assistant principal Adam Gelb.

Students have reportedly responded with mixed reviews — some saying that they enjoy not having their phones, while others have expressed fear of being forced to lock their phones away during class.

“I panicked,” said San Mateo student Djelani Phillips-Diop of when he first heard that he had to lock away his phone. “I guess last year when we had phones, I was using it every day.”

“I remember sophomore year, I tried to get my followers up every day, just checked my followers constantly,” said student Joshua Cervantes-Solorio, who enjoys not having his phone available during the school day.

“You’re just constantly comparing yourself to other women on your feed and it definitely takes a toll on your self-image,” added student Lea Wadhams.

“I liken it to a student who is dealing with tobacco or drug addiction. They need to have this in their hands, they need to be engaging with it, or they don’t feel whole,” said teacher Brad Friedman, who added that he is already seeing a difference this week at San Mateo High School.

“Everyone else was socializing and eating lunch together,” noted Friedman, “that’s what I wasn’t seeing enough of when phone usage is at its worst.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.


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