Editorial: Smartphones are here to stay

Editorial: Smartphones are here to stay

A high school should be the last place you find opposition to progress.

Yet, every so often, one school district or another attempts to block access to social media channels like Facebook, Snapchat or whatever is the latest craze. In some places — like Ontario — they are even attempting to restrict smartphones altogether.

We say attempting because, in the long term, this ill-thought-out policy is doomed. First, Ontario’s restrictions are no more than what would be polite or even already in place by classroom teachers.

Also, teens are sneaky, and if they are really determined to use their phones, they will find a way.

But mostly, trying to restrict technology is impossible. Whatever rules you think are workable today, aren’t going to be a year or two from now, as tech — especially smartphones — become more and more integrated with our daily lives.

It’s kind of like the story of the boy with his finger in the dike trying to hold back the flood, except, in this case, more holes are appearing all the time.

On the other hand, educators in those schools could do just that: educate. Social media, instant access to information and all the other things that come with living in the Information Age are an integral part of these student’s lives. There are many things, though, that they need to learn.

Proper use of technology and smartphone etiquette should be a formal course, taught at all grade levels.

Not pulling out your phone to text a friend while a teacher is on stage would be a basic rule, the same as passing notes in class has always been forbidden.

It’s certainly reasonable for teachers to require students to put their devices away if they aren’t required in class, but it’s just as reasonable for students to make use of them when needed.

There was a time when the use of electronic calculators was forbidden. That eventually failed, as they became accessible to more and more students. No doubt schools also objected to the slide rule when it was invented in 1622.

Even if it is only for five hours of the school day, there is no point in trying to turn the clock back or make inflexible rules; there is just no telling what changes tech will bring in the future.

The way forward is not to say no, but to teach when and how.

–Black Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shuswap Middle School principal Sydney Griffith notified parents on Tuesday, April 13 that a member of the school community had tested positive for COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap Middle School parents notified of potential COVID-19 exposure

Member of school community tested positive for the virus and is self-isolating

On the first day of his retirement, April 12, 2021, Marcel Bedard, former Salmon Arm bylaw enforcement officer, looks over a scrapbook he created of his 24 years on the job. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm bylaw officer parks his parking tickets after 24 years

Despite the insults that go with the job, Marcel Bedard enjoyed his work for the city

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
Missy MacKintosh, founder of MisMacK Clean Cosmetics, smiles broadly beneath her mask as she is thrilled to have opened her new storefront location at 231 Alexander St. in Salmon Arm on April 10, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Downtown Salmon Arm store ‘a dream come true’ for clean cosmetics owner

Missy MacKintosh’s MisMack Clean Cosmetics moves from home basement to storefront

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

An unidentified B.C. man said, in a human rights complaint, that he was refused a contract job after refusing to wear a mask when asked to by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Worker’s claim that ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

An oversight committee has been formed for an eco-village which will be constructed near Summerland’s proposed solar and battery storage project. (Black Press file photo)
Oversight committee formed for Summerland’s eco-village project

Initial meetings have been held to plan methodology

Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Kelowna Rockets return to the ice after COVID-19 quarantine

All individuals within the team cohort tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: B.C. car dealer posts clip of thieves towing a truck right off his lot

Video shows one white truck towing another off Vancouver Island lot

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Most Read