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

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Alexandra “Annabelle” Lee and her grandpa Bryan Weightman enjoyed a shopping spree at the Sicamous Askew’s foods location after Weightman won a draw for a gift card. (Submitted)
Sicamous seven-year-old fills grandparents’ shopping cart after contest win

When her grandparents won an Askew’s Foods gift card, Alexandra Lee got to handle the shopping

Staff at R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum and community partners are preparing several interactive contests to help celebrate the 25th annual Heritage Week, Feb. 15 to 21. (Contributed)
Public to play interactive role in Salmon Arm Heritage Week celebration

R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum silent auction to kick off events on Feb. 15

A large portion of Anglemont is without running water due to a water main break on Jan. 26. (CSRD Image)
A large part of Anglemont in the North Shuswap is without water due to a water line break on Jan. 26. (Black Press File Photo)
Broken water main leaves Shuswap community without running water

The water line has left Anglemont residents either without water or with low pressure.

(Pixabay)
‘Roadmap out of COVID-19’: Innovate BC’s program helping businesses recover

CEO Raghwa Gopal said the tech sector is here to help brick and mortar businesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)

Most Read