A new addiction hiding in your child’s hand

Debra Klevens

Houston, we have a problem.

Have you seen your child’s grades slipping since returning to school? Have you checked your child’s weekly screen time? I believe there is a strong correlation.

We now have a new addiction on our hands that no one is talking about. If you walk around any high school classroom in America that has a no cell phone policy, you will still see students snapping their friends, watching Netflix, texting, etc.

We have a generation of students who spent the last 18 months tethered to their phone while they were supposed to be Zooming. While their foreheads or ceilings were on the screen, they had the freedom to do as they pleased. Now, we’ve returned to learning and teachers are fighting a losing battle.

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Teachers are having to teach students how to be students again. It’s frustrating, it’s tiring, it’s downright impacting learning and grades are reflective.

Debra Klevens

Parents usually ask teachers to police their child’s phone. That is not our job. I’m not going to be responsible for a phone being lost or stolen on my watch. My job is to care for and to teach the children in front of me.

When you ask students to put their phones in their backpacks, it goes to into their laps or under their thigh so they don’t miss a vibration from their soundless phone. Most teens are not capable of the freedom we have given them with phones.

Parents, I urge you to inquire what your schools cell phone policies are. If there isn’t one, you should be concerned and ask the administration why not. Even the best kids are struggling with cell phone boundaries.

Check your child’s weekly screen time. Check with their teachers to see if this is a problem. If it is, support your teachers, don’t make excuses for your kids. Consider blocking their screen time for Snapchat and movie streaming services during the school day. I can assure you, that you will see a difference in your child’s academics.

Teachers are trying to help your child succeed and get the foundation to excel in our classrooms. We need your help in setting boundaries with your child’s cell phone. It has become an addiction that teachers simply can’t battle without your support.

Debra Klevens, CJE (Certified Journalism Educator), has advised the national award-winning publications program at Parkway West High School for 22 years. What began as a yearbook career turned into an expansion into the online newspaper world nine years ago. Under Klevens’ counsel, the publications staffs have earned multiple national awards. Klevens is married to her husband, Michael, and is the mother of two daughters, Sydney and Zoe. Klevens is also a member of the Jewish Light Board of Trustees.