Feb 15Liked by Ben Connelly, Justin Stapley

This is fantastic. If I could share some personal experience of what it’s like to be a parent who says no. When my oldest was in middle school (2013-2015) the school started assigning work that had to be completed on phone apps. We tried to request paper assignments for him but the school made it so difficult we finally broke down and got him a phone. We only allowed him to use it for school. But all of his friends had one and had free range. So this created a lot of friction in our house.

When Covid happened and my middle children were in 5th and 6th grade, the county purchased laptops for all the children for virtual learning. However they did not provide any guidance for parents or safe guards from the internet. So a generation of young children discovered the unfiltered internet through their school device. Most parents were not aware because the school failed to communicate effectively.

Now my young children are in first grade. We are still a low tech house. The school provides classroom iPads. A lot of assignments are on the iPads. It shapes children be reliant on technology. Most of the assignments are in game form and kids struggle at doing real work. Teachers use these tools because they don’t have the time to devote to the children. A reason for that is the classrooms have too many students per class.

Overall saying no is the best way to handle the problem. Governing intervention would cause more problems. However, the government (in this case the school system) should not force them on children. We should remove tech from classrooms until middle school. After that the tech should be used in a limited controlled form that is specific for class work. And there should be safeguards on devices used for schools.

At this point the government and tech companies are trying to clean up a problem they created. Instead of forcing change on parents they should have listened to us.

The best thing we can do to solve the problem is lower the classroom size and simplify the lesson plans, so tech isn’t relied on as much.

Expand full comment

That’s a tough situation. I don’t understand why teachers or schools would think that children need to do assignments on phones or laptops or iPads when most adults grew up doing all assignments on paper for the most part. Maybe it’s environmentally friendly?

Totally agree: at the very least, schools should not be requiring children to use devices.

Expand full comment