Incoming First Years: Turn Your Phones Off (Inside Higher Ed)

Two touch screen phonesBreak up with your cellphone before you go to college, recommends John Warner for Inside Higher Ed.  Smart phones distract students from learning and studying, and they make it less likely a conversation will start up between students before class if both are busy texting. Plus, phones can make you anxious and depressed if you fall prey to the “envy spiral,” where we compare ourselves to others’ lives idealized through social media.

But students can break cellphone addictions. Warner recommends turning phones off for an hour at a time while studying, and turning off the gadgets all together during classes. “You can live happily without checking Facebook, Twitter or Instagram dozens of times a day,” he writes. “Almost nothing important happens in these virtual spaces ever. …Think how uneventful your own life is.”


  1. FYI Dr. Catherine Steiner Adair will talk about her book, “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Children and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” Stein-Adair is a clinical psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School. Her lecture, co-sponsored by the Farnsworth Art Museum, will be on August 28, 2013 at 6:00. Given the wisdom surrounding this topic, it might be worth the trip. Rockland is about 1 1/2 hrs. north of Brunswick on Route 1. Shirley Stenberg

  2. John Cross says:

    re: Shirley Stenberg’s note – Catherine Steiner-Adair is also a member of the Bowdoin Class of 1976.

  3. Mark Slutz says:

    I refuse to own a cell phone. Few things annoy me more than being behind someone in line at Target, Office Max, etc. and being forced to listen to a private conversation, particularly when the person in front of me is angry at the person they are talking to. I’m also tired of attempting to hold a conversation with someone who is so busy checking their smartphone screen that they can’t finish a sentence or thought.

    A great Mainer wrote a provocative book on cell phones a few years ago; has anyone read CELL by Stephen King?

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