Call Me Maybe

Phones are one of the most commonly used items in our day to day lives. We use it to message our friends, look through social media, check the news, and much more. However, during school hours, the ISL rules don’t allow us to use our phones, so we’re separated from them for most of the day. This is most likely because we use our laptops for school and homework, so teachers don’t want us spending more screen time on our phones, especially during the school day. Nevertheless, during the annual trips week held in September, students in the years below 12 and 13 are not permitted to bring their phones. Why is it so important that we don’t take them on trips?

Firstly, the school has multiple, admittedly understandable reasons about why they don’t allow younger years to bring their phones to trips week. According to an interview with Mr. Kirby, around 2011 when he joined the school, students from all year groups were allowed to bring their phones to trips. People would use them a lot during free time, however, instead of being social and talking to the people around them, students would spend time looking at their own devices, or have small groups looking at one device, not talking or interacting with anyone. Additionally, Mr. Kirby noticed that over time, students started using their phones a lot at night, causing them to stay up really late. Teachers had to start taking students’ phones in the evening, put them in a box, and have them collected in the morning. The teachers having to look after so many phones was a lot of work and responsibility, so in the end, phones were banned from trips week.  However, there were other reasons as to why this happened. Mr. Kirby said that since we spend so much time looking at devices, and at school we use our laptops very often, it’s good for everyone to have a break. He observed that after the rule was put in place, there has been more face-to-face talking and interaction between students. Overall, teachers found it was a positive decision for everyone who is part of trips week.

On the other hand though, a large number of students disagree with this rule. After sending out a survey to Year 11, there were multiple responses as to why students did or didn’t bring their phones to this year’s trips week. On one side, of the 64 students that answered, 38 said they didn’t bring their phones to trips, and there were various reasons for it. Many people explained they didn’t want to worry about getting caught with it, or their parents had told them not to take it. Others said they simply wanted to get away from their devices and enjoy the week and get to know other students, without having to worry about phones. On the contrary, 26 students from the survey said the opposite and explained their point of view. Multiple people said they brought their phones to have it in case they wanted to contact their parents quickly, especially if there was an emergency like last year, where many people started to fall sick. The rest said they brought it for various reasons: to message friends outside of school, listen to music, keep their Snapchat streaks, check the weather, and take pictures. Quite a few students said that even with their phones, they only used them in their rooms, and despite that, they still interacted with everyone around them and others did too.

Finally, even though trips week is very social without phones, there could be benefits too, if our devices were permitted during the week. To start with, if students are allowed to have their phone, then it would be much easier for them to contact their parents in case anything happens, and it would relieve a lot of stress from teachers. They wouldn’t have to worry about contacting someone’s parents alongside looking after students all day. This would definitely help during the trip, and it would benefit teachers and students. Furthermore, with access to our devices, there could be a larger range of activities for students. On the first day of the trip this year, our counsellors were not informed about the no-phone policy, so they had planned a few activities that included them. Consequently, they had to change everything so we could still do activities, but without our devices which made it a little more difficult. Lastly, if students were to have their phones, they would likely still be very social, especially if there was a rule put in place that they can’t use their devices during activities and free time. That way, the week would have just as much interaction, but students would also have their devices, which could help with certain aspects of the trip.

In the end, even though we use our phones in our daily lives and they’re restricted for students during the school day, these devices could be beneficial to both students and teachers during trips week. With certain rules put in place, we could keep the week just as social and active for everyone without phones.