Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"The Teenagers at My School, Don't Use Their Phones All Day"

Alli made an interesting observation recently.  While watching her sister type away on her cell phone in the middle of a movie theater, she turned to me and said "the teenagers at my school don't use their phones all day."  She went on to explain in her typical way of explaining everything she is thinking about in great detail, "sometimes they use their phones to order pizza, or to ask their parents if they can leave campus, but that's it."  She then reminded me, "at my school the older kids can leave campus if they want to."

This mini-conversation, whispered in the movie theater, was fascinating to me.  First, that she even noticed that there was a difference between her sister and her sister's teen-aged friends, and the teens she saw at SVS.  But then I started thinking more about it.  Why was it that the students at SVS were less likely to be on their phones than the teens she was seeing in our home?

Regretfully, I missed the opportunity to ask her, so what do the teens do if they aren't on their phones?...that would have been interesting to hear more about.  If you know what teenagers do at SVS - please post here!


  1. I can just hear Allison explaining this. She's got a way of seeing through to the core of things. :-)

    What do teenagers do at SVS? You'd think that, having been a teenager in the school myself (decades ago), and having worked in the school for about 20 years, I'd have a good answer for that. But there really *isn't* a single good answer for that, since teenagers -- like seven year olds -- use their freedom in such widely different ways.

    While it may be possible to come up with a laundry list of the 300 most common activities (long conversations, arguments, basketball, cooking, laughing with younger kids) any list I give would be shallow. That's because the freedom (and responsibility) to decide what to to do yourself is much weightier and worth much more than any particular laundry list of things actually chosen and done.

    In 6-10 years, you'll see what I mean. ;-)

    Looking forward to seeing Allison on the 10th!

  2. Thanks Scott! I appreciate your comment.

    I'm asked this question a lot by fearsome parents who are concerned their child would do nothing but watch television or play video games. I offer them the only reassurance I know, "there is a t.v. room but it's almost always empty" or "I see kids on their computers but that seems like a productive thing to be doing in the 21st century."

    Allison notices the difference because her own teenage sister, public school attendee, is on her phone from the minute she gets home from school. Her friends could be sitting in the same room, and they are each on their individual phones typing away to that is a habit I wonder about...

  3. My teenager plays pool, some video games, goes to the music room, works on his art projects. I don't typically ask because he has a hard time quantifying what he does. But he loves SVS and had matured so much! We love it!

  4. Thanks Olga! Can you tell us more about how you see he has matured? So glad to have you post!

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  6. Maybe most teens are on their devices so much because it's one of the only ways they have power, complete privacy and freedom from interference or judgement by the adults in their lives?
    Students at schools like SVS are empowered in lots of ways, have many opportunities for privacy and are accepted for who they are on a deep level by the whole community.