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No Phone Day

No Phone Day

One of the goals of a Kent Place education is for students to be aware of the profound impact their online behavior can have on others and themselves. Thus, the Ethics Institute introduced the REBOOT program, which was designed to raise awareness across all grade levels about the benefits and harms of technology use. The program provides students the opportunity to teach others how to make ethically informed decisions that directly influence their social and emotional well-being, empowering them to take control of their digital lives. One major initiative within REBOOT is “No Phone Day,” targeting students’ relationship with phones, particularly in the context of social media.

This year’s “No Phone Day” took place on November 9, when Upper School students voluntarily surrendered their phones to advisors. Students followed their usual schedules, attending classes, having free blocks, eating lunch, and so on, then ended the day with a REBOOT assembly.

A common observation students made was the absence of their easy-to-grab clock. Without their phones, Upper School students, accustomed to checking the time regularly, found themselves feeling a little disoriented. Many simply resorted to using manual clocks; some asked students who had a watch. Talking with other students revealed a surprising lack of awareness about the number of times they picked up their phones in response to stress, boredom, or an awkward situation. When they began to notice this habit, they also realized the impact this event had on their journeys to take control of their digital lives.

During the assembly, student leaders of REBOOT talked about the purpose of “No Phone Day,” whose overarching goal was to demonstrate the dual nature of technology: that is, acknowledging its benefits but also emphasizing the need for digital boundaries. They also talked about some of the potential risks associated with technology. The leaders explained how to set limits, and that in doing so, students could gain the advantages of technology through an ethical lens — and take responsibility for their digital citizenship.