September Personal Tech Challenge Receives Mixed Reviews

Principal Hoffman asks students to challenge themselves by not sleeping with their phones in their rooms. Some students are more willing to try this than others.


Destinee Sweeney

Ranger Review Staff

When Mr. Hoffman introduced the tech challenge at a recent school-wide assembly, moans were heard from wall to wall.  12th grader Schuyler Wetmore’s first gut reaction was to boo Mr. Hoffman.  

“I keep my phone in my room when I go to bed because it’s my alarm clock,” Wetmore said. 

11th grader Ella Wharton was also skeptical.

“I am absolutely not going to do that,” Wharton said. Looking at her phone is “the last thing” she does before she goes to bed and is the “first thing” she does when she wakes up.  Her phone is also her alarm clock.

Like others, though, Wharton recognizes her phone affects how well she sleeps.

“I stay up much later because of it,” Wharton said.

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In contrast, 10th grader Anna Rosenthal keeps her phone downstairs during weekdays. 

The goal is to help students think about technology in their own lives.””

— Principal Hoffman

“If I wake up in the middle of the night, and my phone is right next to me, I will pick it up, and then I won’t be able to fall back asleep for awhile,” Rosenthal said.  “Whereas, if it’s not in my room, I will wake up and then fall back asleep thirty seconds later.”

According to the Huffington Post, repeated exposure to cell phones may also increase one’s risk for brain tumors.  Therefore, it is not wise to sleep with a phone underneath your pillow or in your bed while you sleep.

For Mr. Hoffman, the goal is to help students get a better night’s sleep.  He told the students he and his wife had recently stopped charging phones in their bedroom for that reason.  The change required him to purchase a low tech device–an alarm clock.

“If just a few kids do the challenge, it’s progress,” said Hoffman. “The goal is to help students think about technology in their own lives.”


Will Lane, Illustrator