The Daily Illini

Editorial: Learning to stay away from social media

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

It’s increasingly easy to be on our phones during class. Despite some professors’ efforts to make classes “tech-free,” iPads, iPhones and laptops still find ways to snake themselves out of our backpacks and onto our desks — or frequently hidden under them.

So rather than jotting down notes, we end up checking out what’s happening on Facebook and Twitter with very little self-restraint.

While getting notes later or checking the PowerPoint slides on Compass are options, missing out on unique information from the professor’s lecture and learning from any student questions or discussions are a crucial aspect of in-class meetings that we are robbing ourselves of.

The ubiquity and addiction surrounding our cell phone use is a reason why we applaud apps such as Pocket Points that incentivize staying off our phones during classes. When students are in class, they simply have to open the app and lock their phones. The time ticks away, and as you go more minutes without using your phone, you get more rewards, such as coupons for local restaurants.

When we have our phones out during class, we are caught in a constant state of multitasking, trying to listen to the professor in the background while simultaneously reading our friends’ cute Instagram captions that capture the past weekend’s memories. It’s clearly entirely distracting, as well as disrespectful to the professor. We use our phones during times when we seem to have nothing better to do, and unfortunately, we have started to apply that label to key elements of our education.

By staying glued to our pieces of technology during class, we are harming our chances of success and decreasing how well we comprehend topics necessary to our success in college. While it would be nice to simply stay away from technology, it’s easy to see that even when professors ban use in classrooms, the efforts are for naught.

Hopefully with more efforts to limit distraction — like Pocket Points —, we can start putting our education on the forefront when we’re in the classroom, at the very least.

While some options don’t have the coupon incentives, we can continue the need to use our technology for the better by using applications on our laptops like Self Control, which block websites for certain amounts of time to prevent us from taking five-minute breaks to check back on Facebook (which end up turning into 30 minutes, anyway).

We hope that applications such as Pocket Points and Self Control encourage students to be engaged in classroom discussions.

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