Persons of the Week: Tech-Free Teens and the Teacher Who Inspired Them


Students Delete Facebook Apps, Ask Parents to Change Passwords

He added that for the first time in his seven-month relationship with his girlfriend, he had to ask for her home phone number. And, worse yet, he said dreaded enduring the circa-1990s awkwardness of asking the parents if he could talk to his girlfriend.

"She always has her cell phone on her. Why would I call her home phone and have to talk to her parents?" he asked. "I like her parents, but it's an awkward [conversation] that I've never had to do until this week."

Katelyn Lahair, the 16-year-old Shorecrest junior who first took Mitchell's challenge seriously, said she warned her Facebook friends about her weeklong commitment Sunday night, with the update: "Bye Facebook, see you next week."

Lahair said she kept her cell phone with her in case something came up, but deleted the Facebook application so that she wouldn't pull it up out of habit because usually she's on the site, "like, all day, every day."

To keep herself from caving into temptation, Olivia Hepburn, a 17-year-old junior at Shorecrest, planned to leave her cell phone with Mitchell during the school day. She also contemplated asking her mother to change her Facebook password so that she wouldn't even be able to sign in.

"It's going to be really hard to survive the week," she said as she began.

Teachers Want Students to Reflect on New Tech - the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The teachers -- who were actually once classmates themselves -- hoped the experiment encouraged the students to think about how technology influences their lives -- for better and for worse.

"Having witnessed how student behavior, and human behavior, has evolved since the time that both [Mitchell] and I were in high school, things have changed dramatically in the life of a high school student and how they communicate with one another," said Marty Ballew, the video production teacher coordinating the experiment at Shorewood High School. "We want to encourage students to reflect on the impact of technology -- the good and the bad and the ugly."

The students were competitive about the experiment, especially because the two schools were long been locked in competition. But they also were open to personal lessons too.

"I figure I can do it and it won't be that hard. And if it is that hard, I'll probably have to re-evaluate my relationship with these things," said Shorewood student Matthews before the experiment. "I want to prove to myself, as I think I will that they're an addition to my life, not an addiction."

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