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Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences using new technology to curb cell phone use

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 18:55:59-04

TULSA, Okla. — Dan Hahn first used Yondr technology at a concert a few years back. Now the middle school principal at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences is bringing these cell phone lockers on campus.

"Constant and prolonged engagement with smartphones and social media causes a lot of anxiety and depression for teenagers," Hahn said.

When students first come into the building they put their phone away in pouches that long. The principal keeps the unlocking device in his office for the end of the day.

"It's even changed for me a lot of the ways in which I use my phone. I want to set a good example for the kids and I'm finding I need to use my phone less, I need to not be so addicted to check that impulsively," 7th grade teacher Caleb Beavers said.

It's called Yondr, and right now all 7th and 8th graders at TSAS are using it, unless they choose to leave their phones at home altogether.

"It's just a battle, power struggle between "okay it's time to start class, we need to put those phones away." So they're more engaged. Throughout the entire class, obviously, but especially transitioning between what's going on in the hallway into the classroom," Beavers said.

TSAS does plan on extending this to older grade levels over time.

"We've noticed recently that kids are forgetting their phone in their pouch because it's almost like they've eliminated that in their process of thought as being something because they're thinking about other things now. So it's been really positive," Hahn said.

Families had to pay a fee of $25 before school started. For those who couldn't pay they were put on a payment plan, or the school covered it.

If there were an emergency, the principal said students would have access to phones on campus. He's also shared his personal cell with all families.

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