Shutdown the Not-So-Smart Smartwatch

By Jackie Fletcher, Opinions Editor

You are standing at the board in math class, making the most profound insights. As you explain the thought process that led you to your answer, a flash on your wrist stuns you out of consciousness. You can’t help but pivot your attention to your smartwatch (and neither can your classmates or the teacher who are now more focused on your wrist than the problem), and you struggle to regain your train of thought. The following period, just as you gain the inspiration to craft a potent thesis statement, your smartwatch jolts you from your work yet again. You begin to sense a recurring theme as the notifications (eh-hem, distractions) continue to bombard you throughout the day.

“Why do you really need a smartwatch at school?” Mrs. Sciarrillo rhetorically asked students at a recent community meeting, and she certainly presents a valid argument. Do smartwatches really afford any significant benefits to students? There are clocks in every classroom to keep time, and if someone prefers to have a second-by-second countdown, every Trinity Hall student is equipped with a laptop and stopwatch capable of keeping precise time. Sure, a smartwatch can monitor messages, but this just makes it an extension of a cell phone…which are prohibited during the school day. And for those who obsess over tracking their “steps,” maybe a more appropriate (and cheaper!) investment would be a plain fitness device without cellular connectability. If a student truly feels as though she needs to keep track of time and monitor her heart rate, she does not need a $400 watch with access to the internet to do so.

In addition, although the integrity of Trinity Hall students is extremely honorable (no disciplinary infractions have thus been registered regarding smartwatches), these internet-accessible devices may tempt a student to engage in behavior that violates the school’s honor code. The smartwatch phenomenon has caught the attention of schools all across the United States and even prompted the College Board to prohibit the use of the devices on exams to prevent cheating and distractions. No matter the alleged proposition, there is simply no practical or logical reason why a smartwatch would be necessary during the school day.

More importantly, however, smartwatch users might want to consider the implicit effects of being that connected all the time. Trinity Hall is both a place and time for growth and learning, free from restrictions and distractions. The four years a young woman spends at Trinity Hall should be dedicated to learning new things, expanding her horizons, and cherishing friendships. A smartwatch does not abominably threaten this ideal, but it certainly impedes upon it. The undeniable distractions it presents will remove a student from the moment, robbing her of the opportunity to explore life without the intrusive presence of technology. Society has already become too reliant upon smartphones in pockets, so why must we propagate this festering addiction by allowing it to control us on our very own wrists?

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