It’s come to this: A principal in Coatesville, Pennsylvania has found that middle-school students will finally detach themselves from their phones... if plied with ice cream.
West Chester’s Daily News reports Scott Middle School principal Eugenia Roberts noticed her students were spending more time on their phones during lunch period and less time actually interacting with each other. So she made a deal with
the devil seventh-grade students: She’d buy them all ice cream if they would refrain from using phones during lunch. It worked, much like dangling a treat in front of my dog gets her to stop chewing on my shoe.
“The cost of ice cream is expensive,” Roberts, who is personally funding the program, told Daily News. “However, I am committed to provide it for the seventh and eighth grades.”
In justifying the program, Roberts cites the importance of social growth during middle-school years as well the increase in stress students exhibit due to high phone usage. (Funny, I also use ice cream to cope with stress.)
“It’s great to see our students having traditional conversations,” Roberts said.
This is where we’re at: bribing children to talk to each other. When I was in school—I’m typing this while adjusting my orthotic sneakers—we couldn’t wait to run into the lunchroom so we could scream, gossip, and conspire with friends. Also, we only had frozen yogurt at my school cafeteria, so I feel cheated.
We’ll leave it to dietitians to debate the merits of swapping phone time for ice-cream time, but then again, kids aren’t going to put down Snapchat just for a crummy apple.