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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Phone use restrictions

Brielle ’24

In a world buzzing with notifications, Marlborough decided to hit pause and embrace our community through a technology detox. On Jan. 18, Head of School Jennifer Ciccarelli publicized new plans to minimize phone usage among students at Marlborough. After immense planning and thoughtful decision making, the administration decided the student body should have limits on the times in which they are permitted to use their phones in order to enhance the connections between students and encourage more responsible usage of technology in the coming school year. Post-pandemic, all students were permitted to use their phones during lunch and Flex, with the exception of passing periods and class time for the Lower School, but the administration has grown to recognize the consequences of technology in an academic setting.

Marlborough prides itself on having a strong commitment to community, yet phones often interfere with direct communication, as screens act as a barrier to connection. While friendships still flourish at Marlborough, Ciccarelli hopes our community will grow closer by tightening the phone policy.

“The sense of community felt throughout Marlborough, even amongst our alumni, has been transformative,” Ciccarelli said. “However, many of the most hurtful social ruptures at Marlborough have happened because of unkind social media exchanges. I don’t want us as a community to lose that opportunity for bonding because of technology.” 

Therefore, both faculty members and students will undergo a trial run of this particular decision to determine the proper methods for controlling phone access. After researching and utilizing studies from the surgeon general and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the administration collaborated with class deans to produce this executive verdict. 

“I’m not interested in banning phones because I think one of the critical things we do as a school is educate students to be better at using these tools,” Ciccarelli said. “We know that prolonged use of social media has a negative impact on mental health for children, which is one of the reasons why I want us to have a community-wide conversation.” 

To prevent cyber-bullying and the consumption of fake news, this policy will likely be enforced in the 2024-2025 school year. With the presidential election coming up, the administration is working to ensure students are aware of how to navigate news sources. Through community-based conversations involving parents, teachers, administrators and students, the School will be able to gain a new handle on proper social media usage. 

The policy has stirred much discussion among the student body. Various students within the Upper School believe the policy should be separate between Lower and Upper Schoolers, expressing a desire for more explicit guidelines to be delineated when navigating the media. 

“I think that proactivity, rather than prevention, is more effective at teaching students how to best consume media. Instead of telling students what not to do, I think it would be more effective if Marlborough provided students with resources designating how best to consume media,” Matteson ’25 said. “When people cannot do something, they intrinsically want to do it more. I worry that this will be the outcome of phone and media prevention policies.”

On the contrary, other students feel that an environment without phones would be refreshing, claiming their peers are too distracted by technology to interact with one another. 

“I really appreciate the concept of the new phone policy,” Orna ’29 said. “I have totally noticed everyone looking at their phones too much, which limits my ability to connect with my peers, so I’m hoping it’ll allow for a more social environment.” 

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Reilly '24
Reilly '24, Co-News Editor
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