LINCROFT, N.J. – The use of technology at Christian Brothers Academy has undoubtedly been a positive addition to an already terrific educational experience. Students are able to visualize science experiments before they conduct their own, class notes are typed and digitized for effective studying down the line, and the Academy is able to offer expanded programming, graphic design and video courses.
While technology will forever be a major component of a CBA education, there is one place that you will not find any computers, tablets or smartphones this school year: the cafeteria.
In September, the CBA administration announced the cafeteria was going "device free" for the first-time ever, with the idea that it would allow a brief reprieve from the constant technology that CBA students are experiencing every day.
"More and more research has been coming out about reducing screen time for adolescents," Principal Ross Fales said. "That, combined with a grassroots movement from our faculty who were worried about the unproductive use of computers in the cafeteria, led us to consider and ultimately put into action this new device free zone."
In recent years, students would be able to use their computers during their lunch period for school work, but also for playing video games, watching YouTube clips, or surfing the web. Unsurprisingly, this led to a reduction in interpersonal interactions between students in the cafeteria. It was the intent of the administrators to inject those vibrant conversations back into the lunch period with this device free idea.
"From the Lasallian side of things and the holistic education of CBA, we are trying to foster interpersonal relationships," Dean of Students Matt Meehan said. "What I have noticed, and also have heard positively from students themselves, is that it is like these guys are back in elementary school, just chatting with their buddies. When you walk in the cafeteria now, it is totally engaging, rather than looking like a Starbucks where everyone is buried in their laptop."
While students have begun to adapt to the new policy, there was understandably a transition period for the sophomores, juniors and seniors.