WHS students reduce phone use by over 55,000 minutes

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The average teenager spends roughly 44 hours a week on their phones. Washington High School is asking their students to reduce that time by 20,000 minutes in one week.

On average, Washington High Freshman Shani Gide spends 3 hours a day on her phone.

“For me, that’s a lot. Just because after school – school is like 6 hours and then afterwards after practice I would go on my phone, and I know I was on my phone a lot,” Gide said.

For one whole week, Mayor Paul TenHaken challenged the entire student body – plus staff, to reduce their screen time. Their goal was to reduce it collectively by 20,000 minutes.

“We thought to have a fun spin on it instead of making more rules and trying to police this,” Sieber said.

At the beginning of the week, they had every third period class record their screen time. Councilor Travis Sieber says student council created daily challenges for students to find other ways to spend their time.

“We tried to challenge our students to be ‘snap-free’ for one day. On Tuesday, we challenged our students to promote positivity in their posts,” Sieber said.

Students even made pledges on how they would overcome the challenge. Gide’s pledge was to be more active.

“I realized, ‘what could I do to better myself,’ so I started running, prepare for track, and just got better,” Gide said.

At the end of the week, Gide was the only one to reduce her time by 100-percent.

“I did touch it to power it on to make sure that – to make sure that it was working, at least, so my parents didn’t have to buy another phone,” Gide said.

As a school, they surpassed their goal with 55,604 minutes. While the amount of time on screen went down, the time spent on wellness went up.

“For me, I got a lot more sleep, usually because I’m on Instagram right before I go to bed or something just to check the post,” Gide said.

As a reward Gide received a $50 Scheels gift card. The winning classes were treated to breakfast pizza by Mayor Paul TenHaken and prizes from Scheels.

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