School principal makes challenging offer to students; parents should take note

Some students in Washington, D.C. will be awarded $100 if they can spend one day a week this summer without looking at any form of electronic device.

Diana Smith, principal of the Washington Latin Public Charter School, calls it “The No-Tech-Tuesday Summer Challenge,” and she’s offering cold cash to 7th and 8th grade students who commit to “NO screen time of any kind” for each of the eleven Tuesdays during the school’s summer break.

According to an ABC News report, the reward will come out of Smith’s own pockets. Considering that there are 160 rising 8th and 9th graders in her school, the pay-off for the students could cost her up to $16,000. “I really want the kids not mindlessly grabbing for the phone, but thinking about whether or not the phone … is going to be their source of entertainment,” Smith told reporters.

“With each No-Tech-Tuesday, students will experience life without the ever-present screen so integral to our modern life,” stated Smith as she enticed the teens to sign up. She also promised to participate in the challenge herself and hopes that others will follow her lead.

“It is also great that students outside of the grades eligible for my $100 Challenge are participating in No-Tech-Tuesdays anyway, perhaps with their parents offering them $100,” she suggested, noting that the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Smith wrote on the school’s website that students must prove they did not use their devices by having two adults send a letter to her, “confirming that they know, with certainty, that you had no screen time on any of the 11 summer Tuesdays.”

One student, Nikolas Davis, 14, told reporters that since he agreed to take part in the challenge, he has been thinking about strategies to stop spending so much time in cyber world. His list of things to do consists of activities like “read a book, ride my bike, go running or exercise in a gym.”

“I’m hoping it will be disruptive enough to get them think about, ‘Gee, maybe I liked who I was on Tuesday, and maybe I want to be like that on Wednesday and Thursday too,'” Smith said.

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