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RFH has "Digital Detox" Day


74 Ridge Road, Rumson, NJ 07760   





February 15th, 2019

RFH has First Digital Detox Day


    February saw something new at Rumson- Fair Haven Regional High School. The school hosted its first official Digital Detox Day; in short, a day when the school was almost technology free. The day was designed to give students and staff the opportunity to break away from the ever-present technology that so many believe we cannot live without.

    Digital detox day originated as an idea from the Student Wellness Committee. The idea gained weight from this organization as they did more and more research on the effects that phones and social media have on the mind. Through their research, the team discovered many harmful effects of using phones and social media to excess.

    The Student Wellness Committee took their idea and research and proposed the detox day at a board meeting at the beginning of February. The board embraced their idea and approved a Digital Detox Day scheduled for February 15th.  Superintendent of the district and proponent of the initiative, Dr. Pete Righi, was anxious as he knew the idea may not be met with open arms by students and staff.

    The buzz in the school the day before could almost tell the whole story. Students were upset at the prospect of not using their phones. Students had their iPhones practically attached to their hand and earbuds glued tight in their ears. Teachers were excited about the prospect, recognizing the potential benefits of separating the students from the daily barrage of technological input.  It was the topic of conversation in the lunchroom, classroom, gymnasium, and just about every nook and cranny of RFH.

Eventually, the day came. The atmosphere was refreshing and reminiscent of school life before cell phones.  The noise of friendly chatter permeated the halls in the morning as students were preparing themselves for a day without their devices. Staff and student conversations centered around lively discussions about the reasons and benefits of Digital Detox Day. Lunchrooms were louder than usual, filled with the buzz of collegial dialogue. Students were locked in conversation with their peers and were getting to class on time. Teachers were impressed with how well the students adjusted to the initiative. The day was a success. At the end of the day, no phones had been confiscated.

Math teacher Jeff Herkimer spoke to the success of Digital Detox Day. He stated “there was a lot of hype about it (the day).  Students were very nervous and weren’t sure how the day would play out. But the reality was that students did a fantastic job. A lot of learning took place and it was a huge success.”

The success of Digital Detox Day was encouraging for many reasons. It showed students that they did not need their phones for the day, and the absence of phones allowed for more organic conversation between peers. Senior Victoria Caetano said, “I thought it was good. I paid attention, talked with other people more, and was more productive with my time.” It was a relief for teachers in that they did not need to worry about telling students to put their devices away and allowed them a break from their own personal screens. Many parents loved the idea and wished for every day to be a digital detox day. Due to the success of the first Digital Detox Day, the school held another one on March 29th, which was equally successful. Although technology allows us to do incredible things, sometimes we just need some time to disconnect.

About Rumson-Fair Haven Regional: Rumson-Fair Haven was recognized as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. The high school, accredited by Middle States Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges and the NJ Department of Education, is a comprehensive high school of approximately 1000 students in grades 9-12. Consistently over the years, more than 95 % of our graduates have attended post-secondary institutions.