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How the Rising Popularity of AirPods Impact the School

Updated: Mar 23, 2020


Tuning Out: Student listens to music during independent working time.

WESTFIELD, Ind (Jan. 27, 2020) - A student runs to the bus stop with her phone in hand. The bus gets closer and closer, so she speeds up. She trips and releases her phone. The phone slips and hangs an inch from the ground. Her wired headphones save it from shattering. Ruthie Hostetler said AirPods could’ve never saved her phone like her wired earbuds did.

AirPods are the new wireless earbuds that Apple launched in 2016. AirPods allow people to listen to music without the wires that connect to your phone. They are one of many Bluetooth headphones on the market. The small design is more convenient for some people because they can listen to music in many settings. The headphones range from $160 to $250. Business teacher Sam Murphy said AirPods became popular among kids around two years ago.

“I think it’s probably because it’s a new thing, number one, and number two… they can listen to music and it's a lot easier,” Murphy said, “you don’t have those cords flying around.”

Murphy said that more kids pay less attention. They’re not really listening to what other people say and zone out more. English teacher Sarah Gibbs agreed with him. She said that it distracts kids far more than they realize.

“While I think it’s soothing and can help some kids focus… it’s something that they’ve become so attached to,” Gibbs said, “... they have a hard time separating themselves when it’s time to actually listen.”

For some students, like freshman Katie Turner, music helps them focus. Turner said that she has them because they have a nice sound quality, too. She also said she likes to eliminate noise during independent work time. She only uses AirPods during class if the teacher allows it. She said most teachers aren’t strict unless there’s a test or quiz or if the teacher is giving instructions. On the contrary, freshman Chandler Walker said that her teachers are very strict with AirPods.

“Some teachers if they see them, they’ll take them,” Walker said.

Biology teacher Amy Clark said it’s frustrating as a teacher to see kids with earbuds in when they should be paying attention. She explained that AirPods make it easier to use phones during class. People could be doing a variety of things, from watching Netflix to listening to music. The school’s rule is that electronics should be put away during class, but it’s hard to monitor what someone is doing. The WHS Handbooks says that devices should only be used for educational purposes and if the teacher approves of the student using it. The school wants to eliminate distractions; the handbook states that cell phone usage will not be tolerated. According to the book, cell phones should only be used during passing periods, lunchtime, and outside of the class.

“It’s just one more thing that students can do that they can get away with,” Clark said, “and be less focused than what they could be.”

Gibbs said that AirPods also have a status in the school. She compared the earbuds to the sparkly UGG boots that were once a trend. Hostetler said a similar thing. She thinks AirPods are for “a basic person.” Hostetler was saying that AirPods just seem like another “VSCO girl thing.”

“Some people just like them because they have nice quality,” Turner said, “and then other people just get them because everybody else has them.”

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