Schools Are Ditching Analog Clocks Because Kids Can't Read Them

Schools Are Ditching Analog Clocks Because Kids Can’t Read Them

May 4, 2018 Updated September 21, 2020

Clock Face Almost Midday Time
Image via NiroDesign/Getty Images

Schools in the UK are replacing analog clocks with digital because kids can’t read them

Kids these days. They might be changing the world by fighting for better gun laws and inventing amazing things, but they also can’t write in cursive, hold a pencil, or read analog clocks.

That’s right — schools in the UK are tossing their analog clocks because kids have no damn idea how to tell time by looking at them. In this digital age, it appears to be one more skill becoming somewhat obsolete. Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders, tells The Telegraph that modern kids aren’t so into learning about the hour and minute hand. “The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” he says.

I mean, not only is that not hard to believe, it’s kind of our fault, isn’t it? “They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere,” he says.

And since kids don’t usually have an independent source of income, where are all those digital devices coming from? Us parents and also, the very grandparents who will undoubtedly whine that “kids these days” just aren’t doing life right because they can’t sign their name in cursive or read the dang clock on the wall.

The reason the clocks need to go is totally perfunctory; kids need to know how much time is left while taking exams and if they can’t accurately read an analog clock, that means lots of hands going up to ask the teachers how long they have to finish. Trobe says they’re just trying to make the test-taking process “as easy and straightforward as possible.”

“Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time,” says Trobe.