Social norms are rules or expectations that are representations of acceptable conduct in society. They are socially enforced and are geared towards the promotion of good behavior. Norms regulate social behavior as it encourages positive behavior such as kindness and discourages negative behavior such as stealing. Norms create patterns of behavior and internalized values which are accepted by the society and whose deviation from is always shunned. Moreover, social norms guide social behavior through social control. Although they are not recognized as formal laws, social norms promote social control as they bound individuals to certain socially acceptable conventional standards.
Violation of a social norm results from the deviation of the behavioral expectations that society holds for its members. Breaking of norms results in the offender’s punishment which varies from formal punishments such as being fined or imprisoned to informal punishments such as being stared at or being rebuked by others depending on the norm violated. A good example is a scenario that happened in my class where two students were unruly and caused distraction. Most of the students jeered at them with others rebuking them for breaking the expected pattern of behavior expected of a student during a lecture.
One of the social norms in the classroom and school is that one should not use a cellphone in class. Both texting and making phone calls are shunned during class time. The reasoning behind the norm is that using the cellphone in class causes distraction which is a hindrance to learning. Therefore the norm shunning the use of cellphones in class is well-intentioned to help the student concentrate in class. I carried my cellphone in class, made a few phone calls to friends and also texted a number of my acquaintances. I also posed for pictures in class and posted the pictures on social media. These actions were in total disregard of the norms prohibiting the use of cellphones in class.
When I started texting and making phone calls while in class the entire class turned around and stared at me for a while. Most of them informed me that I was breaking class rules. This gesture made me feel uncomfortable and out of place. However, the gesture changed when I started taking pictures and most of my classmates joined me in the same. The move made me happy though not proud as I knew I was breaking class rules.
At first, my classmates were shocked when they saw me texting in class. However, they reacted positively when I started taking pictures of them. On the other hand, the instructor was shocked and angry when he spotted me texting during the lecture. He sternly ordered me to switch off my cellphone.
At the end of the class, I realized that I had not concentrated throughout and could hardly remember anything taught during the lecture. This proved that cell phones are a source of distraction and should not be used through lessons or lecture sessions. If everyone were to violate the norm, everyone would perform poorly in the long run. Moreover, time would be wasted on cellphones and this would negatively affect student’s productivity.
I believe that there would be a significant decline in my performance, general productivity, and concentration if I continued breaking the class norm of not using a cellphone during class sessions.