Cell Phones in the School Classroom?

Let's face it, like it or not, cell phones are a part of life these days. They annoy and distract us, they have us working on vacations and during lunch, and they constantly interrupt at inconvenient and sometimes inappropriate times. But once you've started using a cell phone, it's pretty hard to give it up, and cell phones are even more the norm for our school age children.

My 16 year old daughter and 17 year old stepdaughter received their first cell phones 4 years ago for Christmas. Two years ago we upgraded to camera phones. I think they have enjoyed much more independence than they would have without them. I was more inclined to let them venture out of my sight in the pre-teen and early-teen years than I would have been otherwise.

But generally speaking, the peace of mind has been purely that. So far (knock on wood!) neither has truly needed the phone in an emergency situation. For our teens, the cell phone is primarily a social tool.

I have to admit it annoys me when my daughter walks around constantly clicking her cell phone buttons to text messages friends. At the same time, it amuses me that the kids hardly talk on the phone at all - they prefer to text. I wonder if they are not honing their multi-tasking skills. My daughter seems to be able to carry on a text conversation - or three - without completely tuning me out.

But should they have access to their high tech communication gadgets during school?

 

I think they might as well. Honestly, I'm not even sure what my daughter's current school policy is regarding cell phones. I believe in middle school they were allowed to have them, but they had to be turned off. I know that now she keeps her phone on vibrate, and I have inadvertantly called her during school hours. She didn't answer the call but texted me afterwards with a tert " what?" I texted back "call me." She texted "can't, in class." Technically, she was probably breaking the rules by acknowledging my calls, but I was traveling and had heard there was a tornado warning for our home town. If she hadn't answered me, I probably would have been frantic!

Several times, like when she wasn't feeling well and needed to come home, or when she needed to ask me something, her teachers have allowed her to call me from her cell rather than taking the extra time out of class to go to the office to use the phone.

Yes, cell phones can be distractions in the classroom, just like talking and passing notes and throwing spitballs. Responsible students shouldn't be penalized for the potential to act out. Instead, disruptive students should be dealt with appropriately.

Kids have to learn the "rules" in a variety of situations. Allowing them to have their cell phones in their possession while at school also allows them to learn the consequences of using them inappropriately versus the independence of using them responsibly.

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url: http://hubpages.com/_ndwcopyright/hub/Cell-Phones-in-the-School-Classroom

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Comments 10 comments

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

I honestly don't think that they should. In actually what reasons should a student need access to the world outside of their classroom. Emergency is the only reason and that is why I have the school office on speed dial in case I HAVE to get a hold of my daughter. Out of respect, phones should be off. I turn my off when I'm in church, a meeting, or working.


dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

RGraf, I'm sure many agree with you, but as I said, I think as long as they are used (in other words, primarily not used!) responsibly, there's no need to ban them completely. And I totally agree they should be turned off, or at the least on vibrate, in situations like church and meetings.


britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 8 years ago from united kingdom

I agree that there are places where cell phones annoy us but we cannot overlook the importance of them for communication and other entertainment features.

Anyways check out my latest hub on Motorol's latest hot mobile wonder

http://hubpages.com/technology/Motorola-Krave-ZN4-


Melissa G profile image

Melissa G 8 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Interesting hub, dineane. There's a team within the company I work for that focuses on global education transformation, and they're all about finding ways to incorporate technology into the learning process--including cell phones. I'm not entirely sure how that would work, but it seems like it would be beneficial to tie them into the education process, so that teachers don't need to compete with them for their students' attention.


dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

I like that idea, Melissa! I'm not sure exactly how it would work either, but certainly someone is clever enough to turn cell phones into a learning tool. At the very least, somewhere along the way, a brief lesson in telephone ettiquette would be nice! I know some adults who would benefit from that lesson :-)


Melissa G profile image

Melissa G 8 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Ha! Good point. I'm always amazed when someone pulls out a phone during a meal and starts texting away--the sense of urgency that accompanies each incoming text seems to override any sense of social etiquette. :) If they ever enjoy widespread use as learning tools, I hope one of the first lessons would focus on socially-conscious and responsible use--few things bother me more than riding behind a shoddy driver only to pass them and discover they're fiddling with their cell phones!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

My daughter takes her mobile to school, but switches it to silent in lessons, and as I rely on her to pick her brother up on days that I am working, I've found the phone to be essential. Like you, Dineane, I'm eternally grateful for this marvel of modern technology when it comes to going out and about. I feel much happier knowing that she is only a phone call away.


Guardian1 profile image

Guardian1 7 years ago

The cell phone has quickly graduated from luxury item to flat out necessity in many peoples eyes. Whenever my daugthers leave my sight, I want to be able to maintain a way of getting in touch with them. Serveral savy youngsters have saved their lives or others by having a cell phone near at hand. As long as one encourages their child to use the phone responsibly and the child is not tunning out all else on the planet, it should be fine. Great hub. I can totally see where you're coming from.


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for stopping by Guardian - and Amanda, I'm sorry I missed replying to you - not sure how that happened!


tmanator 5 years ago

i think that cell phones should be allowed because us students will be able to reaserch if we have phones with internet and the teacher wont have to bring all of us to the computer lab

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