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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