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Cell Phones and Schools: Should Students Be Allowed to Have Cell Phones in Class?

Updated on February 6, 2018

Imagine this: You have worked hard on an amazing lesson plan, and your students are actually paying attention, when out of nowhere a cell phone starts playing the latest hit rock song at full blast. Suddenly, all the attention of your students is lost, and you must spend the next ten to fifteen minutes trying to get it back. This is a scenario that teachers across the nation face every day. More than ever, technology has entered the classroom in the form of cell phones.

Once predominate only in middle school and high school, cell phones are now becoming popular in the elementary school as well. According to Dodds and Mason, “200,000 U.S. children age 5 to 9 carry cell phones, and 7 million aged 10 to 14 carry cell phones.” It has become a situation that teachers and administrators have to address.

The main reason why teachers are concerned with cell phones in their classroom is because they disrupt lessons. However, there are other important reasons too. A growing concern in cell phones is the use of cameras. “A new form of harassment emerges when students take photos of unsuspecting classmates and share them on the Internet” (Dodds and Mason, 2005). This has caused some schools to have legal issues. Cell phones can also create problems with cheating in a classroom. Students can text answers and test content to other students in the class or in other parts of the school.

Even with all the downfalls of cell phones in class, some parents believe that they are essential in this day in age. “As a parent, I feel more comfortable with my own son carrying his cell phone in his book bag,’ says Bill Nuzzi. ‘In this less than perfectly safe world, it feels like a link to more familiar security” (Dodds and Mason, 2005). It is understandable that parents worry about the safety of their child. In fact, cell phones can actually aid a school in an emergency situation. “Students with cell phones have the option of calling their parents when there is an emergency and keeping the school phones free from the clutter of worried parents calling in” (www.acteonline.org).

Cell phones can also be used as a tool for learning in certain classes. For instance, a Career and Technical Education teacher can use a cell phone to “supervise a student’s phone interview for a possible internship or apprenticeship” (www.acteonline.org). They can also be used as a way to supplement learning by using them almost as a mobile computer. In situations like this, a phone can be an asset in the classroom.

Most teachers believe that there is a time and place for cell phones and that the classroom is not that place. The biggest complaint teachers have is that many parents are not teaching proper phone etiquette to their children. Therefore, the children end up thinking the phone is a toy. Teachers will eventually have to step in and teach children about the “rules” of cell phone use. Many school distrcits are now including these lessons on their curriculum. It is up to each individual teacher how they will handle this or whether they will be allowed in their room at all. Cell phones, whether they are good or bad, are going to be a part of the classroom. It is something that all teachers need to think about.

References

(2011). Cell Phones in the Classroom. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers. Vol. 81 Issue 8, p8-9, 2p.

Dodds, Richard, and Mason, Christine. (2005). Cell Phones and PDA’s Hit K-6. Education Digest: Essential Reading Quick Review, Vol. 70, Issue 8.


© 2011 Mary Ellen Quigley

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    • molometer profile image

      molometer 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Voted up useful and interesting.

      I too am a teacher and can relate to the issues you raised here. I was even thinking of ways to store the kids phones during lessons. They are not that important that they need a phone 24/7.

      It is out of control already and needs the brakes applied sharply.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      As a teacher, and a cell phone user, all I can say is that there is a time and a place. The classroom is NOT one of them. If kids keep them in their lockers, I don't care. But, often, they will start texting in class when they have them. I know of teachers who incorporate them into their lessons (i.e. using websites to generate quizzes and the kids can answer with their cell phones) but all we're doing is allowing kids to fuss with technology that they forget how to be human. It's okay not to be connected all the time. We've done it for tens of thousands of years. Our species has survived. If there's an emergency, the kids can go to their lockers and call their parents. Adults can't have their cell phones and talk on them all the time at work - kids need to know that there are boundaries. Voted up. Thanks for writing this.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 

      6 years ago from Cebu

      Well I vote yes but strict rule should be impose on its proper use. There are a lot of benefit speially for parent to know that their child are just a cell call away.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 

      6 years ago

      This is a very informative hub. An issue I am out of touch with due to the fact I don't have children in school. Thank you for sharing this information. I believe it is timely and important.

    • momster profile image

      momster 

      6 years ago

      I don't think cell phones should be used in school at all. There is a phone in the office for the students if they need to call home. There is to many issues arising from the technology of cellphones and what they can do. If a child needs a cellphone than they should use it after school.

      Not every teacher can monitor every student in class at the same time and make sure they are using the phone for what it is intended for.

      A lot of students have personal information on cell phones. What happens if the phone is lost, stolen, or confiscated and that information is leaked out? Not all students have their phones on keypad lock.

      Is the parent or school responsible for the lost (or stolen) phone if it happens at school? I don't believe they should.

      Cellphones are a trust factor between a child and their parents. Parents have to trust that the child will be responsible with a cellphone. Can every parent be that trusting? Probably not.

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