Across the country, the issue of allowing children and teens to bring their mobile phones to school has been a topic of much public debate. It is still unclear what the answer is or what the conclusion will be. The use of cell phones in the classroom has many arguments against it.
A child’s purpose in school is to learn. It is easy for young people to get distracted from their studies – and having easy access to a mobile phone during class makes it easier. In a 2010 study conducted by Pew Research Center, 64% of students reported texting in class, while 25% reported making or taking calls. Talking to others isn’t the only thing to do.
According to the same study, 46% of students use their smartphones to play games and 23% to access social networks. It doesn’t take much for them to use their cell phone to play some games or check their news feeds on Facebook and Twitter when they get bored with the class material.
Without paying attention, how are you supposed to expect a child or teen to absorb the knowledge they need?
It’s obvious that students won’t be able to bring their cell phones into the classroom during exams, but “passing notes” has adapted to the technology age with text messaging. While in the classroom, it is possible to send texts quite discreetly. Furthermore, a student can use the time to send texts about important questions while excused from the washroom.
Additionally, cell phones are advancing and improving faster than ever. In addition to surfing the web, smartphones can provide students with high-tech ways to find test answers online. Models with advanced calculators may even be capable of running custom applications, contributing to academic dishonesty depending on the software.
According to a study conducted by The Benenson Strategy Group in 2009, 35% of students have used cell phones to cheat. In addition, 41% of students admit to keeping notes on their phones for use during tests and 46% admit to texting friends about answers.
When students have cell phones in class, the possibilities for cheating and copying are virtually endless.
According to Consumer Reports, 3.1 million cellphones were stolen in 2013 in America. If a student brings an especially expensive cell phone to school, you can have the perfect combination for stealing because the brain is still developing, hormones are high, and social status is high.
You don’t want to send your child to school with a piece of equipment that would make him or her a target for would-be thieves. When people know there is something valuable in a locker, they are more likely to break it into.
It is possible for some students to take pictures or videos that they shouldn’t be taking during their school days due to hormones raging. Due to the fact that nearly every cell phone these days comes with a digital camera, it becomes too easy to take pictures of someone without their knowledge. In addition, these photos can be uploaded and shared over the Internet, social media, or texted to friends.
Using a simple Google search, one can find news stories of teenagers expelled or suspended for distributing illicit pictures of others like these Shakopee Public School students. Imagine the uproar if pictures emerged of girls in the dressing room or boys in the locker room?
Along the same lines, cell phones also make it easier to cyberbully, which is when a person uses electronic communication to intimidate, threaten or humiliate a person. Not only can cell phones make it easier for rumors to spread like wildfire through the school with a simple click of a button, but students can also send mean or hurtful texts to students and post inappropriate pictures of students.
Data from the Cyberbullying Research in 2016 showed that 33.8% of students have been bullied in their lifetime, 11.9% have been threated through a cell phone text and 11.1% have had a hurtful image of them posted. In addition, a whopping 25.7% have had one or more different types of cyberbullying done to them. With cell phones readily available in schools, cyberbullying can become a lot easier to accomplish.
Cell phones can easily become seen as status symbols among students. In some schools, it is the more privileged kids that own cell phones or that have the latest phone on the market. This can lead to envy and cause socioeconomic diversity among students. Those with lower-end phones or no phones at all often become jealous and resentful. Those with the higher-end phones can show them off and look down on those who don’t have the latest phone.
Cell phones are becoming more and more advanced mini computers that allow students to access material at the click of the screen. While most schools have filters and regulations to block out inappropriate material, with 48% of students looking up unsuitable sites, they can find a way around this.
This coupled with larger classrooms can make access to inappropriate material easier. Now imagine students texting that material to other students. Pretty soon, it will be everywhere.
Target for Predators
Many students use the internet or access social media sites without teacher or parent supervision. These students can be targeted by predators. Predators lurk in chat rooms, on social media sites and other websites that are of interest to students. With the use of smartphones and other devices, it can be hard to monitor a student’s online activity.
Harmful Physical Effects
The EPA has regulations that discourage overexposure to technology, and allowing students to have cell phones in school can increase their screen time. There is still research being conducted on the long-term effects of low-level non-ionizing radiation from cell phones. The use of cell phones during school, however, increases students’ exposure to this radiation, which can have a detrimental effect on their developing bodies and minds.
The Other Side of the Story
Understand that carrying a cell phone to school is not necessarily a bad thing for students. While allowing cell phones to be used in school has a number of cons, it also has a number of advantages. The parents can determine whether a phone is appropriate for their child and set guidelines on how they want their child to use it. Before sending your child to school with a cell phone, ask the school’s specific policy on whether cell phones are permitted or not.