Over 65% of middle school and high school students currently bring cell phones with them to school daily. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of allowing cellular devices in the classroom.
There are numerous arguments against allowing cell phones in school. The source of much public debate, the issue of whether to allow children and teens to bring their mobile phones to school has been discussed and debated at length across the country, but even now, there is no clear-cut answer or conclusion.
Although much of the public debate is against it, there are pros associated with allowing cell phones in school. These advantages should not be ignored since cell phones in schools can actually add value to the educational experience, rather than simply be a detriment to it.
Use of Cell Phones at school Pros:
- Parental contact - Although you hope that you will never have to do this, you sometimes need to get in contact with your school-aged child while they are in class. This could be because of a death in the family, an accident or other family emergency that may require his or her attention and/or attendance. By being able to call your child directly, you also help alleviate the workload of the school’s administrative team. This is particularly useful during recess and lunch hours when students aren’t in class and may be difficult to find. The problems with knowing where your children are after school could also be reduced if parents had the ability to call them and vice versa. Text messages can make communicating easy and discreet.
- Emergency and safety (GPS, 911 situations) GPS tracking can be a benefit of cell phones to parents who want to be able to keep tabs on their children’s whereabouts. GPS tracking a cell phone can provide peace of mind to concerned parents and teachers if a student is reported missing or has gone somewhere of concern.
- Use of cell phone – camera, video recording, access to the web, for projects and recording school events such as field trips. Most cell phones have a camera these days, so children can use these to take pictures of things in class. This is great for science class, for example, where they may be exposed to certain creatures, plants and other things that they probably won’t encounter anywhere else. This is much more effective that simply producing a quick sketch. Pictures can also be useful for any sort of step-by-step process, so that they can later review the photos to better understand the procedure in metalwork, woodwork or other hands-on courses.
- Students who have a smartphone can use various applications that are designed to assist in learning and designed just for students. Many of these smartphones have programs that are similar to what is found in a laptop or desktop computer. Being able to quickly look up facts on the internet is possible on many phones. If a student needs assistance with classwork and does not have access to a computer, a smartphone can be used in a snap.
Use of Cell Phones at school Cons:
- Distraction during class - When a child is in school, his or her purpose there is to learn. Young people can be easily distracted from their studies – and having easy access to a mobile phone during class can make it easier for them to lose focus. If they become bored with the class material, it doesn’t take much for them to take their cell phone to play some games or to check their newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter. How can you expect a child or teen to absorb the knowledge they need to learn if they’re not even paying attention?
- Students often forget to turn off their phones in class, and ringing noises or text-message alerts disrupt learning.
- Even if set to silent, cell phones can still cause distraction, since text messaging has become a high-tech method of passing notes in school.
- In the event of a widespread crisis, rampant cell phone use can overload communication systems and render them inoperable.
- Theft – Young people can be very competitive, fighting for popularity among their peer group. This can manifest itself into stealing if a particular individual brings an especially expensive cell phone to school. The last thing you want to do is to tempt the would-be thieves by sending your child to school with a piece of equipment that make him or her a target. Lockers are more likely to be broken into, for example, if they know there is something of value in there.
- Student cell phone networks add to the spread of rumors and misinformation, which can be harmful during a widespread crisis.
- Mobile phones with a connection to the Internet (therefore, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular — and potentially dangerous — social media apps) can be even more of a distraction and can be used for cyberbullying.
- Phones can be used as cheating devices during exams.
- The long-term physical effects of cell phone use are still undetermined.