Cell phones are prevalent and being used daily in schools whether they are allowed by school policies or not. School district administrators along with school boards must weigh the pros and cons of allowing cell phones in school, and how they will address potential problems that come along with school usage.
Pros for allowing cell phones in school
More important issues
To ban cell phones in schools will require a diligent effort by all school officials. There are many other areas that school districts need to devote their energy to, namely academics that may result in a diversion of priorities. As it is an issue that is difficult to police, it may be more positive for school districts to allow cell phones. Consequences such as detention for using a cell phone is school can bog down administrators who deal with discipline when their time may be better devoted to more serious discipline issues.
Cell phones are native to 21st century learners who have never existed without cell phones. The potential exists for teachers to embrace the technology and encourage the use in the classroom. There is potential as a way for students to text in answers, contact teachers for feedback and assignments, as well as the mini-computing skills that are possible with smart phone technology.
Parents provide the phones
As parents are the ones providing cell phones for their children, they often want to be able to contact their children for plans after school or other notifications. Cell phones are a way for parents to connect as a safety issue coming to and leaving school. So what are students to do with their phones while they are at school? They may not feel confident leaving their phone in their lockers, so it is likely students will take the phones to class anyway despite any consequences or bans.
Cons for allowing cell phones in school
As students are very adept at texting, it is easy enough for students to text other students answers while taking a test or quiz. With classes with multiple sections, it is easy for student to save answers in their cell phones to give to the next class and even the possibility of taking photos of pages of materials. The risk of potential cheating on academics is one of the main reasons schools are banning cell phones.
Not focusing on academics
Students who have cell phones in the hallways will no doubt have cell phones in the classrooms too. Students who are texting and reading messages on their phones are not paying attention in class the way that they should be in order to be successful in school. These students tend to be distracted and less participatory in class.
Potential for bullying
Students who have cell phones in school have been known to take compromising photos of other students in restrooms and locker rooms and then have used these photos to bully the student involved. There also is the potential for students to text bullying remarks to other students during school hours. Students receiving bullying remarks will be likely to have an unhealthy view of the school environment. The potential for bullying is a serious con of allowing cell phones in school.
Cell phones allow students to communicate not just with students in other classes, but also other schools and even adults that are not in the school environment. There is the potential for social disagreements, and even communication with an adult who is not approved by parents. It can lead to students having episodes of being upset while a teacher is trying to conduct lessons. Banning cell phones won’t eliminate social break ups or disagreements, but it can reduce opportunities for these kinds of issues.
While cell phones, like much of today’s technology, have the opportunity for ingenuity, it also brings some conflicts that may have ramifications for school districts if they are approved for usage. School districts should decide on the best policy and clearly convey those policies to the students.