Should Children Have Cell Phones at School?

Guest Post by Jessica Lieb, B Honest Media

 

It has become increasingly common for students to have cell phones at school. In fact, many middle and high schools expect students to have their own mobile devices. Phones can be a useful tool for children, it allows them to easily contact someone in an emergency and keep in touch with parents.

While phones can be beneficial for children, they also come with several downsides. In addition to being a distraction, they can also be used to engage in cyberbullying, access inappropriate content, or cheat.

Deciding if your child should have a phone at school can be a difficult decision for families. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of allowing children to use phones at school.

 

Pros of Cell Phones at School

 

Safety

Cell phones are one of the best ways for kids to reach their parents or emergency services if they are in an emergency. Having quick and easy access to help can make parents and teachers feel more secure about their children.

Parents can also use GPS tracking to locate their child, this is especially helpful if your child rides the bus.

Communication

Parents and children can easily stay in touch during the school day. If a parent needs to update their child on changes to afterschool plans or remind them about an assignment, having a phone at school is highly useful.

Additionally, many teachers use communication apps like Remind to communicate with students. Also, extracurricular activities may use text, Instagram, or other apps to keep students updated. It may be difficult for your child to stay up-to-date and informed if they do not have access to these forms of communication.

Learning Opportunities

Cell phones are a great tool that children can use in the classroom. They have a world of information easily accessible at their fingertips, which makes research easy. Students can often access their assignments, instructional videos, and other educational materials needed for class.

Students may also choose to record their lessons, photograph notes on the board or take notes on their phone. Phones in the classroom give students more ways to engage with the subject they are learning.

Socialization

A phone is a great way for kids to connect with their classmates and build friendships. Since many other students have phones, they can call or text each other. If parents approve of social media, they can also connect with classmates on social media.

Digital Literacy

Allowing students to use their devices in a controlled environment teaches them how to properly use their phones. Having cell phones in classrooms gives teachers the opportunity to teach children proper phone etiquette and to set boundaries on usage. As technology evolves and becomes more essential to our society it’s important that young people learn how to properly and professionally use these tools.

 

Cons of Cell Phones at School

 

Distracting

Phones can be a significant distraction in the classroom. When students have phones in class they have access to games, videos, music, texting, and social media. This is obviously one of the biggest struggles for parents and teachers when students have phones at school. Many schools have strict guidelines for when and where students can use their devices.

Cheating

Students may use their phones to cheat on exams. A phone gives instant access to information online, making it tempting to look up answers. Cheating via mobile device may come in many forms like texting answers, using the calculator, looking up answers, and even finding the answers to the test online.

Bullying

Cell phones can be used to engage in cyberbullying both in school and outside of school hours. Cyberbullying is a major concern for both parents and educators as it’s difficult for them to monitor and address. Students may pass around rumors, crude pictures, or nasty comments via social media or group texts. Teachers often are unaware of this type of behavior.

Inappropriate Content

Students may take or share inappropriate pictures with classmates. With built-in cameras, phones can be used to record or photograph someone without them knowing. Children also have access to sexually explicit or violent content via their mobile devices, which is why it’s important for parents to set up parental controls on their phones.

Mental Health

Social media and cell phones can be addictive. Many parents worry that their children spend too much time on their phones which can lead to an increase in teen depression. Many teachers prefer to limit phone use during class time to encourage students to take a break from their devices and engage with other students face-to-face.

Teaching Your Child Phone Etiquette at School

If you decided that your child needs a phone at school it’s important to teach them proper phone etiquette. Children should know how to use their phones appropriately so they don’t become a distraction.

Rules of Phone Use at School

  • Know your school’s cell phone policy. When and where is phone use allowed?
  • Put away and silence your phone when you are in class unless given permission.
  • No headphone use during the day unless given permission by a teacher.
  • Do not post photos of others without their permission
  • Be aware of your surrounding. Be courteous to those around you.
  • Do not use your phone while walking.
  • Do not post personal information online.
  • Report any inappropriate, cruel, or suspicious online behavior to an adult.

Final Thoughts

It is ultimately up to parents and schools to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of allowing children to carry mobile devices to school. Many schools already have policies regarding cell phone use during the school day.

For many parents, the pros of being about to communicate with their child at school are the deciding factor in allowing their child to have a phone at school. With proper instruction and management students can learn to responsibly use their mobile devices safely.

 

About Jessica Lieb

Jessica Lieb is the founder and editor of B Honest Media, a site that gives parents a guide to entertainment, technology, parenting, and more. She enjoys helping parents navigate parenting in a digital world. Her goal is to guide and equip confident digital parents.

Jessica has lived in the Raleigh area since 1989 and currently lives in Knightdale with her husband and four sons.

 

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