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Cell Phone Ban In Schools

Cell Phone Ban in SchoolsLet me first start by stating that cell phones are not going away any time soon. Most would agree with this, along with the fact that they make our lives incredibly easier. The advantages of having a cell phone today are numerous. We use them to make plans, get out of tight jams, follow friends on social media, and get our news. We use them for personal and work reasons. We get our email, send people pictures and order pizza. As times have changed, and more and more people have bigger and better cell phones, so too has where cell phones are and aren’t allowed. When cell phones first became popular, they were expensive and mainly used by adults. Today, almost everyone over the age of 15 has a cell phone, and many kids younger than that do as well. Which brings us to our topic for this blog; should students be allowed to bring their phones to school?

Parents Reaching Kids

One of the main reasons both parents and kids say that cell phones in schools should be allowed is that they need to reach each other. When interviewed, many students state that throughout the day they often need to contact their parent(s). Parents in turn feel the same. They want to know that if they need to, they can reach their kids while they are at school. And after the numerous school shootings all over the country, most would agree that this a very good reason to keep kids equipped with a phone at all times. A parent who has been through such an ordeal can most likely attest to the fact that not knowing the safety of their child in such dangerous situations is one of the worst feelings in the world.

New York City Vans

But what about the vans in New York City that have taken up residence outside of schools, providing a relatively safe place for students to store their phones while at school (for a fee)? These companies have popped up because of the demand for an off-site location for kids to store phones. They typically charge $1 for kids to leave their phones with them, and then stop back after school and pick them up. Parents and kids are not necessarily in favor of these businesses, as they cost money and have been robbed.

Distractions, Cheating and the Like

Teachers and school administration give many reasons for cell phones to be banned in schools. Often, they believe that cell phones are a distraction, to both the kids who have them, and their peers around them. Some students make the same claims. Also, teachers feel it is easier for students to cheat if a cell phone is readily available to them, especially in the classroom. Whether or not these problems are real is debatable and often based on opinion. If cell phones are banned in schools, will students who want to cheat still do so? Most likely that answer is yes. Will students find other ways to distract one another, again the answer is likely yes. Twenty years ago these problems existed in schools, during a time when cell phones were a novelty and nowhere to be found among students.

Restrictions?

Whether or not to allow students to have cell phones in school is an arguable question. What is not arguable is that in most schools, ones with and without cell phone bans, kids are using their phones both in and out of class. A whopping 58% of kids in schools with cell phone bans still text inside the classroom. If one is in favor of a cell phone ban, should punishment for having phones be harsher? And if so, will parental influence limit just how harsh those punishments can be, given that they are usually the ones purchasing the phones? If this is not the answer, are cell phone bans really even doing their job?

Collaborative Approach

If the cell phone ban is not working as it was hoped, the best approach might be a collaborative one, between teachers, parents AND students. The reasons parents and students dislike cell phone bans might be different, but the end result is the same; cell phones are not being kept out of classrooms. If cell phone bans cease, and teachers are hoping for more attention from students and less cell phone use, they need to work with parents and students. Allow for cell phone time between classes possibly, but also emphasize the importance of “non-technology” learning. With younger and younger kids getting cell phones, and parents pushing for cell phone use during school hours, it almost seems like a losing battle to implement or try to enforce a cell phone ban. New York City will soon be doing away with their cell phone ban, and other large cities have already done so. In place of these bans will hopefully be some structure keeping kids engaged in learning and off their phones while needed. But also, the cease of these bans will put parents at ease and in the know when emergencies arise.