Our world has changed dramatically since the invention of cell phones. Not only that but cell phones themselves have come a long way and become a very powerful device.

Allowing Cellphones in Schools
Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

You can do everything with your smartphone, more simply the whole world is at your fingertips. You can browse the web, send and receive mails, click photos, record videos, make calls, make notes, locate destinations, etc. with the smartphone.

The question remains though, if kids should be allowed to use smartphones in school? The answer is not black and white. In this article we’ll examine the pros and cons of cell phones in school.

Banning The Use Of Mobile Phones In School: Advantages And Disadvantages

As mobile phones become increasingly popular among adults and youths and it has become a matter of public debate whether to allow phones in school or not. Since there are advantages and disadvantages of using cell phones in school. Many schools face an important question of policy on whether or not to ban cell phones in the classroom.

These days many students are carrying cell phones in class, even elementary and middle school aged kids, which could have a negative outcome. Smartphones have surely made our life easier, but they also became a major problem for teachers and administrators.

A Brief History

There is no proper rule regarding the use of cell phones in school but some schools have made written policies regarding the use of cell phones by students during school hours. Every school has different rules for their use. Some schools have put restrictions on student’s use of smart phones in school, on the other hand, some schools allow cell phones but they must be turned off during class.

A 2010 Pew Research Center study found that 65 per cent of students that own cell phones bring them to school despite any bans possessed by the school.

In 2017, many schools around the world decided against banning mobile phones and other digital devices on their campus. In France, the use of smartphone is completely banned and few states of the US has a partial cell phone ban, making students stash them in lockers during school hours.

Electronic devices such as the cell phone enhance the learning environment for students by helping with assignments, Google classroom work, and online study. Cell phones aren’t only for emergencies but are also a valuable tool for students in the classroom. Students can clear their doubts instantly and search for the required information easily because the internet has it all.

According to many sources, the cellphone is a big distraction in the classroom, and teachers struggle with this daily. This distraction has a direct impact on the quality of education and also wastes valuable class time. Cyberbullying, sexting, googling answers, etc. are negative sides to the use of cell phones in school.

Students have been found misusing cellphones such as cheating, videotaping for bullying, taking pictures without permission, accessing restricted things, watching pornography and some misuse might lead to crime also.

Pros of Allowing Cell Phones in School

1. Learning Environment

Using smartphones, through various learning apps and surfing web assist in learning. Educational apps provide different mediums for learning like video tutorials, mock tests, and teachers’ notes hence assist in interactive learning through mentor interaction. Students can involve in competitive learning through the internet where they can involve in various events, tests, and quiz.

2. Emergencies

By having a cellphone available for a student, there is another layer of personal security available. If they feel they are in trouble, they can call an emergency services for help. In this way, a cell phone is helpful to both parents and their children in case of any emergencies. Incidences of attacks at a school, fires, kidnappings, medical emergencies, and other emergencies can be reported quickly for help.

3. Access to Research

In today’s world classroom education is often not enough to teach students because there are many important lessons out there to research on. The teacher encourages students to complete the research tasks and the smartphone is a very good way to carry out research. Using a cell phone, students can dig information on a specific topic using various learning apps, surfing on the web and hence get better results.

4. Opportunities for Social Learning

Social media is not only for entertainment purpose but it is also a great learning environment. Various pages, groups, discussion forums help teach students to grasp knowledge in various fields. Being connected to friends through social media creates many outcomes for students like engaging in homework collaboration, discussion groups, and forums.

5. Opportunities for Multimedia Learning

Since all smartphones have access to the internet and during classwork, students can watch specific topics on the internet under teachers’ guidance. And later teachers and students can discuss the topic as presented in the video as a part of the learning experience. Visual learning is the best way to gain a large amount of information and it makes retain a large amount of information in a small period.

6. Voice Notes

Voice recording feature can be useful to students who want to record the lecture so that they can revise the lesson. Students can miss some important instruction during lecture time and the voice note helps to cover that part. Students can’t always have immediate access to note, so voice notes can be helpful to jot down some important information.

7. Parental Contact

Allowing students to carry cell phones gives parents the ability to contact their children whenever necessary and also in case of emergencies. Students can fall ill or forget anything at home and request parents to come and help. Parents can also have emergencies where children need to get home. Also with the help of GPS, parents can keep track of their child’s location and whereabouts.

8. Facilitates the Individualized Learning Process

For effective learning, the learning process must be highly individualized. Some students can grasp things quickly in any environment but some students require silence or isolation to grasp things while some need music to focus on tasks.

If cell phones are allowed in schools, students can take lessons on the internet putting headphones on to eliminate distractions and this helps in the individualized learning process.

Cons of Allowing Cell Phones in School

1. Cyberbullying

Bullying is most common in school life and access to the cell phone increases the chances of bullying as it creates a new possibility for bullying. Online apps, social media, and other tools increase the likelihood of bullying as they magnify the effect of bullying. Texts, photos videos, voice mail can be spread through the cell phone which aids in bullying.

2. Encourage Cheating

Every piece of information is just a Google search away and with most smartphones featuring a fully featured web browser with access to the internet, the potential for cheating has grown exponentially.

If cell phones are allowed in classrooms during quizzes or testing, there are chances that students will try to cheat by using cell phones to record or text answers. This has a negative impact on the education system as well as students’ morale.

3. Potential for Addiction

Cell phones offers different types of games, social media apps, texting apps that are addictive in nature. While smartphones have pros and cons, some say that they disconnect students from the real world.

If students spend much time on a cell phone, it might directly affect their studies and decreases learning potential. Cell phones make it easier to get disconnected from your families, as well as friends.

4. Health Concerns

Smartphone emits different kinds of radiations which has an adverse effect on our health and longtime cell phone use can affect our eyes, as blue light emitted from the screen is highly harmful to human eyes. Health issues like irregular sleep patterns, migraine, weight loss, hypertension, and behavioral issues are some common health issues regarding cell phone usage in school.

5. Misuse of Technology

Access to a cell phone makes children misuse the technology by threatening someone, bullying, torturing, doing cybercrime, etc. and get involved in crime. Through the use of the internet, children can get involved in different kinds of crimes as they are easy to lure. And the internet allows access to mature content easily and which is a great disadvantage of the internet.

6. Safety Concerns

According to a study, one in five teens in the US has received an unwanted sexual solicitation through their online activities due to unwanted contact with strangers.

Most of the children hide these kinds of conversations from their parents. This is all due to access to the cell phone at an early age and might lead to sexual crime too.

7. Class Disruption

Cell phones in class are highly disruptive because they break student’s concentration during the lesson. Ringtones, message alerts, and other notifications or vibrations cause interference to the entire class and encourage continued use with each new notification.

8. Disconnect Students From the Real World

Cell phones helps students to get connects with the whole world at the same time slowly disconnect you from your family and friends. With more involvement with the cell phone, it disconnects you from family events, sports, social activities. With much involvement with an online friend, there is always a threat associated with it.

Conclusion

Concluding the article, we have given both the advantages as well as disadvantages of cell phone use in school. If they are looked at as a powerful learning tool, it seems there is no harm in allowing cell phones in school. But if we go through the negative effects then banning cell phones seems more appropriate.

Authorities must make a decision for or against allowing cell phones in the classroom by looking at both the positives and the negatives about banning such devices. It would not be wrong if schools allow cell phones with some restrictions under teacher’s surveillance because they can create a great learning environment with many benefits.

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