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. There are many arguments against allowing cell phones in the classroom.
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?
Obviously, kids won't be able to take out their cell phones and talk to one another in the classroom during an exam, but the concept of "passing notes" has stepped into the age of technology, thanks to text messaging. Texts can be sent quite discreetly while in the classroom. Taking it one step further, a student can excuse himself to go to the washroom, only to use that time to send text messages and leave voice mails.
It's also important to bear in mind that cell phones are advancing and improving faster than ever. Smartphones can surf the Web, providing high-tech ways for students to look for test answers online. Some models have advanced calculators, and depending on the software, may even be able to run custom applications that can contribute to academic dishonesty. The possibilities for cheating and copying are literally limitless when students have access to cell phones in class.
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.
Kids will be kids, so with hormones raging during their school days, there is a distinct possibility that some students may take pictures that they shouldn't be taking. Given that nearly every cell phone these days has a built-in digital camera, it becomes too easy to take a picture of someone without the person even noticing. These photos are also easily uploaded and shared over the Internet. Can you imagine the uproar if pictures were to arise of girls in the dressing room or boys in the locker room?
Cell phones can easily become seen as status symbols among students. In some schools, it is the more privileged kids that own cell phones or that have the latest phone on the market. This can lead to envy and cause socioeconomic diversity among students. Those with lower-end phones or no phones at all often become jealous and resentful. Those with the higher-end phones can show them off and look down on those who don't have the latest phone.
Target for Predators
Many students use the internet or access social media sites without teacher or parent supervision. These students can be targeted by predators. Predators lurk in chat rooms, on social media sites and other websites that are of interest to students. With the use of smartphones and other devices, it can be hard to monitor a student's online activity.
The Other Side of the Story
Realize that cell phones are not necessary a bad thing for students to have and carry to school. Just as there are a number of cons to allowing cell phones to be used in school, there also a number of pros too. Parents can decide if a phone is appropriate for their child and set guidelines on how they want it to be used. Many schools also have set rules on whether cell phones are permitted or not so it is best to check with the school's specific policy before sending your child in with a cell phone.