Mobile Phones and Students: Emergency Device or Major Distraction
Cell phones have been around since before the 21st century. They may not have been the most high tech phones that are available today, but they did exist. They started becoming popular among the younger crowd in the late 1990‘s. Since then, new features such as texting and mobile Web have made its way into the lives of everyone, making communication and day to day tasks much easier. The downside to this is that many children as well as adults are using these features when they should not be. School is one of them.
Students use their cell phone in school to text between classes to keep up with the latest gossip. They also text during class (when they can get away with it!) which definitely should not be happening. Cell phones are also used by some students to take inappropriate pictures during school. All cell phone usage should be banned from all schools to allow students to learn and excel in their academics without the distraction from a cell phone.
Should students be allowed to use mobile phones in school? What is a good age for a child to start using a mobile phone? These are questions that are very pertinent in today's schools because with the increasingly optimized family plans, many parents feel like mobile phones are a great way for children to manage their schedule.
For families which feel anxious about the safety of their children, mobile phone feel like a god-send because it allows parents a way to know that their child can reach them if needed. Uncertainty about schedules and stress stemming from inability to contact a child can be a big part of growing up for some students from families with heavily conflicting schedules and mobile phones are a fairly simple way to solve this problem. So, parents think nothing of providing their elementary school kids with phones and see it almost as an essential emergency device.
But is this the only use of mobile phones by students? Are they truly even necessary in cases of emergencies within school? This is the argument broached by those who believe that mobile phones do more harm than good. Mobile phones very quickly become non-emergency devices in that students use it to connect with friends. They either talk with friends between classes or text them during classes. Thus, potentially they can provide a huge distraction from learning. If a student is in an emergency situation in school, it should not be hard to reach the parent from a phone in the school office or the nurse's office. People who believe that mobile phones are the source of distraction feel that they should be banned from class rooms.
The other manner in which mobile phones can be a distraction is that there are different kinds of mobile phones. There are simple ones that are nothing other than a way to make a call and others with enough bells and whistles to run the school. Students can also spend precious time comparing their phones and trying out new applications and the gadgets can themselves become a source of pre-occupation.
Mobile phones with cameras and other features attached in the hands of young students also lead to issues such as inappropriate photos being uploaded onto websites and shared with friends. Sometimes mobile phones become a tool in the hands of bullies who seek to embarrass a student. These are possibilities that a school needs to be prepared for and it is best to keep them in mind when formulating a policy about mobile phones in schools.
Mobile phones allow for instant communication and that is one of the incredible wonders of modern communication. There is no real turning the clock back on this useful innovation but it may be worth examining where every student needs such instant ability to communicate. It may be advisable to make sure that a student is mature enough to use it sparingly and has the ability to not be distracted by it. This is an assessment that has to be made on an individual basis. A parent may need to figure out the benefits of mobile phones and compare them with the risks and then decide whether the pros outweigh the cons before handing over a mobile phone to their kids.