Do You Think Mobile Phones Should Be Allowed in Classrooms?

It seems everyone has a mobile phone now, and that trickles down to schoolchildren as well. While it can be great for many reasons, it can be difficult in a classroom situation. Do you think mobile phones should be allowed in classrooms?

Technology can move very quickly at times. In the last twenty years, we have gone from mobile phones being a novelty to being something necessary. Many students, both children and teenagers, have their own mobile phones. This phenomenon crept up so quickly that it was hard for schools to establish rules for phones. While many times schools started out saying they would not be allowed in the classroom, it was hard to stop that push in technology, and mobile phones are now often overlooked in classrooms. Students can argue that they can use their phones in the classroom for research purposes, spelling help, geography maps, etc., but while they can do that, they can also be posting to Facebook, taking selfies, and Snapchatting. For parents, it can be a good thing as well, as their kids can let them know they’ll be staying late after school or that they aren’t feeling well and want to come home early. It can also lead to trouble as kids have to keep a close eye on their phones, as they can easily be stolen or damaged by another student.

How do you feel about it? Is the situation too far gone to bring about any changes? Does the positive in the situation overrule the negative? Or does this type of thing need to be stopped before it gets worse?

Do you think mobile phones should be allowed in classrooms?

11 comments

  1. My son should be able to contact me in the event of any emergency. If there is a shooter or other emergency (earthquake — we’re i n California), I don’t want his phone to be sitting in a locked drawer in the teacher’s desk.

    • How often has your son called you because of a real emergency? And I don’t mean because he forgot his lunch or his homework. Real emergencies occur very infrequently. Learning goes on for most of the school day. If kids used their phones only in case of an actual emergency, I would agree with you. However, they use their phones as a distraction from having to learn. They text each other. They play games on their phones. They listen to music. The only emergency is that kids do not learn what they are supposed to.

      BTW – my wife has worked as a teacher’s aide for the past 20 years so my comments are not based on suppositions.

      • It’s great that you have this perspective from the teachers’ point of view, but there is also the perspective of the parent to consider. I’ve lived through the emergencies as a parent. I’ve lived through having my child’s phone lost or stolen. I’ve lived through the texting me when they shouldn’t have been. It’s better with them having their own phone. When there were bomb threats at the school or fires set in the trashcans, I had more information from my children texting me than I had from the school’s emergency calling system or from the police. That said, when my child’s phone was stolen, the administrators at the school admitted that the cell phone problem took them off guard. They had no idea how to curb the situation. HIgh school kids don’t have strict study halls anymore. It has nothing to do with the cell phones. It has to do with the how our education system has evolved. They’re allowed to play on their phones, and also play cards or Uno. Even without the cell phones, they’re still being social more than what we were allowed when we were in school. The cell phones aren’t the problem.

        • We must agree to disagree.
          What the education system is and where it is going can provide topics for many discussions.

          As Tracie Lee says below, we and our parents survived without cell phones. My two kids went through the education system and are now in college so I’ve been there as a parent. As a parent, I am of two thoughts about being notified about emergencies, either real or perceived, in school. On the one hand I want to know what might be happening to my child, but on the other hand, there is nothing I can do about it. If the emergency is a false alarm, there is nothing for me to do. If it is a real emergency, police/fire/medical/school personnel will handle it much better without my “assistance.”

          On 9/11 I was at work, about 30 miles from home. After the second tower fell, we were dismissed. I got home about an hour before my kids got off the school bus. The buses could not leave the school grounds because so many parents were trying to pick up their kids that they blocked all access. I know that is an extreme example but had the parents not known, their kids would have been home at least an hour sooner.

          Had your child not taken his/her phone to school, it would not have been stolen.

          • What you’re missing here is that not every circumstance is as you have experienced. If there’s a bomb threat at the school, I damn well better know about it. I don’t want to hear a preprogrammed message on my phone telling me that the building has been cleared out because of an emergency and that I’ll be notified as the situation progresses. It’s my kids, and I want to know now. I want to decide if I can go pick them up or if they can stay there. It’s my right as a parent.

            It’s ridiculous to count back to what it was like when we were growing up. It will never be like that again. I wasn’t even allowed to put my head down on my desk during a study hall, and now kids are allowed to play cards, text, talk to each other, listen to music, etc. It has nothing to do with cell phones. It has to do with the times changing. So saying we didn’t have this or that is moot. We were a different group with different allowances. I also wouldn’t have cursed at school, but the F bomb is dropped regularly in classrooms now, and it’s overlooked.

            You’re right that her phone wouldn’t have been stolen had she not brought it to school. But it also wouldn’t have been stolen if she would have put it away. This is what she learned from the experience. It was recovered later, and the young woman who had stolen it was living in a home for underprivileged kids. She was forced to do extra work to make restitution to pay for the phone charges she racked up on my account. So I’d venture to say she learned something as well.

            Life is different in 2015. It’s absurd to say we should go back to the way it was 20, 30, 40 years ago.

  2. i agree with suzie, everybody NEEDS to be able to contact emergency personal/family in case of emergency at ALL times. no exceptions, no limitations. just limit the normal conversations.

    • as a child of the 70s and 80s we had no cell phones and we did just fine in the class room. In the 1980s we had our share of bomb threats and crime and other things and not having a phone did no particular harm to anyone. I think if kids have a cell phone it should be put away during class. They should be able to have it for emergencies, like you say, but they should not have them out during class where they can be used for cheating, posting to facebook, etc. I also know that schools have internet blockers that can block facebook and any other sites that they don’t want the kids on. This could be done also to minimize distractions in school.

  3. yes!

    enough of the show your work philosophy. That only stops potential genuises from becoming.

    We need to push towards learning to do something with the tools around us.
    Just because grandpa and all the other grandpa’s built there house with a hammer doesn’t mean i’m allowed to use a nailgun.

    The more we let our children use tech in school, the more they will jump in knowledge faster than we couldve when we were younger. The world will change in our lifetimes then as all those kids compete for the market.

    Let it happen.
    Regards,
    DeerSpotter

    • “The more we let our children use tech in school”
      Phones are not tools for learning. Drones and robots are cutting edge technology. Following your logic, kids should be allowed to play with drones and robots during their classes.

      If Granpa spent his time on a phone instead of hammering nails, neither a hammer not a nail gun would have gotten the house built.

      • I dont agree, If Grandpa learned how to use a nailgun before a hammer. He wouldve built 2 houses instead of one. Who knows; just because it was so easy with a nailgun grandpa continued to build more, where-as he might of quit on the first time around because of the only tools available.

        I sat in math class yearning to learn math all the highschool years of my life. But i would always fail because i needed to show work. My brain doesn’t work that way. I think ahead beyond the problem, not on the problem itself. But yet i would get the equations and be able to do them on a calculator really quickly. Learning the math is more important than knowing the details of your subject. Being a mechanic doesn’t require you to know how to build those parts; only replace them.

        Scientific discoveries are never discovered on paper.

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