Cell Phone Use Among Kids

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Banning cell phones in schools during class hours is a common theme but it can sometimes backfire. For schools that have not enforced bans, kids can practice critical thinking when it comes to their mobile phone usage.

One article even discusses how kids can practice using their mobile devices in school responsibly. Many people are immersed in their technological worlds, including kids and teenagers. Because of this, limiting mobile phone usage and banning cell phones in a classroom setting can sometimes be beneficial.

On the other hand, it can possibly lead to behavioral issues such as kids sneakily using them. Many teachers believe that students should follow the firm guidelines that schools set. If they don't, their phones should be confiscated, or their parents should receive a call home.

The opposing belief is that cell phones bans might be unappealing to parents who feel comforted knowing they can reach their child in case of an emergency.

There is also a risk of confiscation of cell phones resulting in noncompliance and unnecessary conflict.

Why are Cell Phones Banned in Schools?

The purpose of school is to optimize the environment so that students can focus, learn, and be present in the moment of what is going on within their classroom.

Many faculty, teachers, and parents fear that if children have accessible cell phones, then they will not pay attention to the material they are learning, they won't socialize in-person with their peers, and that their grades will suffer. This is because updating social media, texting, etc. can be tempting when a child's cell phone is within close reach.

What Are Some Alternatives to Cell Phone Bans?

It is important for schools to foster an environment that is suitable for learning. One way to do this is to treat students with empathy, as well as provide respectful and reasonable solutions to pervasive problems like cell phone usage.

Strategies might include:

Co-creating cell phone-free spaces with students

This issue can be addressed directly and consistently by facilitating conversations about classroom norms with patience and facilitation.

Teachers and students can have open discussions about cell phone usage through surveys pertaining to technology usage, as well as self-help strategies for when students realize they are spending too much time utilizing their devices.

Educating students on the effects of cell phone usage on learning

Lesson plans can be catered to different subject areas, while simultaneously educating students on the various aspects of cell phone usage.

For instance, a mathematics lessons can be centered on cell phone usage statistics, or a history lesson can discuss the historical rises and effects of technology on society throughout time. Other options might include tying cell phone media usage to science by discussing dopamine, the biochemistry of pleasure/reward, and other effects on the brain when using cell phones.

Develop realistic classroom-based strategies

Teachers have the option to empower students by providing them some leniency, as well as ample opportunity to combat possible distractions that cell phones might cause.

For example, teachers can offer cell phone charging stations with the caveat that the phone must be in airplane mode while charging.

Teachers can also give students the chance to put their cell phones in a box to be collected at the end of class or in a Velcro-envelope that they can hold on to.

Incorporate cell phones into lesson plans

Teachers can make lessons more engaging by allowing students to answer polls, or take part in quiz games, by using their cell phones.

Other ideas include requesting that students record fun videos demonstrating what they learned during a particular lesson and sharing it with their peers.

How Can Schools Adapt to Cell Phone and Technology Usage?

Technology has come a long way over the past several decades and it seems that today’s generation is irreversibly engulfed in technology.

Cell phone usage in the classroom is a potential hindrance that can be used for good. The strategies above can help students develop the necessary skills to manage their technology usage more effectively through time, effort, and collaboration.

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