1. Education

Using Cell Phones at School

Appropriate Under Certain Conditions Of Use


Boys playing on a cell phone at school
Alistair Berg/Iconica/Getty Images
Most schools have rules about using cell phones. Students are allowed to have them but must abide by the rules concerning when and where to use them. But the bottom line is that having a cell phone is a very good thing. Let's look at a few reasons why.

The Nightmare

Any parent will tell you that his worst nightmare is not knowing where his child is. A thousand gut wrenching scenarios run through his mind: Is my child ok? Has she been kidnapped? In an accident?

It's much worse for a big city parent. The variables increase exponentially to the point where you become a nervous wreck. Subways, buses, the weather, purse snatching, hanging around the wrong friends - supply your own worries about your children. That's why cellphones are such a wonderful tool. They allow for instant communication with your child by voice or text message. Cell phones can turn an emergency into a relatively easily handled and controlled event. They can give instant peace of mind. Of course, I am assuming that your child is honest and is where he says he is when you call.

Cell Phones Are Allowed in Most Private Schools

In private schools the prevailing view is that cell phones are here to stay. They are an essential line of communication between frantically busy parents and their children. As a result, most private schools allow cell phones on their premises with the understanding that phones must be turned off during class and only used under certain conditions and in specified places.

Most schools have very specific guidelines written into their handbooks and acceptable use policy manuals. All students agree to abide by those rules both while on the school premises and also while under the school's jurisdiction when off campus.

The Opposing View

There is ample evidence of cell phones being a distraction in school. Small size and inaudible, high-pitched ring tones make cell phones easy to hide and use. It is a proven fact that adults over 30 cannot hear some of the high-pitched ring tones teens use deliberately for that reason. Cell phones can be used to cheat, to call the wrong people and to bully classmates. For these reasons many teachers and administrators want cell phones banned from school. The sensible approach is to create a set of rules and policies regarding cell phone use and enforce them.

Post 9/11 Stress

This makes great sense to me. After all 9/11 changed everything for most Americans. Shootings in schools and snipers who shoot just for the heck of it add to the overarching worry about terrorist attacks. Knowing that your child can call you and that you can call them is a small reassurance which all parents have the right to expect.

From the Media

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