Text, or Turn It off? The Pros and Cons of Having a Cell Phone in School
Let’s face it, we live in a time where cell phones are just about as common as the hands they’re glued to. Cell phones are more than just the advanced phone booths they used to be, they have evolved into our personal computers, communication tools, calculators, flashlights and social media sources, all wrapped up into one pocket-sized package. While cell phones are definitely a part of everyday life, it’s important to know that in certain situations (such as in school) using a cell phone may come with consequences. Let’s take a look at some of the consequences and benefits of having a cell phone in school, and discuss when it’s time to plug in and when it’s time to slide that power button off.
When used for the right reasons, cell phones can be great! What are some of the benefits of having a cell phone in school?
- Stay connected! Like we said earlier, we live in a digital era that is centered around the use of technology. Cell phones are an excellent use of technology when used correctly. Some schools connect with students through a variety of school-based apps that allow students to check their grades, exam schedules, school announcements and even check themselves in for attendance. Using a cell phone for school purposes during the appropriate times is a great way to stay connected. Remember: Timing is everything! Only use your cell phone during school when your teacher permits you to do so.
- Stay safe. Sometimes walking or taking public transportation to and from school can get a little scary, especially if you’re alone. Should you ever feel like you’re in danger, it’s important to be able to call for help if you need it. Having a cell phone during an emergency allows you to call for help, and stay safe. Remember: Never use your cell phone during a lockdown situation.
- Don’t have time to write down the homework or readings? Snap a quick pic of the board! If you are pressed for time to get to your next class and can’t seem to jot down the homework fast enough, take a quick picture of it with your phone. You’ll save time, and you’ll be able to go through your photos when you get home and see exactly what needs to be done. But keep in mind, this isn’t a substitute for taking notes, and should only be done when you’re pressed for time. Remember: Never take a picture without your teacher’s permission, and if approved, take the photo after class is over to avoid disruption.
Cell phones in the classroom can come with consequences, too. What are some of the cons to having a cell phone in school?
- “Sorry, can you repeat that? I wasn’t listening.” Cell phones can be a huge distraction during school! Between texting with your friends or solving a math equation, most students would probably say they’ll let math take a back seat. This may result in a loss of focus, falling behind in class, and missing valuable information. Avoid the temptation all together and turn your cell phone off and put it away during class time.
- Phone go off during an exam? Be prepared to take a zero. Most school have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to cell phones during exams, and you may face serious academic penalty if you have it with you during test time. Avoid the risk. Turn it off and put it away during class time, especially during an exam.
- Using your cell phone during class time, without your teacher’s permission? You may find this is a one-way ticket to the principal’s office. Being on your phone during class time not only takes away from your learning, it distracts those around you. Unapproved cell phone use in class may result in phone confiscation, detention, or a talk with your principal. To top it off, using your cell phone during class is disrespectful to your teacher. Imagine if you had to give a class presentation and instead of your classmates giving you their undivided attention, you saw them scrolling through their Twitter feed? You would probably say you felt they were being disrespectful, so give the same respect to your teacher that you would want others to give to you.
So, what’s a good rule of them when it comes to cellphones in school? Only use it for academic purposes when approved by your teacher, and use your best judgement. If it’s time to listen and work, pick your pencil up and put the phone away.