Cellphones are an extension of who we are today. Many of us put our calendars, contacts, and personal information into our phones. It is our alarm clock, our link to the internet, and it even allows us to make a phone call or text someone too.
Many families are giving their students a cellphone today in the same way that families in the past provided other rite of passage items. In some ways, it is comparable to earning a driver’s license. Kids get one when they show they can be responsible with it or the family has a need for their child to have one.
That means more cellphones are showing up in schools every year. In the United States, Tech Crunch reports that the average age for a child to receive their first phone is now 10 years of age. Child tablet ownership has risen from 26% to 55% since 2012.
Here are the pros and cons of having cellphones in schools to consider.
List of the Pros of Cellphones in School
1. Cellphones offer students unique learning opportunities.
A cellphone provides multiple layers of learning assistance for students today. Educational apps can bring lesson plans alive, creating interactive learning experiences that help students retain more information. Music can be played, giving a student more chances to focus on the work they need to complete. It gives students access to a complete database of information about subject matters they are interested in while in school.
2. Cellphones provide another layer of personal security.
Between 1992-2016, the total victimization rates for students between the ages of 12 to 18 actually declined in the United States. Even specific crime types, such as violent victimization, theft, and serious violence all declined during this period. At the same time, however, 79% of public schools recorded at least one incident of violence, theft, or crime. By having a cellphone available for a student, there is another layer of personal security available to a student. If they feel they are in trouble, they can call an emergency contact number for help.
3. Cellphones offer an opportunity for social encounters.
Learning in school involves more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Students are also learning how to interact with one another. Online interactions are just as important as in-person interactions as part of the learning experience. Cellphones give students a chance to engage with each other through text, social media, and other online forums. By teaching them how to have healthy relationships now, it becomes possible to prevent the toxicity found in so many online environments available today.
4. Cellphones provide opportunities for multimedia learning.
With a cellphone, teachers can tell students to look up a specific video and watch it at their desk or table. Then the teacher can talk about the concepts presented on that video as part of the learning experience. Students today are exposed to multiple forms of content every day. Visual learning makes it possible to retain large amounts of information in a short attention period. It also gives students a chance to experience lessons from a perspective different from their own or from their teacher.
5. Cellphones provide students with access to more information.
Video learning is just one type of information available to students with a cellphone. With this tool, a student can look up information about something they may not fully understand while it is being taught. Online resources can provide a full curriculum about specific subject matters for students to review. Learning tools, such as playing games, are more available through a cellphone than other learning opportunities. As long as students can identify authentic information resources, this is a benefit with almost unlimited potential.
6. Cellphones provide access to research.
A cellphone can also become part of the learning process when teachers use it to encourage students to complete research tasks. Being able to locate specific information items is becoming a component of many job responsibilities today. Practicing how to identify and use relevant research in a safe classroom environment gives students a skill that they can use for their future vocation.
List of the Cons of Cellphones in School
1. Cellphones make it easier for students to cheat.
Students don’t need to write the answers on their arm any more if they’re trying to cheat on a test. All they need to do is find the answer key to the test, then use their cellphone to record or text the answers. Students can also text each other with specific answers, copy reports directly from the internet, or even use a service like Fiverr to potentially hire a writer to complete their homework for them. Although taking cellphones away during testing and services like Copyscape can catch plagiarism, it takes more time out of a teacher’s schedule to ensure the learning process is authentic with cellphones around.
2. Cellphones are not free.
Not every student is going to have a cellphone in school. Some students may have parents which do not permit them to own one for various reasons. Some students may live in households where they cannot afford to own a cellphone at all. 95% of Americans may own a cellphone today, but 1 in 4 households do not own a smartphone. By allowing this tool to be permitted for some, but not all, it could create bigger educational achievement gaps instead of reducing them from a socioeconomic perspective.
3. Cellphones disconnect students from the real world.
For the modern student, an online friend can be a best friend, just like a pen pal could be a best friend from previous generations. The danger here is that more students are willing to meet strangers they’ve met online and consider to be friends than students who wanted to meet pen pals. Girls are especially vulnerable with this. 79% of girls who have met new friends online through social media are more likely to interact with them in other ways. Pew Research notes that 95% of teens spend time with their friends outside of school, which brings the “stranger danger” threat into the classroom when cellphones are present.
4. Cellphones offer ongoing access to bullying.
One of the biggest issues that students face with a cellphone is cyberbullying. In the past, home could be a place of refuge from bullies. If a student has a cellphone, then rumors, threats, and harassment can continue around the clock. 1 in 3 students currently reports that they have been bullied online at least once. 1 in 4 students say that they saw something mean or hurtful said about them online in the past month. 1 in 5 students said that they saw something false presented as being true posted online about them in the past month.
5. Cellphones create relationship disconnects.
With a cellphone, it is easier for students to feel connected to the world. That also means a cellphone makes it easier to be disconnected from your family and friends. Some students spend more time engaged with their cellphone than they do with family events, organized sports, or even social activities with their friends. When a cellphone is in the classroom, there is a good chance that these disconnects will occur there too.
6. Cellphones create a safety concern for students.
1 in 5 teens in the United States has received an unwanted sexual solicitation through their online activities. Only 25% of students talk to their parents about these unwanted conversations when they occur. That’s especially important considering the willingness of many students to meet someone in-person that they have only known online. 8% of teens say that they met someone in-person when they had only known them from the internet before.
7. Cellphones split the attention of the student.
Even in a perfect world, where nothing bad could happen to a student, a cellphone would still be a questionable call. That is because the student must divide their attention between the teacher and the device. This forces a change in attention, which creates a similar reaction within the brain to multitasking. Only 2% of humans are effective multitaskers, which means more information loss is likely to occur with cellphones in schools instead of information retention.
8. Cellphones offer access to mature content.
A student may do everything right. They might study hard every night, support charities, attend religious services, and perform community service and still accidentally reach mature content through their cellphone. With the prevalence of fake news, sexually explicit links, and websites that offer questionable content, no parent lock is foolproof. An accidental click could get a student into a lot of trouble at school.
9. Cellphones may also create health concerns.
The blue light produced by modern screens is known to be a stimulant for students dealing with hyperactivity issues. Increased screen time is also associated with impulsive decisions, addictive-like behaviors, and an overall lack of focus.
The pros and cons of having cellphones in schools must be balanced with other technology options. This debate happened when computers were first introduced into schools. We’ll likely have it again when new technologies are introduced. We must look at these key points for individual students to ensure the greatest benefits are achieved.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.
It can create all-day exposure to bullying behavior, create feelings of inadequacy, and even inspire isolation. If social learning is properly focused, however, the presence of a cellphone in the classroom can help students engage with others when they may be uncomfortable with extroverted actions.What are the 10 advantages and disadvantages of mobile phone? ›
|1. Convenient communication with family and friends||1. Distraction from important tasks and responsibilities|
|2. Access to emergency services and assistance||2. Health issues such as eye strain, neck pain, and radiation exposure|
While students being addicted to cell phones can be a problem, schools should allow students to carry cell phones with them because of their freedom to practice self-discipline with their phone usage, maximize school resources, and students' safe. Additionally, phones also maximize school resources.What are 5 reasons phones should not be allowed in school? ›
- ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT. ...
- IT'S EVEN BETTER FOR AT-RISK STUDENTS. ...
- CUTS DOWN ON SCREEN TIME. ...
- REDUCES CYBERBULLYING. ...
- THE EMERGENCY DEBATE.
The rationale against cellphones in schools is that excessive exposure to the devices will have a negative effect on school-aged kids – lowering grades, promoting cyberbullying and even increasing the likelihood of teenage anxiety, depression and suicide. Kids can be sneaky, too.What are the negative impacts of phones on students? ›
The most common ones are headaches, dizziness, fatigue, neck pain, and eyestrain. These problems can be caused by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by phones. Students need to be able to focus on their studies. But it can be difficult to concentrate if you're constantly using your phone.Should kids have cell phones pros and cons? ›
Even though a cell phone can provide the safe communication you want your child to have, it can also provide him the freedom to communicate with anyone. Increased independence could be a virtue, but it opens the door to the potential dangers of cyber-bullying, sexting, or even just excessive distractions.What are the benefits of smartphones for kids? ›
Smartphone learning encourages communication and collaboration and helps kids overcome geographical or economic barriers. Location services such as Foursquare or Google Latitude are godsends for parents. Instead of having to call your child every time you want to know where he is, you can simply locate him on the map.What are 5 disadvantages of a phone? ›
- Never-Ending Interruptions. ...
- Distracted Drivers. ...
- Negative Impact on Personal Contact. ...
- Health Effects. ...
- Bottomless Money Pit. ...
- Privacy and Tracking Concerns. ...
- Mental Health Effects on Children.
- The leak of Security and Privacy. Our daily lives now can't function without our smartphones. ...
- Distance from loved ones. ...
- Accidents during driving. ...
- Health problem. ...
- Waste of Time. ...
- Sleep problems. ...
- Distraction. ...
Improving The Attitudes of Students
Allowing students phone use during lunch would help create a balance of having the time of the day to enjoy themselves, and having a time of the day to work hard. JFK High and their staff are often open to new ideas, so using phones during lunch is worth giving a shot.
Teachers often have rules to keep student cell phones away and silent throughout the class period. But phones can help students in school as much as phones help us in all other aspects of our lives. Student cell phones can become a resource and tool for educational purposes.Why should school start later? ›
Learn how starting school later can help adolescents get enough sleep and improve their health, academic performance, and quality of life.Should cellphones be allowed in school conclusion? ›
Conclusion. In conclusion, cell phones should be allowed in school, especially for students in grades 10, 11 and 12, because they can be used for school work and are a cheaper alternative for laptops. Banning cell phones for students will not stop them using them.Why should phones be allowed in school Wikipedia? ›
People who support the use of mobile phones believe that these phones are crucial for safety by allowing children to communicate with their parents and guardians, could simplify many school matters, and argue that it is important in today's world that children learn how to deal with new media properly as early as ...Should mobile phones not be allowed in school essay? ›
Using cell phones during school allows students to cheat. Students will be more distracted by cell phones and pay less attention to the teacher and to the lesson. Students have a higher chance of getting in trouble if they use cell phones in school rather than if they are not allowed to use digital devices in school.Why phones are bad for high school students? ›
While some educators feel there's a place for smartphones in the classroom, others see them as a distraction and source of cyberbullying. And research indicates they can have a negative effect on learning and attention.Why should kids not have phones? ›
Scientists have found out that overexposure to gadgets can lead to excessive functions, lack of attention, cognitive delays, enhanced impulsivity, learning impairment and reduction in ability for self-regulation. A recent study revealed that 60% of parents don't make strict observance to their kids using gadgets.Should kids have cell phones? ›
Generally, a kid who always has adult supervision does not necessarily need a phone. The adults, such as you and an after-school care provider, might already be communicating with each other as needed. Once your child is spending unsupervised time with peers, getting a phone may become more necessary.Should phones be allowed in school statistics? ›
94% of students want to use their cell phones in class for academic purposes; 75% believe it has improved their ability to learn and retain information, and 41% use them to Google answers to in-class questions.
Pressure on parents
By the time kids are in middle school, the pressure from kids can be intense, and parents worry that their child will feel isolated if other kids have phones and they don't. According to Common Sense Media, 42 percent of kids have a phone by age 10. By age 12, it's 71 percent.
Despite all the benefits, the negative impact of phones on social skills is evident. Phones only provide temporary satisfaction immediately after usage and they can actually increase loneliness and depression. They also allow people to avoid social interactions.Are phones a distraction to students? ›
The paper also found that multitasking—for example, toggling between multiple screens or between screens and people—impairs a child's ability to learn and work effectively. Students tend to be highly susceptible to the kinds of distractions smartphones provide.How do phones affect children? ›
Multiple studies link addictive relationships with mobile devices to mental health problems in teens, including depression, anxiety, and disrupted sleep. Neuroscience tells us that tweens' and teens' developing brains make them especially vulnerable to both addiction and mental health crises.What are pros and cons of a phone? ›
- Pro: Emergency Services are easily and quickly contacted. ...
- Pro: Quickly access safety information. ...
- Pro: Communication. ...
- Con: Cell phones are a primary cause of distracted driving. ...
- Con: Equipment operations require focus. ...
- Con: Productivity and focus may be adversely affected.
- Internet search/web browsing.
- Phone calls.
- Listening to music.
- Using social media apps.
- Sharing/sending photos and videos.
Cell phones emit low levels of radio frequency energy, a type of non-ionizing radiation. The available scientific data on exposure to radio frequency energy show no categorical proof of any adverse biological effects other than tissue heating.How do phones help students? ›
Through smartphones, students can explore new things in an enjoyable manner rather than going through whole books to find the desired information. Moreover, they can get access to any book or educational site within seconds and at any time of the day.Do phones help kids learn? ›
The existing studies provide evidence that allowing phones in the classroom negatively impacts test scores and long-term learning retention. There are some correlational studies that suggest negative relationships between off-task device use and student achievement.What are the 5 advantages and disadvantages of mobile devices? ›
- #1 Communication. The use of mobile phones has significantly improved communication. ...
- #2 Education. ...
- #3 Social Media. ...
- #4 Building Businesses. ...
- #5 Life Saver. ...
- #1 Hearing Issue. ...
- #2 Problems with the Vision. ...
- #3 Concerns About General Health.
Smartphones Can Impair Social and Emotional Skills
This makes it more difficult to establish interpersonal connections and strong relationships, which are important for mental health and the health of the community at large.
Excessive smartphone use can disrupt your sleep, which can have a serious impact on your overall mental health. It can impact your memory, affect your ability to think clearly, and reduce your cognitive and learning skills. Encouraging self-absorption.How do smartphones affect youth? ›
Kids and teens who use social media tend to have low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and poor quality sleep according to the British Psychological Society.How do phones affect your eyes? ›
Phone screens, and other digital devices, generate blue light differently than natural sources. As a result, the blue light scatters more in the eye, creating more visual noise. The overstimulation leads to eye strain.What is the positive and negative impact of smartphone? ›
smartphones have had a significant impact on our society, both positive and negative. While they have increased connectivity and productivity, they have also led to addiction, social isolation, and other negative effects.What are the disadvantages of telephone? ›
You generally have to pay for every minute you spend on the call. In the case of mobile or overseas calls, that can be expensive. There might be noise or interference so the quality of the call could be poor. With mobile calls you might move out of the range of a transmitter and so the call gets cut off.Are cell phones good or bad in the classroom? ›
While some educators feel there's a place for smartphones in the classroom, others see them as a distraction and source of cyberbullying. And research indicates they can have a negative effect on learning and attention.Why shouldn't we ban cell phones in school? ›
It is a device that can do more than just help us communicate and should not be looked at as a toy or plaything by old school tutors. These devices bring so much to the table when it comes to a student's education because they can record lectures, read and download books, use maps, listen to lessons and more.Why cell phones should shouldn t be allowed to use at schools? ›
In conclusion, mobile phones should not be allowed in schools. They can be a major distraction for students, a source of bullying and harassment, and a security risk. Instead, schools should focus on creating a learning environment that is free from distractions and promotes academic excellence.What are the positives of phones? ›
A mobile phone lets you do a multitude of things, such as play games, stream online content, watch videos, read books, listen to music, and so forth. It's safe to say that one can never get bored alone, if they have a cell phone. Whereas landline numbers are only for receiving and outgoing calls.
Mobile made communication easier, as just by pressing some keys on mobile, we can contact our friends, family members or colleagues, and others at any time. Mobile also gives us a facility to contact our fellow person with voice calls, video calls, text messages, recorded calls, and many more.
“Higher addictive phone use scores associated with poorer academic achievement, such as lower grades,” Domoff said. It's not only among teens and tweens — she said previous studies have linked excessive phone use and lower GPA among college students.Why should kids have phones? ›
Having a phone of their own may help kids socialize and build friendships. Older kids and teens may also use their phones to plan group schoolwork and social gatherings, or even play games together. "Phones can be a tool to promote social skills, such as using them to FaceTime with friends and family," says Reena B.Do students learn better with their phones in class? ›
In addition to practicing self-discipline to improve overall academic performance, in-class cell phone usage is also considered a cost-efficient study aid. Cheryl Cirelli of LovetoKnow stated in her article, “Pros of Cellphones in School,” that cellphones are great substitutes for computers in a lacking classroom.