Teachers are interrupted in class by phone calls even when the phone is set to vibrate instead of ring. Texting goes on during class, and some students become more focused on the texting than they are on classroom instruction.
Setting-up the teacher or substitute teacher for a YouTube video is another negative use of the cell phone in school. One can argue that a student is just documenting an incompetent teacher with sound and video to show administrators and his/her parents what is going on in class.
Making the Case
Some parents insist they need to stay in touch with their children in case of an emergency like a real or "phony" scare at school. A student with a car could have a flat tire or other car problems on the way to or from school.
Students returning from an away activity might not have access to a school phone or the school phone waiting lines may be long. Calling to alert parents when their activities bus (ex: used for "away" athletic and other events) is nearing the school could save time for parent and child.
Maybe only several pay phones are available for students to use. If a student is kidnapped, the GPS unit can be used to track him/her. These are just some of the reasons why some students and parents want to have access to a cell phone in school.
Basically, it is just cool to have a cell phone, especially if the parents (better yet if the student) can afford one! From the parent's point of view, it is another way of keeping in touch (that's code for keeping track of their children). For the student, a cell phone can be a status symbol.
Does the good part of having a phone cancel out the bad part? Some students acknowledge the damage done by some with inappropriate use of a cell phone. Educators have legitimate concerns about cheating, texting, sexting, and cyberbullying.
However, the students contend that the majority of students use the cell phone constructively while obeying all school rules. Being in contact with their parents or being able to contact emergency personnel, if necessary, is vital to them.
Many parents agree. It presents an unfortunate set of new problems for educators at school, but at the same time allows the parents to contact their child to confirm appointments, acknowledge cancelled or rescheduled events, or serve as communication device in case of emergencies. Some parents agree that other parents might abuse the use of the cell phone just calling to say hello, while others might contend that this is a harmless way of keeping in touch with their loved ones.
APA Style: Invernizzi, J. (2011). "Cell Phone: Does Your Child Need One?" Retrieved April 21, 2012, from EducationDx, USA. Web site: http://www.educationdx.com/cell-phone.html (Updated April 21, 2012.)
Pros and Cons!
Other pages of interest:
Portable communications have evolved from a mobile telephone to a bag phone to a handheld cell phone (with plenty of others before and in between). We now have a smartphone, which is really a "desktop computer in your hand." How important are these "phones" and does a student need any phone at school?
Cell phones are among the most stolen items in school. Some educators state that cell phones are a distraction, and are used to "help" (cheat) on tests, take inappropriate photos (e.g., especially in restrooms and locker rooms), and coordinate gang meetings. Candid photos are often posted on a social website or other pages on the Internet to embarrass students or school personnel. Some students record each other's conversations, ask probing questions, and then use them to instigate fights!
Cell Phone: Does Your Child Need One?
John Invernizzi, Ph.D.
Smart Cell Phone
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Some send inappropriate photos and videos through the Internet or in messages to other cell phones users. "Bomb scares" are called in with throwaway cell phones, and drug deals have been set up before, during, and after school. Some students use a cell phone to alert other students to the whereabouts of the principal and teachers.
"Does that include any mobile device?"
There is a growing trend to have students use their smartphones and other mobile devices as learning tools. Some educators have found that these tools help students to become more interested in lessons. Where school district policy permits, some classroom teachers allow class relevant phone usage while students are working on labs or class assignments, however, the phones/devices must be "off" during other class activities.
Educators want to keep students on task and excited about learning. With effective planning, the use of mobile devices in class will have most students too busy participating to lose interest in class activities.
This may be the case, but others may be doing this to post their catch on YouTube for attention. This could become a legal issue because of some wiretapping laws that may prohibit recording people without their knowledge or permission.