*When I was in school, I didn't have a cell phone in my high school. until I have it. Now when I do have my cell phone, I can't really think of life without it. It seems to have become a sickeningly important part of my life. And when I look around today, I find that students as young as 10 are carrying cell phones to school. Which leads to the question - is that really necessary, or is it an extravagance?
Pros and cons of Handphones in school - This topic is a hot spot for debate, if you ask me. Should students have cell phones in school is a difficult question to answer because of the sentimental values attached and societal constraints raised. I don't look to provide any answers, because the final authority rests with the school board and parents. All I will do is raise some issues in both these regards and hope to show you what the cell phones in school pros and cons are.
Pros of Cell Phones in Schools
These are some of the advantages of carrying a cell phone to school.
##) Emergency Contact
There is no doubt that a cell phone allows for the advantage of being able to contact a person directly during an emergency or otherwise. Knowing that a child has a mobile phone puts the parents at ease because they can call them in case of any change in plans, emergency instructions and the like. Similarly, the students can also be in touch with their parents if the need be.
Not only will the children be in touch with the parents for regular instructions like a pick up point or change in time etc., but more importantly, they can also feed in emergency numbers like 911, hospitals, relatives and others. This will provide a security for both, the child and the parents.
##) No Inconvenience
In case a child has not been provided with a phone and the parents needs to contact their child immediately, then they would be forced to go through the school office. As a result, precious time could be lost or the phone line at the school office could be jammed. To add to that, the school office has to make arrangements to send someone to the child in question and convey the message or call him to the office to receive the call - a long drawn process
##) Academic Help
Probably the most important usage of having a cell phone in school is that it can be used as a tool to aid academics. A cell phone comes with several cell phone accessories like calculators, cameras and the Internet etc. These applications can be made use of for furthering academics. Like if a student needs to leave for the next class and does not have the time to jot down the notes on the board, then he can just photograph the board and have access to the information. Or he can use the calendar application on the cell and jot down the date of the upcoming tests. It's not only the students who are aided due to cell phones, but it benefits the teachers just as equally. There are several websites which can be used for academics. If the teachers accommodate the same in their lessons, it could prove to be an advantage for both.
*It has also been seen that students who are allowed access to their phones, understand concepts much more thoroughly and easily and therefore learn better.
Cons of Cell Phones in Schools
* A recent survey indicated that 68% of students in grades 6-12 bring cell phones with them to school on a regular basis. Most high schools set some sort of policies regarding the use of cell phones on their premises. Some ban phones altogether.
*While there are problems with the use of a cell phone in school, many advantages to having one available exist. Schools need to weigh all factors involved in use of cell phones in order to make wise and appropriate decisions. Parents and students should decide together on the wisdom of taking the cell phone to school. This is a partial listing of advantages and disadvantages of cell phone use in high schools.
*The first one is students may need to make arrangements for after-school activities. They may want to go to the library or stay after school to consult with a teacher about an assignment they don't understand. They can use a cell phone to text or leave a voice mail explaining what they are doing so parents can better coordinate with them.
*It must be seen that the main reason by parents to let their children continue to use cell phones is because of safety purposes. If they have the phones, it is easier to reach them and even know where they are. It is also beneficial during emergency situations when the child can either call for help or be located in case he or she is gone missing.
*It is good that most of the phones in the market today have what is known as GPS capability for locating somebody through the cell in case of he or she is lost or missing. These are some of the quite logical reasons why a child should be let be with a phone.
A camera equipped phone can be used to take pictures and video related to school projects or develop photo essays. Camera phones can be used to record school events and field trips. They can prove quite useful for assignments involving photographs, particularly anything going to the web. Just snap a shot with your picture phone and use it for your web classes, which are becoming more and more important these days. This is especially useful given that cell phone cameras are getting better and better with time.
Cell phones can be a distraction in the classroom. Students whose minds wander during a lecture or discussion may find the temptation of texting instead of listening hard to resist. They are also potentially a distraction to the class if the student forgets to set their phone to vibrate rather than ring during calls. Even the vibration can be distracting, and it does not take much for a teacher to lose their momentum.
.Besides, picture phones and other applications such as calculator in particular can be used to cheat on tests and quizzes. Take a picture of the test, send it to your buddy, and get a text back with the answer. Or send it to someone who wants to know what's on the test. The calculator function can be used to cheat on math tests. The risk of potential cheating on academics is one of the main reasons why students are not allowed to bring handphone in school.
Cell phones allow students to communicate not just with students in other classes, but also other schools and even adults that are not in the school environment. There is the potential for social disagreements, and even communication with an adult who is not approved by parents. It can lead to students having episodes of being upset while a teacher is trying to conduct lessons. Banning cell phones won't eliminate social break ups or disagreements, but it can reduce opportunities for these kinds of issues.
Some students like to create bomb threats by calling emergency numbers on their phones. They may try it in restrooms when no one is nearby. They might do so between classes. Which means, that will put a delay for all the classes at school, before an emergency team arrives. Once the students are accused for the threat, they could get arrested and suspended.
With the prevalence of cell phones in high schools, it is important for students, parents, teachers, and administrators to carefully consider how and when they should be used. Policies need to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of cell phones in various situations.
Many academics believe that there should be a banning of cell phones in school. They say that the disadvantages of carrying a cell phone outweigh the advantages. Here's how.
Along with the many applications available on a cell phone, an important one is that of texting. There is no guarantee that a student will not text during class hours. Which, along with posing as a distraction, also affects their concentration on studies and thereby the overall learning process. Not only does the factor of distraction come into the picture in relation to students, but also in relation to teachers and the classroom in general. For example, when the phone starts ringing in class (or even if is on 'vibration mode'), the teacher might lose his/her link of teaching and that will prove to be a major disadvantage for the entire class. Not to mention that it is extremely disrespectful for the teacher who is conducting the class.
The cell phone could turn into a potent device for some students. Instead of using it for academics and emergencies, some students might make unlawful use of its features - like that of the camera, and therefore bring the issue of school safety into the picture. They might click snaps that are not right, or record videos that are questionable in nature or call the school and report a bomb threat as a prank or to cancel classes. They may also use the phone to draw out other illegal activities like drug deals, thefts and the like. So also, if the phone is used extensively, it could lead to an extravagant bill.
Having the Internet on the phone provides for an opportunity to cheat. Students can refer to the Internet for answers on a test, or they could text an accomplice for the answers. They could also photograph information from a textbook and use that to cheat in the test. Neither of these acts leads to any sort of education for the students, but on the other hand, discourages them from working hard.
Sometimes, only the rich kids have cell phones. This can lead to a lot of social problems like hierarchy, jealousy, thefts, ragging and ridicule. This makes the adjustment process in school rather difficult.
The pros and cons of carrying cell phones in school are many, and each of these comes with its own set of valid points. That is why, making a final choice becomes difficult. The way to deal with this problem is to have a proper discussion carried forth with the school authorities and the parents and an appropriate policy be drawn out thus. The main point being - is the cell phone leading to any education or is it a mere distraction?