Pros and Cons of Cell Phones In Schools

May 1, 2013 01:41:01Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Pros and Cons of Cell Phones In Schools

Mobile phones are an everyday part of life for modern workers, but are they also useful tools for students? There have been many arguments for and against smart phones in classrooms, with proponents saying they can boost learning and opponents citing mobile privacy threats and other issues. Let's take a look at both sides of the argument:

PRO: Kids Need to Keep Up With Technology
The purpose of formal education is to equip our children with the skills necessary to compete in the global economy when they are older. By allowing them to use their cell phones in conjunction with classwork, we'll ensure that they are able to keep up with the most cutting edge technology - something that is arguably quite necessary in today's age. Kids who graduate from school without having learned how to use their smart phone for research purposes may find themselves lagging behind their peers - including youngsters from other nations.

CON: Mobile Phones Are a Major Distraction
Anyone who has spent time with middle schoolers knows their attention spans are typically quite short. Cell phones are distracting no matter who you are - think about how many times you've put off work to glance at a text message or check in on your Facebook feed. Kids will face these same issues in the classroom. Instead of focusing on the lesson plan, they'll be surreptitiously tapping away on their smart phones under their desks. Unlike computers, which sit on a table all day, cell phones are with us all the time, meaning that they will be a constant source of distraction for youngsters.

PRO: Cell Phones Can Facilitate Learning
Cell phones aren't only about social networking, however. A smart phone is essentially a small computer, and it's easy to see how they can be used to facilitate learning. Teachers can allow students to do independent research using the internet on their phones, which may be particularly useful for schools that have limited tech budgets or outdated computers. Furthermore, it's likely that kids will use their smart phones when doing homework after class, so it may be best for them to use the phone during school hours so they aren't lost when they get home.

CON: Mobile Bullying Is a Big Problem
The issue of school bullying has been in the spotlight recently, and many are focusing on the fact that cell phones open up new avenues for bullies to target their victims. Mobile devices make it possible for kids to receive threats and taunts even after they've returned home for the day. For this reason, some parents equip their child's mobile device with a second phone number that can be used at school, reserving their primary number for family and friends. That way, if a youngster's classmates begin to bully him or her via the cell phone, the temporary phone number can be thrown out and replaced. 

No matter which side of the debate you fall on, it's important that you take time to weigh these pros and cons before agreeing to let your child bring his or her cell phone into the classroom.