There are different views on the issue concerning if students may use cell phones in contemporary elementary and high schools. Teachers, students, and parents share various points of view on this urgent problem. They have been arguing about their opinions for years and, as a result, have not reached mutual understanding. However, with each year, the problem becomes more urgent. Thus, this paper will deal with the analysis of different opinions on the issue of letting students have phones in elementary and high schools.
One point of view is that cell phones should not be allowed for students in contemporary schools. To start with, the students tend to be distractive in a classroom when they must be completely engaged in the lesson. If they are permitted to use their mobile phones, most of the students would simply use it to play favourite games, send pictures and chat with their friends on the phone but not study.
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In elementary school, the children learn to listen to a teacher, to follow his instructions, and to perform the simplest tasks. In this school, students acquire the basic knowledge in major subjects that will be indispensable for them in the future. Anboucarassy and Begum emphasize that “the presence of cell phones during lessons does not ensure good atmosphere for studying” (17). If a child does not gain this experience in elementary school, it may have inevitable consequences in his/her future.
Last year, the teachers of one of the American high schools conducted a survey and were largely impressed with the final data. According to this recent research, cell phones are proven to have a negative impact on the attention and mental activities of the students in classroom. Teachers asked the grades at the end of the term exam of those students who took phones to school and used them continuously in the classroom. The teachers concluded that the average point included around 52 percent.
Thus, cell phones are distractions in schools. Obringer and Coffey assert that “pupils have started to spend more time with their phones, and become addicted to them” (43). It will eventually lead to neglecting of studies and getting bad grades. The school authorities should put all necessary efforts to reduce the usage of cell phones not only in the course of the lesson, but also during breaks and extracurricular activities. The strict measures are the most effective solution to the emerged problem.
However, when cell phones are completely restricted at schools, many students will still use them secretly. They will manage to find the ways to call or email friends or browse the Internet in the course of a lesson. Therefore, schools should implement a number of specific rules that will prevent such behavior. Finally, all phones must be muted and put in backpacks in the classroom.
Despite the convincing arguments and valid evidence of negative effects of phones on children, there remain many people who deny this viewpoint. This group mostly consists of parents and students themselves. They disagree with the strict policy of most elementary and high schools prohibiting cell phones. Charles argues that “the development of innovative means of communication resulted in increasing popularity of cell phone for all ages, and mainly, for students” (14). There are cases when the usage of cell phone is very helpful.
Thus, students are able to contact with friends or parents in a difficult situation. Taking into consideration this fact, the supporters of the idea that the cell phones should be allowed conclude that it is a benefit to have cell phones in elementary and high school. In a contemporary world that has changed into a dangerous one for people, a cell phone is a useful thing. It may even save the child’s life in the cases of emergency.
The easiest way to receive the information about location is no make a call. Thus, the parents who are not aware of where their children are will be calm if they get to know their location by phone. In many cases, cell phone enables parents to inform or remind a student of some significant things. Swaim points that “a cell phone remains necessary equipment helping teachers to control all students when the class is on an excursion or on a trip to another country” (47).
Furthermore, a mobile phone makes possible a connection between teachers and their students after classes or when a child is ill. For instance, they may send important news. Students in their turn can ask a teacher what they need by calling or sending a message. One should underline the importance of certain useful applications that may be used during the lesson. For instance, students can look for necessary information on the Internet and do not wait in the computer classroom. Moreover, they are able to translate the unknown words or use calculator at the math class.
The supporters of the second view agree that students should reduce their phone use before and after classes, and during the breaks for emergency calls. Swaim points the situation when the students’ use of cell phones was really indispensable. According to him, “there was a crisis at school when the staff and students had to leave the building at once” (Swain 49). Most students called their worrying parents to inform them that they were in safety and nothing serious had happened.
To conclude, the authorities of elementary and high schools must take into account the two mentioned points of view on the cell phone issue. Their main purpose is to benefit their students and ensure appropriate conditions for the process of successful studying. Both of the opinions have reasons and provide valuable arguments. Therefore, the possible way of solving the problem of cell phones at schools is to combine the approaches and select the best suggestions.