Staff Ed: Teachers should create their own cell phone policies

Cell phones can be disruptive for a class; however, they also could provide another resource, and teach students self-control.

New laws in France limit the use of cell phones for some students. With these changes comes the question: when should students be given a cell phone, and is this new rule good for the development of children? Technology can be a beneficial and useful tool; however, parents need to be more strict with limiting their child’s access to technology in order to foster social skills and engaged learning in the classroom.

As millennials become parents, they are starting to lean on technology to entertain their children throughout their hectic lives. Whether or not a child gets to watch TV for one hour or twelve, it is up to the parents completely; however, in school, the use of cell phones should be regulated to some degree, certainly more than they are regulated in most public schools, whether they are middle schoolers or high schoolers being distracted.

For both middle schoolers and high schoolers, cell phones are a great tool for parents to stay in touch with their kids and for teachers to use them as a teaching tool in the classroom. France’s limit to cell phones paves the path to limiting technology around the world; however, it fails to understand how some teachers might find personal devices a desirable tool in the classroom.

These laws beg the question: Are cell phones better-educating students through their near-limitless connections to others around the world, or are they creating another obstacle between young people and accurate information?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. To completely abolish the use of cell phones in schools, even going so far as to forbid them to be brought to school at all, doesn’t recognize their everyday uses and the necessary use of communicating with parents.

As high school students, they should be trusted with cell phones because how else will they learn self-control and social skills? While it might be frowned upon in college, there are no cell phone policies in college. By limiting their use, kids are more likely to be fantasizing about each text, but if it was up to each teacher’s discretion, students would be in charge of if they succeed or fail based on how distracted they are in class.

On the opposing side, one student making the choice not to pay attention in class could distract other students and the teacher making the learning environment detrimental.

The solution for this difficult problem is not as simple as banning all cell phones for French middle schoolers. As a high school, BSM cannot treat the students like children but also needs to foster an environment for all students to thrive.

A possible outcome might be allowing students to use their phones in their own time, whether that be passing time and free periods, but putting the decision on each teacher to make their own cell phone policies in class.

It is ultimately up to the student to use their time wisely and learn the skills only refraining from technology can bring.