(High School Insider)


Opinion: Cell phones should be restricted in classrooms

The main problem with having cell phones in class is the distraction they create.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/elenacupid/" target="_self">Helaine Zhao</a>

Helaine Zhao

May 16, 2022
You look up from your phone. The bell had rung and class was over, but you did not learn a single thing in the past hour because you were too caught up in scrolling through your phone in the corner of the classroom where the teacher could not see. 

This is a common scenario for many students in classrooms around the world today, and this lack of attention due to cell phones is resulting in less learning, more failed classes and more stress after school for students. Therefore, to better prevent these problems, I believe that cell phones should be restricted in classes to reduce the negative effects that come with allowing cell phone usage in school. 

The main problem with having cell phones in class is the distraction they create. In a time of advanced technology and social networking, it is far too easy and common for young students to get lost in their phones and stop paying attention in class. 

For example, in my AP Seminar class, the teacher allows students to have their phones out during independent work, which is basically most of the class time since the course consists of several long-term projects to be completed independently. 

As a result, many of the students spend their time playing and texting on their phones during class instead of using the time wisely to complete the project. Without any restrictions, I see almost every student in the class check their phones at least once throughout every class, including myself. In particular, a student that sits next to me in my AP Seminar class is a clear case study example of how phones can be so distracting. 

Almost on a daily basis, I see her receive a message when she just begins to work. When she replies to that one message, it results in an hour-long spiral of back and forth conversations, spending an exorbitant amount of time on her phone, messaging or scrolling through social media.

She has even turned to me to tell me that she needs to be productive as the project deadline is coming up, yet a few minutes later, picks up her phone and stops working for the remainder of the class. 

Just having the phone placed on the desk is a distraction, tempting the student to not focus on the more important classwork but instead on the endless forms of entertainment available at their fingertips.

It is even more difficult for students to stop after starting on their phones. Therefore, it is arguable to say that cell phones are the biggest distraction for students in school today.

Because cell phones are so distracting, it is crucial to restrict their use in schools. Students should be learning in school, but due to cell phones, there is a lack of attention in class. This results in a variety of problems for students and teachers. 

Students will likely end up with bad grades and missing assignments because they are on their phones instead of learning or completing assignments in class. Teachers will also have to deal with uninvolved students in the class who are likely to receive bad grades. 

This was seen in the student who sat next to me in the AP class as well. Because she was on her phone in class the entire time and did not have enough time to thoroughly create and memorize her presentation.

Class time was given, but because she was too distracted by her phone, she ended up receiving a low grade on her presentation. This could have been avoided if phones were not allowed to be out in class, removing this irresistible temptation from her grasp. 

School is very important for a child’s development, and the purpose of going to school is to receive an education. However, with the distraction of cell phones, many students end up being not as successful as they could have been in their classes. 

It creates problems for students, parents and teachers. Therefore, it is even more crucial for cell phone use to be restricted in a school environment.  

Of course, it can be argued that cell phones can be advantageous in facilitating learning, but in actuality, they are more of a distraction than a tool for school. Although cell phones can be incorporated into classes, they are not necessary, especially since most public schools today are equipped with electronic devices like Chromebooks. 

According to the New York Times, Chromebooks account for more than half the mobile devices shipped to schools and these devices are especially useful in school for several reasons. They include the ability to lock Chromebooks to prevent cheating, to easily share documents no matter which Chromebook is used and more. 

These school devices can carry out all of the technological needs for learning in the classrooms and can also ensure student participation and attentiveness. Personal devices like cell phones cannot be tracked by teachers and lead to inappropriate use.

However, school devices like Chromebooks are able to ensure that students are learning, as many inappropriate sites, like games and social media, are blocked on the school Internet. 

I personally can attest to the effectiveness of using a Chromebook instead of my phone in doing schoolwork in class. A bit bored with the lesson, I had attempted to play a game of 2048 on the Chromebook in class once during a lecture, only to find that it was blocked.

Because of this limitation, I instead chose to pay attention in class and was able to learn the material and spend my class time productively. Without access to these distractions, it is more likely for students to pay attention and learn in class. Therefore, cell phones are not needed to facilitate learning and create more distractions than anything else. 

With millions of students around the world, it is crucial to restrict the use of cell phones in classrooms because most students do not possess the self-control to pay attention in class and avoid picking up their phones.

The result is a lack of attention in classes, bad grades for students, more work for teachers and more stress for students outside of school. Therefore, for students, teachers, the education system and the next generation, it is critical to restrict the use of cell phones in the classroom.

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