Phones in School

Hannah Janvrin and Sarah Janvrin, Journalist

Phones in school have been a big problem and the amount of time kids spend on their phones during class is increasing. Teachers feel as though kids are distracted in the classroom when their phones buzz and to them it seems that students’ attention is never fully on classroom activities. Students often fall behind because of the amount of time they waste on their phones. However, students and teachers also believe phones can be beneficial if they are used in the right way. 

Technology in school has many pros and cons. Students use phones in a variety of positive ways that support their learning. In a survey conducted by six different universities, college students reported using their phones eleven times per day in class. In another study, 92% of college students reported using their phones to send text messages during class. Phones can increase student safety at school by allowing them to contact their parents at any time throughout the day. They can also look up information quickly during class time. Furthermore, many students who suffer from anxiety benefit from listening to music while working on classroom assignments. By having a phone in school, students have access to email and can more easily collaborate with others. 

However, with the large amount of games and social media apps available, phones can be too distracting during class time. Additionally, students are finding new ways to cheat in class with cell phones by communicating with other students. 

A few students at Ipswich High School were asked how many times they use their phones during each class to text friends. They each said they text their friends at least five times a class period. Not a single student surveyed responded that they did not look at their phone at all during class. That said, the majority of the students claim that their phones do not affect their attention during class time. It’s obvious that many students sit on their phones instead of making real-life connections during class time. Being able to hold a conversation is a life skill that everyone should have. The amount of time students spend interacting with devices threatens the development of social skills. This negative addiction to phones may create problems for people who already have trouble regulating negative emotions. Being on a device helps as a distraction. Over time it creates a pattern that has a negative impact on mental health. 

The way teachers think about phones is really interesting. You’d think they would not want teenagers to have phones in school but that’s not what they believe.  We asked IHS English teacher Demi McShane a few questions about her input on phone usage. She said “I agree that phones can be beneficial during school but only at appropriate times.” When students hear a buzz come from their phone, their first instinct is to check it. Mrs. McShane thinks that students should only be allowed to take out their phones if the teacher is not talking or giving instructions. Students should be able to use their phone as a resource, as well as use technology to look up an answer to a question. 

Most kids cannot simply take their hands off their phones. Social Media plays a major role in this. Our second question we asked Mrs. McShane was how many people take out their phones during her class? She said that “Although I don’t always see students on their phones, most know exactly where their phones are at all times.  It has become a habit for them to have their phones within arms length. Kids need to be taught when it is appropriate to use your phone. Unfortunately, they don’t always understand that it is inappropriate to use it while someone is talking, teacher or friend, class or lunch.” 

There are many advantages and disadvantages about the usage of phones during school. Technology is an important thing for children these days. Instead of taking their phone away during school, high school students are old enough and should be allowed to use it whenever they would like as long as they aren’t being rude. 

IHS student, Sarah Janvrin, using her phone