The smart phone revolution has changed the world works. More than that, it has changed the way students are educated, and how students interact with one another. Importantly, this presents many questions. While mobile phones have the power to make human beings safer and more knowledgeable, they are also distracting and come with a series of negatives. In schools, administrators are having to make a choice on whether the upside outweighs the downside or whether they should go ahead and ban these phones from existing in their space. While there are arguments to be made on both sides, schools should ban students from having mobile phones while at school because these phones are distracting and provide the ability for students to cheat.
Smart phones today have access to a host of games, to social media sites on the Internet, and to the ability to send texts within an instant. This gives them the ultimate power to serve as a distraction for students. The goal of any school is to ensure that students are getting the best education possible. That goal can only be achieved when students are listening to teachers and actually engaging with the material in the class. To the extent that students are only able to focus on a small number of things at one time, they will often be focusing on the many things they can do with their phones rather than focusing on the many opportunities in front of them with their schooling (Gilroy, 2004). If teachers want to retain the full attention of their students, then banning mobile phones is class is the right decision. It takes away one more thing that students could be doing in class in lieu of listening to what teachers have to say, which is a good thing on the whole for the school system.
While the distraction factor is quite high, the ability of students to use phones to cheat is another reason why phones should be banned. With the technology in today’s phones, there are many different ways they can be used for cheating (Strom & Strom, 2007). First, students can access the Internet in order to look up material for their tests. While students sneaking cheat sheets into tests has always been a problem, it is an even bigger problem when students can actually look up answers once they are in class. In addition to that, those students who have phones can put answers and other information in the phones. They can also send text messages to one another in order to share information. Schools exist to provide a significant platform for academic integrity. When they fail to provide this environment, the entire purpose of the school is compromised. While there may be some positive to allowing students to have their cell phones in school, the ability of students to cheat is a major problem that should cause some pause for school administrators today.
Schools administrators who are trying to make good decisions should understand that cell phones have no place in schools. They are distracting tools that make it even more difficult for students to learn. Learning is already difficult enough for students even without the difficulty of these distractions. In addition to that, the opportunity to cheat is ever present when cell phones are present. Schools should make the difficult decision to ban cell phones until technology comes around that can make it less likely that students will be distracted or be able to cheat. This will ensure that schools remain a positive environment and one in which academic integrity is valued above all else. Students can survive without their phones, and the school experience will be enhanced. We owe it to the future generations and society to make sure school is as efficient as it can be.
- Gilroy, M. (2004). Invasion of the classroom cell phones. The Education Digest, 69(6), 56.
- Strom, P. S., & Strom, R. D. (2007, June). Cheating in middle school and high school. In The Educational Forum (Vol. 71, No. 2, pp. 104-116). Taylor & Francis Group.