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Should Cell Phones Be Allowed In Class?

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More stories from Josh Wolfe

Life Through the Lens
October 19, 2016

As a teenager, I can agree that cell phones are great; they have changed the way our whole generation goes about daily life. However, according to a poll from Common Sense Media reported by CNN, over 50 percent of children ages 12-18 say they feel addicted to their cell phone. Some students have been known to use their cell phones during class, which some teachers find distracting.

I personally believe cell phone use should be limited in the classroom; it is a major distraction to the learning environment. School is a place designed to give students an education, and time spent using a cell phone during class should only be used on school-related assignments. I understand that cell phones can be useful at times for research or online assignments, but I do not understand why we cannot replace cell phones with computers, tablets or other devices. I acknowledge that students want to have their cell phones at school instead of just at home, but they can still be a distraction in class.

Sophomore Joseph Earles thinks cell phones are very damaging to learning in class, but does not fully rule out cell phone use in classrooms.

“Even though I do get distracted, I don’t think that cell phones are necessary in class,” Earles said. “I think a student should be able to have a cell phone in their backpack and take it out when the teacher says to, but I think that students would get a better education if there was a more strict enforcement of not being able to have their cell phones out.”

Some teachers allow students to use their cell phones at any point during class, while others take every student’s cell phone before class even begins. If teachers can find the right balance between being strict and lenient, students will be more likely to focus in class without fully losing their phone privileges.

Sophomore Robert Mobley enjoys spending time on his cellphone but thinks cell phone use should be more restricted in class.

“Teachers have very different attitudes across the board, but, in general, I’d say they could be a little more strict regarding their cell phone policies,” Mobley said.

In the 1990s, most people did not have access to a cell phone. According to the study by the Pew Research Center, however, upward of 75 percent of American teenagers own a cell phone as of 2016. Fifty percent of those are addicted to the phone.

Grady social studies teacher, Susan Salvesen, allows students to use their cell phones in her classrooms in a more restricted fashion. She has noticed a pattern with cell phones at Grady

“When I first started teaching in 1999, students didn’t have cell phones, but now, in 2016, everyone can pull out their phone and pull up research within seconds,” Salvesen said. “But my cell phone policy is always evolving. In the past, cell phone use wasn’t a problem, but now, it really depends on the class period and how much of a problem it really is.”

The Atlanta Public Schools cell phone policy says that the use of cell phones is forbidden for all students at all times during the instructional period. Most teachers do not enforce the policy as strictly as I think they should. If, in today’s generation, three out of every four American teenagers own a cell phone, should the APS cell phone policy be modified? I know that it is not fun for students to be denied cell phone use, but the policy should be modified.

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