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Schools struggle with cell phone policies


Almost every teen owns a smartphone these days. Those who do not have one ask their parents to get them a smartphone. Handing over smartphones to teens is essential in today’s digital age. Parents have to fulfil the request of giving a smartphone to their kids because they cannot survive without digital gadgets.

They need a smartphone to connect and communicate with the rest of the world. Most schools have gone online now with teachers uploading the homework and assignments on the online portals. Kids and teens have to create their own online user accounts on the school’s website to view the assignments.

After completing them, they are asked to upload the assignments on the web portal, allowing teachers to view them online and mark them right there. That is why it is necessary to hand over smartphones to kids as they need to use the devices even in school.

It seems as though the majority of teens have a cell phone, and some schools have been struggling with creating cell phone bans and regulations. According to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, even those who once were for having cell phones in classrooms are now changing their minds.

Paul Barnell, a Kentucky high school teacher, wrote an Education Week essay in 2010 because he felt cell phones in the classroom can be a positive and effective tool. However, his latest essay shows he has had a change of heart.

“While summarizing is a real skill, do we really want students to further fragment their thoughts and attention in this age of incessant digital distraction and stimuli with 140-character blurbs? Do we want students to spend even more time in front of a screen, bypassing opportunities to converse and collaborate face-to-face?” Barnell wrote, the news source reports.

However, other administrations believe cell phones are useful tools while in the classroom. According to CentralJersley, the Hopewell Valley Regional School District is considering a new plan in September that will allow students to bring their cell phones, laptops and tablets to school on certain days. These devices will be used as a teaching tool.

“It’s a reality that students are bringing their own electronic devices to school,” superintendent Thomas Smith told the news source. “In fact, the district technology department says that approximately 1,000 wireless devices are in use on our district network on most school days. Many teachers have incorporated these devices into their classrooms and we would like to support those who would like to expand their use.”

The school came to this conclusion after administering an online survey, which showed 91 percent of the respondents would take part in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program at the school and 89 percent reported they would be part of a program where the device was provided at the school.

What these schools decide is not up to the parents, and those who want to ensure their child is using their phone at the right times can install parental control software, which can monitor when a kid uses their cell phone as well as show texts, call history and photos.

Parents can install a monitoring app on their kid’s smartphone to stay updated about their online and smartphone activities. With a monitoring app, they can learn how to track someone’s phone and know what their kid has been doing all day long on their smartphone. This way, a parent can ensure their child can always contact them in the event of an emergency, but they are also not using these devices at the wrong time. Therefore, if your kid has to use the cell phone in a school then you must install the monitoring app on their device.