Should Smartphones Be Banned in Schools?

Four smart phones in a circle

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Four smart phones in a circle

With recent advancements in technology, it isn’t surprising that some would want to crack down on it. However, some of these technological advancements help students in various ways. Even if it might be true, the way phones have shaped human life might be too much for this help to take significant effect. This prompts the question, “Should phones be banned in school environments?”. From sound and haptics to even persuasive design, smartphones have impacted the school environment, and many agree that they might need to be stopped.

The first and most obvious point to be made in this argument is how phones can be extremely distracting to learning in a classroom, not only for others but for the student. Sounds and/or haptics made by the device can divert attention from an important lesson, putting all current attention on the device’s location. Not only do sounds draw attention from others, but notifications from an app could lead to one launching the app and seeing what the notification was for, wasting time that could have been spent listening to a teacher. Onto the topic of applications on a smartphone, recent advancements in the industry allow for access to social media while browsing the web. As many know and should know, social media can be a very toxic place not only for adults but even for children. At a younger age, reputation is always put into perspective, making them more susceptible to more extreme actions. Mentioned overhead were further reasons why smartphones should be removed or banned from school environments.

As seen above, these devices can make a negative impact on a learning environment. However, there are a variety of ways these devices can help. A good starting point would be that smartphones can help with studying and jotting down quick information. For a majority of humans, remembering the notes you worked on late at night is not an easy task. But with an app or two, one can pull it up on their phone. While these apps can lead to cheating and other acts, they can be a great help to people who might have trouble with memory. A common use of the device that is appropriate for school is using the smartphone in the place of a device like a laptop (that is likely out of battery). Educators around the country use websites like Kahoot, Quiziz, and Quizlet to review particular subjects. In the case that their usual device runs out of charge, smartphones can take the place of said device and give the person in question a chance to participate. 

Clearly, along with a few downsides to keeping phones in school, there are several good things about allowing the devices to stay in students’ pockets. In conclusion, the decision should be left up to the school as some might need a ban more than others.