[LETTERS to the editor]Cell phones in school: pros and consStudents nowadays come to school equipped with high-tech gadgets, usually a laptop computer or a cell phone. Cell phones are getting “smarter” and have many uses today.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to having them handy, as I have observed.
Ever since I started working as a teacher, cell phones have always been a problem at school.
During my first year on the job, one of my colleagues had her picture taken in school. The problem was the picture was taken under her skirt.
After that, cell phones were strictly banned. Stealing pictures of female teachers in skirts often takes place in boys’ schools. But besides this , there can be more serious consequences from using cell phones in school.
So comes the questions: Should we allow children to bring the phones to school? Does the school have the right to take cell phones from students?
This is very controversial and both questions have been hotly debated. Here are some pros and cons.
There are some people who assert that children really need cell phones in case of emergency, because the phone is the only way parents can reach their children. They believe that cell phones can help prevent children from being kidnapped or help children get out of dangerous situations.
It is true that there are cell phones with tracking chips and phones can prove useful for checking on children’s safety.
To arguments that the phones create a distraction, it’s pointed out that cell phones can be silenced during class or study periods, and activated only in appropriate places.
Students themselves actually don’t understand why cell phones are prohibited. They maintain that they have the freedom to carry whatever they want, and cell phones are in no way harmful or dangerous.
Additionally, they argue that there are not enough public telephones at school.
Furthermore, students assert that cell phones are useful for studying. They provide access to the Internet, just like a portable computer. Cell phones, they assert, definitely have some educational uses.
For instance, students can take pictures of class projects to e-mail or show them to parents. Usually, parents do not see these projects. Also, if a student is slow to copy notes from the board, pictures can be taken and students can finish up the missed notes later.
Above all, students would like to be able to easily contact others and just want to have that convenience.
Some, on the other hand, don’t agree that students should take cell phones to school. They don’t think they are necessary. The phones can only be a distraction in the classroom or during school activities, they argue. When someone’s phone rings during class, it really bothers others.
Even though students assert that they can just turn them off or switch to silent mode during class, we all know that even grown-ups sometimes forget to do this.
And they don’t use the phones just to talk. They use phones for texting, taking pictures, surfing the Web, playing games and listening to music.
When teachers are explaining important things in class, students who have cell phones don’t seem to concentrate on the lecture because they are always playing a game, sending text messages to their friends and even accessing the Internet.
In addition, some believe that students can misuse cell phones for cheating during exams. And this really happens in school a lot.
What’s worse, with their camera phones, some students monitor their teachers during class. If teachers are not conducting themselves properly, students threaten to report them to their parents and school administration or even the police.
And there are reports of long-term side effects on cell phone users under age 12.
Those are the reasons why people think cell phones should be banned from school.
There are arguments on both sides of the debate, and both have their points. What do you think? Would you allow your child to bring a cell phone to school? I think it’s up to the parents to decide what their children can do.
Yune Song-hee, an English teacher
at a middle school